Riding establishments

Pages in Riding establishments

  1. 1. You are here: Riding establishments
  1. 2. Apply for a riding establishment licence

To run a riding establishment where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction the Riding Establishment Act 1964 requires you to hold a licence from the local authority. Under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 and 1970 a riding establishment is defined as: "the carrying on of a business of keeping horses for either or both of the following purposes, that is to say, the purpose of their being let out on hire for riding or the purpose of their being used in providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding".

The legislation is designed to ensure the welfare of the animals and the suitability of their accommodation. If you hire out horses or donkeys or provide a riding school service, you will require a licence.

Eligibility criteria

Applications for a licence must be made to the Local Authority by someone over the age of 18 or a corporate body, 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 also.


This licensing requirement does not apply to:

  • livery stables (solely used for the stabling or keeping of horses for money)
  • the Police
  • the Military
  • the Zoological Society of London
  • universities providing approved courses for veterinary students

Further information

For further information please see information on the Riding establishment licence (England, Scotland and Wales)(gov.uk website)

Licences to keep a riding establishment are issued under the: