Riding establishment licence

An animal activity licence is required from the Council if you hire out horses as a business. This can be for either riding or instruction in riding.  This is subject to a business test which is explained in the statutory guidance.

Applications cannot be made by any individual who:

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  • is subject to a specific disqualification or
  • has had certain licences revoked in the past

Please refer to the regulations and statutory guidance. These provide more detailed information on the requirements that will apply. They also detail whether there are any exemptions. There is also specific statutory guidance which explains the business test and conditions of licence. The guidance also provides advice on what is in scope for licensing or out of scope.

Applications can only be made by individuals.  An application form will need to be completed. This should be submitted with the application fee and any supporting documents. 

You can do this by downloading an application form. You will need to complete the form and send to the address on the form. Alternatively you can email the completed form, details are on the form.

Download the Hiring Out Horses application form

The Council is not permitted to consider and determine an application until it has an inspection report for the premises. To obtain a report the Council must instruct a suitably qualified inspector to inspect the premises. In relation to hiring out horses we are required to instruct a veterinarian. They must be authorised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.  The veterinarian will normally be accompanied by the Council’s inspecting officer.

The inspector is required to establish whether the mandatory conditions that will be attached to any licence can be complied with.  The Council is also required to consider whether the conduct displayed by any applicant indicates that they are a fit and proper person to carry out the licensable activity.

Following the inspection your application will then be considered and determined. This will involve an assessment to determine the star rating that will apply to the premises. The star rating awarded will range from 1 to 5 stars. We are also required to determine the risk level of the premises. Both of these assessments will be carried out having regard to the scoring matrix that is contained in the statutory guidance.  

If your application is approved then a licence fee becomes payable.  The licence will be issued for a period of either 1, 2 or 3 years.  The length of licence is dependent on the star rating and the risk level determined for the premises. There is an appeals process for the star rating awarded.

When a licence has been issued the Council is required to instruct a veterinarian to conduct an annual inspection. This veterinarian must also be authorised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

We will aim to have your application determined within 10 weeks of a valid application and complete application.  If we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted. This is due to animal welfare implications.

Please view the current licensing fees and charges to find out how much you will need to pay. You will be recharged the cost of the veterinary surgeon inspection as part of the licence fee.    

All licences will be subject to mandatory conditions of licence. These are set out in the regulations. Please read the statutory guidance relating to dog breeding. This provides guidance on what is required to meet the conditions of licence.  The statutory guidance also provides advice on what is in or out of scope for licensing. 

The Council may refuse to

  • grant or renew a licence, or
  • revoke or vary a licence 
Any person who is aggrieved by such a decision may appeal. Appeals should be made to the First-Tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision.
Licence holders must apply for a renewal at least 10 weeks before their current licence expires. This is if they wish to continue to operate without a break.

There is a comprehensive range of business regulatory support services available. This is available to help and advise businesses to be more successful and compliant.