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Riding establishment

Licence summary

No person shall run a riding establishment without first obtaining a licence from the local authority. A riding establishment is defined as an establishment "carrying on a business of keeping horses or ponies to let them out for hire for riding or riding instruction". Such applications are dealt with under the provisions of the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970.

Applicants must be over 18 years of age and must not be disqualified from a range of animal-related legislation. Before applying for your licence, please refer to the disqualification list on the document link.

New regulations 2018

On 1 October 2018, new regulations came into force. These regulations, known as the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, set out the conditions that need to be met before a licence can be issued.
DEFRA have published guidance notes which set out the conditions and how they can be met. While these notes have been provided to assist inspectors, they are also useful for business owners. All premises are risk-rated following an inspection and a star rating of 1 to 5 is awarded. Only those businesses that obtain a higher standard will be awarded a 4 or 5-star rating. The star rating determines the period of the licence:
  • 1 to 2 stars: 1-year licence
  • 3 to 4 stars: 2-year licence
  • 5 stars: 3-year licence

Please contact Environmental Health for further information or if you require an application form.

For further information and to see copies of the guidance notes, visit the Canine & Feline Sector Group.

Application process

All applications must be submitted on the prescribed application form, together with the fee of £339.62 plus vet fees.  

The applicant will also be required to pay the cost of inspections carried out by the council's authorised veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner.

On receipt of the completed application form and payment of the fee, the council will arrange for the inspection of horses and premises by an Environmental Health Officer and a veterinary surgeon to ensure the welfare of the animals and that the accommodation is suitable. The document link opposite explains what aspects of your stables and horse care will be inspected.

The licence will be issued subject to compliance with licence conditions and will expire on 31 July each year. Application for renewal must be done before this date; however, we will send you a reminder.

Legislation allows the licensing authority to grant a provisional licence of three months' duration if they are not satisfied that they would be justified in granting an annual licence.

If you wish to make any changes to the premises licensed, or details of the licence holder change, please contact us for further advice.

It is in the public interest that the licensing authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the authority within 10 working days of the application being deposited, please email Environmental Health for a progress report.

This service has been identified as a formality within the scope of the European Services Directive and consequently there is a facility to submit your application and pay the relevant fee electronically.

To carry out this task, please download the Word document and complete offline. Once completed, resubmit via the file upload facility within the online form. Please follow the instructions carefully as you may be required to register to use our online services.