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Riding establishments

To run 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 the local authority.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must be over 18 years of age. In England and Wales they must have not been disqualified:

  • From keeping a riding establishment
  • From keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • From having custody of animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • From keeping boarding establishments for animals under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from keeping or owning animals, being able to influence how animals are kept, dealing animals or transporting or being involved in the transporting of animals
  • From owning, keeping dealing or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

Apply online

Apply for a licence to operate a riding establishment.

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence.

Application evaluation process

Before deciding an application the local authority must 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.

The local authority will also take into account whether the applicant is suitable and qualified to hold a licence. They must also be satisfied of the following:

  • That consideration will be given to the condition of the horses and that they will be maintained in good health, kept physically fit and where the horse is to be ridden or used during riding instruction, be suitable for that purpose
  • That the animals feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes are fitted properly and are in good condition
  • That there will be suitable accommodation for the horses
  • That for horses maintained on grass there is suitable pasture, shelter and water and that supplementary feed will be provided as and when needed
  • That horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding materials and will be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
  • That 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
  • That appropriate procedures are in place to protect and remove the 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
  • That storage facilities for forage, bedding, stable equipment and saddlery are provided

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact the Licensing team.

Failed application redress

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

An applicant whose application is refused can appeal to the local magistrates' court. In Scotland an applicant whose application is refused can appeal to the local sheriff.

Licence holder redress

A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can appeal to a local magistrates' court.

Trade associations

Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS).

British Dressage.

British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).

Related Contacts