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Riding establishment licence

Licences to keep a riding establishment are issued under the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970.

A Riding Establishment is "the carrying on of a business of keeping horses to let them out for hire for riding or riding instruction". Licenses are renewable annually. The council will arrange for the inspection of horses and premises by a veterinary surgeon to ensure the welfare of the animals and that the accommodation is suitable. The license will be issued subject to compliance with license conditions and payment of the license fee of £208.00. The applicant will also be required to pay the cost of inspections carried out by the council’s authorised veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner.

Regulation summary

In addition the following conditions are required by the Act, whether specified in the licence or not:

  • a horse found on inspection of the premises by an authorised officer to be in need of veterinary attention shall not be returned to work until the holder of the licence has obtained at his own expense and has lodged with the local authority a veterinary certificate that the horse is fit for work
  • no horse will be let out on hire for riding or used for providing instruction in riding without supervision by a responsible person of the age of 16 years or over unless (in the case of a horse let out for hire for riding) the holder of the licence is satisfied that the hirer of the horse is competent to ride without supervision
  • the carrying on of the business of a riding establishment shall at no time be left in the charge of any person under 16 years of age
  • the licence holder shall hold a current insurance policy which insures him against liability for any injury sustained by those who hire a horse from him for riding and those who use a horse in the course of receiving from him, in return for payment, instruction in riding and arising out of the hire or use of a horse as aforesaid and which also insures such persons in respect of any 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 as aforesaid
  • a register shall be kept by the licence holder of all horses in his possession aged three years and under and usually kept on the premises, which shall be available for inspection by an authorised officer at all reasonable times. (Sec. 1(4a))
  • guidance on conditions for riding establishment licences is issued by the British Veterinary Association

View further details of the Riding Establishment Act

Eligibility criteria

Applications for a licence must be made to the Local Authority, and a licence may be issued if the applicant is not disqualified under any of the following:

  • keeping a Riding Establishment
  • keeping a Pet Shop
  • keeping a dog
  • keeping a Boarding Establishment for animals
  • keeping a dog breeding establishment
  • having the custody of animals.

The applicant must have a current liability insurance policy.

Application process

Application forms can be obtained by contacting us or by applying online using the details below:

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 them using the details below


The cost of this application is £208.00 and is payable upon application. There is also the cost of the veterinary inspection, which will be carried out by appointment as soon as is practicable after application.


Due to the fact that the Licensing Authority relies on an external authority to conduct an inspection we are unable to tell exactly how long this process will take.

How to apply

You can now apply for your licence online

Appeal process

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates' court

Complaints / objections

If you have a complaint either about an Animal Boarding Establishment or regarding our procedures please contact the Licensing Team on 01443 425001 and ask for a Licensing Officer.

Public registers

To gain access to the public register please contact the Licensing Team on 01443 425001 to make an appointment to view the register at our offices. Alternatively please send an email detailing your request to

Further information

Licensing Team

Ty Elai,

Dinas Isaf East
CF40 1NY

Tel: 01443 425001
Fax: 01443 425301