Licence - riding establishment

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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?

Download our riding establishments application form and complete it by hand. See our Licensing current fees and How to pay for General Licences.

We may use the information provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. We also share this information for auditing purposes.

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.

Planning permission

Check if you need planning permission before you make a licence application by emailing


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 current 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.

How do I renew my licence?

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
    • lighting
    • ventilation
    • cleanliness, and drainage
    • horses will be adequately supplied with:
    • food
    • drink
    • bedding materials
    • exercised
    • groomed
    • rested
    • visited at suitable intervals
    • horses kept at grass have adequate:
    • pasture
    • shelter
    • water
    • 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:
    • feed
    • bedding
    • 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?

See guidance notes for Who is responsible for what in Animal Welfare.

We have an Animal Welfare Charter.

Opening times

Day Times
Monday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Tuesday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Wednesday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Thursday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Friday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Useful forms


Contact details

Post address:
Licensing Team
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 641951
Minicom: 01332 640666
Fax: 01332 643299
Licensing Team
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street