Riding Establishment Licence

Who needs to apply?

Any premises that provide horses for hire or riding instruction for money must hold a riding establishment licence.

Livery stables that house and care for other people’s horses do not need a licence.

Anyone who operates a riding establishment must be suitably qualified or experienced.


Any licence granted is subject to conditions to ensure the welfare and safety of the horses, riders and the public. The local authority must also be satisfied the conditions will be met prior to the grant of a licence. These conditions are laid out in the Schedules of the above Regulations.  General conditions apply to all licences, and further relevant conditions are specific to the activity that is being applied for. Guidance notes on these conditions, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), are also available.

Application forms

An animal activity licence application form (Part A) [PDF, 291 KB] can be downloaded, printed and sent to us along with an application form for a licence to hire out horses (Part E) [PDF, 410 KB].

Both forms are required for the application. All documents supporting this application must be supplied within three working days, otherwise the application may be deemed incomplete and be rejected. The application process will not commence until all information has been received.

Fees and Charges

You can find the fee for this licence by going to our licence fee register.


We aim to process applications within 10 weeks, however this may take longer if further information is required or if it proves difficult to make the arrangements for the inspection.

Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) England Regulations 2018

The Government introduced a significant change with the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) England Regulations 2018. Visit the Canine and Feline Sector Group’s website for guidance documents to assist businesses in meeting the new requirements set out under those Regulations which came into effect on 1 October 2018.