To run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction) in England, Scotland or Wales, you need a licence from the local authority.
A Riding Establishment is defined as 'the carrying on of a business of keeping horses to let them out for hire for riding or riding instruction'.
A licence shall relate to the year in which it is granted or to the next following year. In the former case, the licence shall come into force at the beginning of the day on which it is granted and in the latter case it shall come into force at the beginning of the next following year. A licence will remain in force for one year beginning with the day on which it comes into force and shall then expire.
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 licence will be issued subject to a satisfactory veterinary surgeon's report, compliance with licence conditions and payment of the licence fee.
Application evaluation process
Applicants must pay any required fee and comply with the Council's licence conditions, together with any special conditions attached to a licence.
The current fee is: £209 plus additional vet's fee.
Before determining an application, the local authority must consider a report from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner detailing whether the premises are suitable for the purposes of a riding establishment and detailing the conditions of the premises and any horses kept on the premises.
The local authority will also take into account whether the applicant is suitable and qualified to hold a licence. They must also be satisfied of the following:
- that consideration will be given to the condition of the horses and that they will be maintained in good health, kept physically fit and where the horse is to be ridden or used during riding instruction, be suitable for that purpose
- that the animals feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes are fitted properly and are in good condition
- that there will be suitable accommodation for the horses
- that for horses maintained on grass there is suitable pasture, shelter and water and that supplementary feed will be provided as and when needed
- that horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding materials and will be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
- that precautions will be taken to reduce the spread of contagious or infectious diseases and that veterinary first aid equipment and medicines will be provided and maintained
- that appropriate procedures are in place to protect and remove the horses in the case of a fire and that as part of this the name, address and telephone number of the licence holder is displayed outside the premises and fire instructions are displayed
- that storage facilities for forage, bedding, stable equipment and saddlery are provided
Copies of the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970 can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
Will tacit consent apply?
Tacit consent means that if we have not dealt with applications within the target period then the application can be deemed to have been granted/approved.
No. 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. You can do this online if you applied through business link or by using the contact details below.
Target completion period
Applications would normally be determined within 28 days of receipt of all the information necessary to determine the application.
Please contact the Council in the first instance.
Any complaints relating to the manner in which the application has been dealt with by the Council should be made in the usual way via the corporate complaint system.
Failed Application Redress
Please contact the Licensing Service on 01952 383264 in the first instance.
An applicant whose application is refused can appeal to the local magistrates' court.
Licence Holder Redress
If you wish to appeal against a decision of the local authority you may do so to the local Magistrates' Court. Appeals must be made within 21 days of the date you received notification of the decision in writing. Magistrates' court decisions can be appealed to the Crown Court.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
E.g. about noise, pollution, etc. and in the event of one licence holder making a complaint about another licence holder, please contact us in the first instance.
Public Registers or databases
If you want to view the Riding Establishment licence register within the Telford and Wrekin area please contact us.
- Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS)
- British Dressage
- British Equestrian Federation (BEF)
- British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA)
The following conditions are required by the Riding Establishments 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))
Animal Welfare Act 2006
As you may be aware, the law that protects animals has changed. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 came into effect on 6 April 2007. This Act brings together and modernises animal welfare legislation, some of which dates from 1911. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 will:
- introduce a 'duty of care' on people to ensure the needs of any animal for which they are responsible
- create a new offence of failing to provide for the needs of an animal in your care
- place more emphasis on owners and keepers who will need to understand their responsibilities and take all reasonable steps to provide for the needs of their animals.