Do I need a licence to run a Riding school?
Yes you need a Riding Establishment Licence if you have stables that hire out horses or ponies for riding or tuition.
Who can apply for a Riding Establishment Licence?
Applicants, if individuals, must be over the age of 18 or be a company.
Who cannot apply for a Riding Establishment Licence?
Applicants must not have been previously disqualified under the:
- Riding Establishments Act 1964, from keeping a riding establishment
- Pet Animals Act 1951, from keeping a pet shop
- Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954, from having the custody of animals
- Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, from keeping a boarding establishment for animals
- Animal Welfare Act 2006.
How do I apply for a Riding Establishment Licence?
You can download our riding establishments application form and complete it by hand. Please follow these instructions on how to pay for your application.
We may use the information provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. We also share this information for auditing purposes.
You must complete the riding establishments application form and send this with the correct payment to the Licensing Team.
Do I need anything else before I can start?
You may need the following which you must obtain before you begin your licensed activities. This list gives a general guide and is not a complete list...
Check if you need planning permission before you make a licence application by emailing email@example.com. Any change in the use of a property will require planning permission.
If you already have planning permission for the same use, you should check that your licence application does not break any condition attached to the planning permission. If your licence is granted, Planning Enforcement action will be taken against you if you do not have the right planning permission in place.
You must produce a current insurance policy. The policy should insure against:
- liability for any injury sustained by persons hiring a horse for riding, or those paying to use a horse for instruction and arising from the hire or use of the horse.
- liability which may be incurred by them in respect of injury to any person caused by, or arising out of, the hire or use of a horse.
Veterinary Surgeon inspection
The Licensing Team will arrange for a Veterinary Surgeon to inspect your establishment and they must produce a written report which we will then use to consider your application.
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirements
An enhanced Disclose and Barring Service check is required every year for each employee or volunteer working with children and young people.
For more information, visit the Disclosure and Barring Service website.
How much is the Riding Establishment Licence?
- See our Licensing fees for the current cost of a Riding Establishment Licence. The cost does not include any veterinary fees.
- If we need the expertise of an animal specialist this may incur further costs that you will have to pay before a Licence is issued
How long does the Licence last for?
- A Licence is valid for one year, and operates from 1st January to 31st December
- or for one year from the date the licence is granted
You can apply at any time during that period. You can also apply for a Licence to be granted for the following calendar year
How do I renew my licence?
You must complete the riding establishments application form and send this with the correct payment for either a Riding Establishment Licence for 10 and under (number of horses) or a Riding Establishment Licence for over 10 (number of horses).
How we decide whether to grant a Riding Establishment Licence?
We take into account:
- the applicant is suitably qualified or experienced or the applicant employs a qualified or experienced manager
- the horses are in good condition and maintained in good health and fitness
- horses kept for the purpose of it being let out on hire for riding or kept for providing instruction in riding, are suitable for this purpose
- horses’ feet are properly trimmed and that, if shod, their shoes are properly fitted and in good condition
- suitable accommodation is available at all times, with regards to:
- construction and size of the quarters
- number of occupants
- cleanliness, and drainage
- horses will be adequately supplied with:
- bedding materials
- visited at suitable intervals
- horses kept at grass have adequate:
- supplementary feeds will be provided when required
- all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent/control the spread of infectious or contagious diseases
- veterinary first aid equipment and medicine are provided and maintained on the premises
- appropriate steps will be taken to protect the animals in the event of a fire or other emergency
- a notice is displayed in a prominent position on the outside of the premises showing the name, address and telephone number of the Licence holder or some other reasonable person, alongside instructions as to action to be taken in the event of fire and with regard evacuation of horses
- adequate accommodation is provided for:
- stable equipment and saddlery.
What happens if you turn down my application?
On certain occasions a vet may recommend that a licence is not issued, If, after consideration, we agree and decide that a licence should not be issued, you have the right of appeal to the Magistrate’s Court against that decision.
How to make sure the welfare needs of the horses are met
You should ensure they:
- have a suitable environment (place to live)
- have a suitable diet
- are exhibiting normal behaviour patterns
- are housed with, or apart from, other animals if applicable
- are protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease.
Do I need to keep any records for inspection?
A record must be kept which contains all horses in your possession aged three years and under.
Records must be available for inspection by one of our officers or by a veterinary surgeon.
Who is responsible for what in Animal Welfare?
A wide range of different organisations respond to calls from members of the public about different animal welfare problems and it can be very confusing to know who to report different problems to. This includes the police, local authorities, the RSPCA and Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, but also includes social landlords and council teams whose primary responsibilities are not animal issues (e.g. social services).
Different bodies have different responsibilities and some have statutory powers to be able to take action. To ensure the best course of action is taken for an individual animal it is important that the right agency is contacted in the first instance.
The aim of this document is to provide an easy to understand guide of who to report different problems to so as to ensure the animal welfare issue is addressed as quickly as possible. It is hoped this document will be useful to not only members of the public but also those who deal with animal issues on a daily basis.
For further information see Who is responsible for what in Animal Welfare in our download section.