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Riding establishment

Riding establishment are regulated by the Riding Establishment Acts 1964 and 1970. The act requires that there be a safe place for people to learn to ride and therefore safety is a prime concern. Upon application, a registered vet will inspect the premises and horses and on the renewal of the licence each year. Other inspection may also take place.

To run a riding establishment (where horses and ponies are hired out for riding or used for instruction) you need licence from the local authority. The cost of the licence is £94 per year plus veterinary fees.

Am I eligible? 

Applicants must be over 18 years of age and must not have been disqualified from:

  • Keeping a riding establishment
  • Keeping a pet shop under the pet animals act.
  • Having custody of animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • Keeping or owning animals under the animal welfare act or being able to influence how animals are kept, dealing animals or transporting or being involved in transporting animals
  • Owning, keeping, dealing or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

Regulation summary 

For more information read the Riding Establishments Act.

How will my application be evaluated? 

Before deciding an application the local authority must consider a report from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner detailing whether the premises are suitable for a riding establishment and detailing the conditions of the premises and any horses. The vet will be appointed by The Council and will be on an approved list.

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:

  • 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 horses are to be ridden or used during riding instruction, be suitable for that purpose
  • The animals' feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes are fitted properly and are in good condition
  • There will be suitable accommodation for the horses
  • For horses maintained on grass there is suitable pasture, shelter and water and that supplementary feed will be provided as and when needed
  • Horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding materials and will be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
  • 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
  • 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
  • Storage facilities for forage, bedding, stable equipment and saddlery are provided

In addition to any other conditions a riding establishment licence must be subject to the following conditions:

  • Any horse inspected by an authorised officer and found to need veterinary attention will not be returned to work until the licence holder has obtained a veterinary certificate confirming the horse is fit for work
  • A horse will not be let out for hire or for use in instruction without the supervision of a responsible person aged 16 years or older, unless the licence holder is satisfied the rider doesn't require supervision
  • The business will not be left in the charge of someone under 16 years of age
  • The licence holder holds indemnity insurance
  • The licence holder keeps a register of all horses in their possession that are three years old or younger and that the register is available for inspection at all reasonable times.

Apply online 

What happens next?

Once your application form has been received the authority we will process it and arrange for an inspection of the premises.

What if my application is refused?

Contact the local authority in the first instance. A licence holder who wishes to appeal against the refusal or conditions can appeal to the local Magistrates Court.

Consumer complaints 

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first point of contact should be made with the service provider (The Council). If this has not worked and you are located in the UK then contact Consumer Direct. If you are outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.


You can view the public register here.

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Rushcliffe Borough Council
Licensing team

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