Riding establishments


Riding establishments

To operate a Riding Establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction) in England, Scotland or Wales, you need a licence from your Local Authority.

Changes to Riding Establishments

From October 2018, the legislation and guidance on Riding Establishments has changed. For more information please visit our New Animal Licensing Regime page. Licences issued from January 2019 will have to comply with the new guidance.

We are currently in the process of refining our procedures and we will update this page as soon as we have done so. This should be completed during October and November. The information on this page may therefore be superseded by the new regulations and associated DEFRA guidance.

If you already hold a Riding Establishment licence with us then you can carry on trading until your current licence expires. Further information will be sent to you later in the year.

Eligibility criteria

Riding Establishments are licensed under the The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

There are specific requirements for the hiring out of horses. A summary of Riding Establishment Regulation is available from legislation.gov.uk

In order to apply for a licence you must not have been disqualified from doing so under any legislation relating to animal welfare. You must also have not had a licence revoked under any legislation relating to animal welfare. For more information please read the Animal Welfare Act 2018 Eligibility Criteria.

If you are applying to operate a Riding Establishment for beach donkeys then please also see our pdf icon Standard Conditions for Keeping Beach Donkeys [61kb]

Application process and fees

Applicants must pay any required fee and comply with any conditions attached to a Licence. Our prices include the initial vet costs. The amount payable is dependent on the number of horses kept:

Number of HorsesFee
1-10 Horses£400
11-25 Horses£500
26-40 Horses£600
More than 40 Horses£750
Provisional Licence (3 months)£130 Excludes veterinary inspections costs, which will be charged

For new applications only, applicants may pay 5% less when making an application. If you do, you would then be invoiced for this amount plus £20 for the additional administration cost, when the licence has been issued.

Before deciding an application we will consider a report from a Veterinary Surgeon or Practitioner detailing whether the premises are suitable for a Riding Establishment and detailing the conditions of the premises and any horses.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent to not apply to Riding Establishment licences.

It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the gov.uk or use the contact details below.

How to apply

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into effect on 1 October 2018 and this new legislation will completely change the animal licensing regime, including the application process.

We are currently waiting for new application forms to be provided by DEFRA. For more information on the changes please visit our New Animal Licensing Regime page. If you would like to apply for a Riding Establishment licence during this transition period then please contact us on the details below.

We will update our pages as soon as we can.

Failed application redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

An applicant whose application is refused can appeal to the local magistrates' court.

Licence holder redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

A Licence Holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can appeal to a local magistrates' court.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked gov.uk can offer advice on Consumer Protection Rights.

Trade associations

You may find these organisations useful:

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