If you want to run a riding establishment in England, Scotland or Wales, you’ll need to contact your local council to apply for a licence.
A riding establishment is a business that hires out horses or ponies for riding, or a riding school.
A riding establishment licence needs to be renewed every year. The fee and specific conditions will be set by your council, but there are some common rules and requirements.
You need to prove that you have suitable qualifications and experience of horse management, and that your horses are:
- in good health and physically fit
- suitable to be hired out and used for riding
- provided with adequate food, drink and bedding
- regularly exercised
- safeguarded in an emergency
You also need liability insurance that covers you for any injuries that result from people riding your horses.
You must keep a register of horses aged 3 years or under that are usually kept on your premises, and make it available for inspection.
You won’t be able to get a licence if you’ve been banned from:
- running a riding establishment
- running a pet shop
- keeping animals, including in a boarding kennel or cattery
You may not get a licence if you’ve committed an animal health or welfare offence. Check with your council.
You must not leave anyone under 16 years old in charge of the riding establishment. Any riders under 16 must be supervised, unless you’re satisfied that they are competent to ride without supervision.
The council may inspect your premises and horses before giving you a licence, and any time after your licence is granted. If the inspector finds that any of your horses need veterinary attention, you must provide a certificate to show they are fit again before returning them to work.
You can be fined up to £1,000 or imprisoned for up to 3 months, or both, if you run a riding establishment without a licence.