Horse Riding Establishment Licence - Applying for a Licence

Horse Riding Establishment Licence - Applying for a Licence
Licence Summary

To run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction), you need a licence from the local authority.


You must comply with any terms or conditions attached to a licence.

Information and guidance on the law

Riding Establishments Act 1964


Riding Establishments Act 1970

How to apply

If you wish to apply to licence a horse riding establishment or to change the details of an existing registration, download a copy of the application for a riding establishment licence here.


A copy of the standard licensing conditions can be found here. Please note that these are subject to change depending on the individual circumstances of each application.


Notes for applicants


Applicants must be over 18 years of age. In England and Wales they must have not been disqualified:


  • from keeping a riding establishment
  • from keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • from having custody of animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • from keeping boarding establishments for animals under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from keeping or owning animals, being able to influence how animals are kept, dealing animals or transporting or being involved in the transporting of animals
  • from owning, keeping dealing or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006
Application fees

Download a copy of the application fees

The application process

Once an application is received, an inspection from the licensing officer and a specialist vet will be arranged.


Before deciding an application, the local authority must consider a report from the vet detailing whether the premises are suitable for a riding establishment and detailing the conditions of the premises and any horses. The local authority will also take into make sure that:


  • the applicant is suitable and qualified to hold a licence.
  • the condition of the horses is good, and that they will be maintained in good health, kept physically fit and be suitable for being ridden etc
  • 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

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


  • that 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
  • that 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
  • that the business will not be left in the charge of someone under 16 years of age
  • that the licence holder holds indemnity insurance
  • that 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

If there are any areas where improvement is needed, we will provide any information needed to comply with the licensing conditions.


Once a premises is licensed as a riding establishment, we will inspect as appropriate and when renewing the license, and we may also carry out interim visits. As part of the licensing process, the business operator will need to update us with any changes to the business.


Please note that some details of the riding establishment premises may be included on our web-site, and details may also be shared with other statutory bodies as appropriate.

Does Tacit Approval apply?

Tacit approval does not apply to this licence, as it is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within 28 days, please contact us for an update on your application.  


Please note that the overall approval process will take longer than 28 days, to allow for the necessary consultation processes

Appeals and Complaints

A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can appeal to a local magistrates' court.


If your application is refused, or if you do not accept any of the licence conditions imposed as part of the approval, you should contact the officer dealing with your licence in the first instance.


We will always inform you of the appeal procedures when refusing a licence, or on request. We will also inform you of our complaints procedure, should you feel that your application has been improperly processed.

Trade Associations

Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS)


British Dressage


British Equestrian Federation (BEF)


British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA)

Please Note - Torfaen County Borough Council (The Council) is under a duty to protect the public funds which it administers and to this end may use the information you provide within Torfaen County Borough Council for the prevention and detection of fraud. The Council may also share this information with other bodies administering or in receipt of public funds solely for these purposes. For further information, visit the National Fraud Initiative area of the website.

Last Modified: 04/03/2022
For more information contact:

Commercial Services

Tel: 01633 647263


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