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Home > Business > Licensing > Riding Establishments

Riding Establishments

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 must apply annually to the local authority for a licence. Donkey rides and ponies used in pony parties where they are ridden also required a licence under this legislation. A licence is required before anyone can let a horse, pony or donkey out for hire. 

The legislation is designed to ensure the welfare of the animals and the suitability of their accommodation.

A licence may only be issued (or denied) by the Local Authority following an inspection and report by a veterinary surgeon who is a member of the RCVS/BVA Inspectorate. The vet will be chosen and appointed by the local authority. The cost of the vet's inspection will be met by the applicant.

A summary of the eligibility criteria for this licence

Licence Conditions

Riding Establishment Licence Conditions

How long does a licence last?

A licence is usually valid for 12 calendar months. Proprietors of riding establishments must apply annually for a licence. Non-renewal of a licence within the expiry date may invalidate your public liability insurance.

A provisional licence may be issued for 3 months where considerable improvements to the premises are required. Upon application before expiry of the provisional licence the three month period may be extended for one further 3 month (maximum) period at our discretion. In order to issue a full licence after a provisional licence, the vet that carried out the initial inspection must be satisfied that conditions have improved to warrant a full licence being issued. Any such licence will be issued for the remainder of the 12 month period from date of issue of the first provisional licence.

Is planning permission required?

Applicants must ensure they have the relevant planning permission.  We recommend that you discuss your proposal with Planning Services.

How much does a licence cost?

Please see current Fees and Charges 

How to apply 

You can apply and pay online using the application form below. 

Riding School application form

What can I do if my licence application is refused?

Appeals against a decision not to issue a licence or against any conditions imposed must be made through the Magistrates Court.

Public Register

Babergh Animal Establishments  / Mid Suffolk Animal Establishments 


Trade Associations

Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS)

British Dressage 

British Equestrian Federation (BEF) 

British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) 

British Horse Society

Riding for the Disabled Association

Find a Vet

RCVS Riding Establishment Guidelines

CIEH Health and safety in horse riding establishments and livery yards