Licence for Hiring out Horses (including Riding Establishments)

  • The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

    A licence is required for a business of keeping horses to let them out on hire for riding, or for use in providing instruction in riding for payment, or both. Premises where the horses are kept for miltary or police purposes, or a university providing a veterinary course, are exempt.

    Establishment proprietors must have a current certificate of public liability insurance.

    Each premises will be risk rated at inspection and will be given a star rating from 1 to 5, which will also determine whether the premises is granted a licence for 1, 2 or 3 years. An explanation of the star rating procedure can be viewed by clicking on the document at the side of this page. Note that a veterinary inspection is required annually, whatever the duration of the licence.

  • Applying (and Covid 19)

    *While Covid 19 restrictions are in place, please make your licence application as usual. We will not be able to inspect your premises until social distancing restrictions have been lifted but, if your current licence expires during that period and you have applied to renew, you will be sent a letter extending your licence. When your inspection has been carried out, assuming the conditions have been met, your new licence will be issued and backdated.

    We understand how difficult things are and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to all our businesses during these difficult times. To keep up with the latest rules and guidance regarding Covid 19, including support and advice for business, please see information on our website here, and on the Government website here

    Before filling in the application form, please download the Horse List on the right hand side of the page; there is a continuation sheet  that you download if extra pages are needed. You will need to fill in the horse's name, the age, height, gender, colour, breed, what the horse is used for, plus the microchip and Universal Equine Life Number. You will be asked to upload the Horse List while completing your form.

    Complete the online form (see link at the side of the page - you can register with our website or use the "Guest" button, which does not require you to sign in).

    Please note that an application for a licence renewal must be received more than 10 weeks before the current licence expires. Failure to do so may result in the licence not being renewed in time and, thus a period where the business can not operate.

    Please contact us on 01962 848097 (or email if you have any queries.

  • Conditions

    The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force on 1st October 2018, although current licences issued under previous legislation will remain in place until their expiry date. There is detailed guidance at this link and it is important that you read this before applying. Please read the guidance for the appropriate activity but also the procedural guidance.Click on the blue writing and it will link you to the appropriate website

  • Fees 

    The Council's fees for Hiring out Horses for 2020/21 (as revised in accordance with the Regulations) are:

    • Up to 5 Horses £247.00
    • 6 to 10 Horses £273.00
    • 11 to 20 horses £302.00
    • 21 horses and over £350.00

    The licence fee will be the Council's fees above plus the fees for the veterinary inspector and you will be invoiced following the inspection so do not try to pay at the time that you are making your application.

    Once your licence has been granted, you will still require an annual veterinary inspection and we will contact you to arrange this. You are still responsible for paying all veterinary fees but no application fee.

    Note that, should the licensee apply for a reinspection, this must be done in writing, setting out the work that has been completed and the reasons for the reinspection. The full fee is payable for a reinspection.

  • Inspections

    Inspections are carried out by a veterinary surgeon or practitioner, who is on a register approved by the RCVS and is specifically trained in riding establishment licensing.

    There will normally only be one inspection for each licence granted but further inspections may be made to check that licence conditions have been complied with, if a complaint is received about the premises, or if there is any concern about the condition of the premises, or the welfare of an animal at the premises.

    Unlicensed premises may also be inspected in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

    Please contact us on 01962 848097 (or email if you have any queries.

  • Refusal, Revocation, Suspension or Variation of a Licence

    A licence will be refused;

    • If the applicant is under 18.
    • If the applicant has been disqualified from holding an animal licence or keeping an animal, or has had a licence revoked under scetion 15 of the Regulations.
    • If conditions of the licence are not met.

    The applicant may appeal to a First tier Tribunal if the Council refuses to grant or renew a licence

    A licence may be varied, suspended or revoked by the Council for the following reasons;

    • the licence conditions are not being complied with
    • there has been a breach of the Regulations
    • the information supplied by the licensee is false or misleading, or
    • it is necessary to protect the welfare of an animal.

    Any significant change to the premises may require a variation to your licence. The licensee may request a variation or the Council can impose one. This will involve a small charge. Please contact us on if you think a variation may be needed.

    The licensee may appeal to a First tier Tribunal if the Council has varied, suspended or revoked a licence.


  • Statements of Fitness and Adding New Horses to the Licence

    If during a licensing inspection, one or more horses were excluded from use at the premises by the inspecting vet, a certificate stating that the horse is fit to return to work, signed by the licensee's, or the owner's, vet is needed before those horses may be used again. The form on the right hand side of the page may be used for this purpose, although different formats are acceptable.

    Where new horses are added to the premises during the licence period, they must also have a certificate from the liensee's, or the owner's, vet stating that they are fit for use for the pupose intended within the licensed premises. The form on the right hand side of the page may be used for this purpose, although different formats are acceptable.


  • Looking for licensees in the District?

    There is a list on the right hand side of the page. The list is usually updated twice a year.