Shropshire Council

Riding establishment licence

Licences to keep a riding establishment are issued under the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970.

A riding establishment is defined as 'the carrying on of a business of keeping horses to let them out for hire for riding or riding instruction'.  Licences are renewable annually. We'll arrange for the inspection of horses and premises by a veterinary surgeon to ensure the welfare of the animals and that the accommodation is suitable. The licence will be issued subject to compliance with licence conditions and payment of the licence fee.

In addition, the following conditions are required by the act, whether specified in the licence or not:

  • a horse found on inspection of the premises by an authorised officer to be in need of veterinary attention shall not be returned to work until the holder of the licence has obtained, at his own expense, and has lodged with the local authority a veterinary certificate that the horse is fit for work
  • no horse will be let out on hire for riding or used for providing instruction in riding without supervision by a responsible person of the age of 16 years or over unless (in the case of a horse let out for hire for riding) the holder of the licence is satisfied that the hirer of the horse is competent to ride without supervision
  • the carrying on of the business of a riding establishment shall at no time be left in the charge of any person under 16 years of age
  • the licence holder shall hold a current insurance policy which insures him against liability for any injury sustained by those who hire a horse from him for riding, and those who use a horse in the course of receiving from him, in return for payment, instruction in riding and arising out of the hire or use of a horse as aforesaid and which also insures such persons in respect of any liability which may be incurred by them in respect of injury to any person caused by, or arising out of, the hire or use of a horse as aforesaid
  • a register shall be kept by the licence holder of all horses in his possession aged three years and under and usually kept on the premises, which shall be available for inspection by an authorised officer at all reasonable times. (Sec. 1(4a))

Guidance on conditions for riding establishment licences is issued by the British Veterinary Association.

Am I eligible to apply for a riding establishment licence?

To apply for a riding establishment licence you must be over 18 years of age. You must not have previously been prevented from doing the following: keeping a riding establishment under the Riding Establishment Act 1964, keeping a dog under the Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) Act 1923 or (Scotland) Act 1934, keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951, having custody of animals under the Protection of Animals (amendment) Act 1954, keeping an animal boarding establishment under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963 (Section 1 (2))

Who needs one?

Anyone wishing to run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction).

How long will it take?

You should allow two months for your application to be processed.

How much will it cost?

There is a fee for issuing this document, which is taken when you apply.

What will I need before I apply?

  • Completed application form
  • Fee
  • Public liability insurance for £5m
  • See application form for any additional requirements

Apply now

Download the form, complete it on your home computer, and email it to

Download the form

Download the form, print it out, fill it in and post your application along with the fee if applicable to:

The Licensing Team, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6ND

Download the form