Apply for a riding establishment licence
To run a riding establishment* you need a licence from us.
*Where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction.
A licence costs £87 (plus vets fees).
You must be over 18 years of age and not been disqualified from:
- keeping a riding establishment
- keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
- having custody of animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
- keeping boarding establishments for animals under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
- being able to influence how animals are kept, dealing animals or transporting or being involved in the transporting of animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006
- from owning, keeping dealing or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006
You must pay any required fee and comply with any conditions attached to a licence.
Before deciding on an application we consider a report from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner.
The report will tell us about:
- the suitability of the premises
- the conditions of the premises
- the condition of any horses
We also take into account your suitability and qualifications to hold a licence.
Before issuing a licence we also ensure that:
- horses will be kept healthy, physically fit and in good condition
- horses are suitable (if ridden or used during riding instruction)
- horses feet will be trimmed properly
- horses shoes will be fitted properly and in good condition
- horses have suitable accommodation
- horses (if maintained on grass) have suitable pasture, shelter and water and that supplementary feed will be provided as and when needed
- horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding materials
- horses will be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
- precautions will be taken to reduce the spread of contagious or infectious diseases and that veterinary first aid equipment and medicines will be provided and maintained
- appropriate procedures are in place to protect and remove horses in the case of a fire and that as part of this, the name, address and telephone number of the licence holder is displayed outside the premises and fire instructions are displayed
- storage facilities for forage, bedding, stable equipment and saddlery are provided
In addition, a riding establishment licence must be subject to the following conditions:
- any horse inspected by an authorised officer and found to need veterinary attention will not be returned to work until the licence holder has obtained a veterinary certificate confirming the horse is fit for work
- a horse will not be let out for hire or for use in instruction without the supervision of a responsible person (aged 16 years or older) unless the licence holder is satisfied the rider doesn't require supervision
- the business will not be left in the charge of someone under 16 years of age
- the licence holder holds indemnity insurance
- the licence holder keeps a register of all horses in their possession that are three years old or younger, and the register is available for inspection at all reasonable times
Will tacit consent apply?
Yes. You can act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period (28 days from when we receive all relevant information).
Failed or refused applications
Contact us in the first instance. If your application is refused you can appeal to the local Magistrates' Court.
Licence holder redress
Contact us in the first instance. You can appeal against a condition of your licence at the local Magistrates' Court.