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Riding Establishments

Licences to keep a riding establishment 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". Under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 and the Riding Establishments Act 1970 you must hold a licence to run a riding establishment.

There are a number of ways to apply for a licence - preferably using this online form. Alternatively you can apply for a licence at GOV.UK or by printing off and completing an adobe icon application form [42kb].  You will need to contact us to arrange payment, the cost of which is detailed in our adobe icon fees and charges [125kb].

We 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 premises must have appropriate planning permission for use as a riding school prior to submitting an application.  Should you wish to clarify the status of the permission or check if there are any restrictions of the site, please contact the Council's planning department.

It is also advised that applicants download/read the following document which will provide the basis for all inspections of the site:- adobe icon Health and Safety in horse riding establishments and livery yards. What you should know. [2Mb]. 

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.
Updated: 23 Aug 2017
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