If you are hiring out horses or ponies for riding or for riding instruction you will need to be licensed. Current and new licence holders must apply 10 weeks before their current licence expires or they start trading.


We will inspect licensed premises annually to ensure that they comply with licence conditions.

The standards relate to:

  • Safety
  • Security
  • Infectious disease control
  • The suitability of the licence holder

The aim is to:

  • Ensure the welfare of animals
  • Prevent the spread of disease
  • Ensure the safety of the public visiting these premises

Periodic inspections are carried out to confirm standards are maintained. We will also investigate all complaints.

A ratings system has been introduced whereby licence holders will be given a rating based on specified criteria relating to the activity they are carrying out. For more information on the licence and full details of the conditions please read the hiring out horses guidance from DEFRA.

Length of licence

Minimum standards specific to the activity being carried out will need to be met prior to a licence being issued.  Where higher standards are met, a longer term licence will be issued which will save licensing fees for applicants who achieve and maintain high standards.

The minimum term of a licence will be one year. Where Higher Standards are achieved a two or three year licence will be granted.

DBS Check

All applicants will need a basic DBS check less than two months old when the application is made. You can request a check from GOV.UK.

  Request a basic DBS check Opens in a new window


The fee for a new licence application is £505. You will also need to pay the costs of Vets fees as required.


You can apply for a licence by completing an application form and sending it us along with the correct fee.

  Download a hiring out horses licence application


If you are unhappy with the star rating given to your activity you have 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) following the issue of your licence in which to appeal the star rating. 

Please contact us if you would like to dispute the star rating.