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Riding establishment licence

Sites where horses or ponies are hired for riding or used for instruction need a local authority licence, in England, Scotland or Wales.

Applicants must be over 18. 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 dealing, transporting, keeping or owning animals, influencing how they are kept, or involvement in transporting them
  • from owning, keeping dealing or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

Applicants must pay any fees associated with the application and licence and comply with the licence’s conditions.

The local authority must consult a veterinary surgeon or practitioner’s report. It will note the site’s fitness for riding establishment, as well as its condition and that of any horses.

The local authority will also consider applicants’ suitability and qualifications for holding a licence. They must also be satisfied that:

  • consideration will be given to the horses’ condition and that they will be kept in good health, and physically fit
  • the horse is suitable for riding or use during instruction
  • the animals feet will be trimmed properly and have properly fitted shoes in good condition
  • the horses will have suitable accommodation
  • there is suitable pasture, shelter and water for horses kept on grass and that supplementary feed will be provided as needed
  • horses will receive suitable food, drink and bedding materials and be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
  • precautions will be taken to reduce the spread of disease, and that veterinary first aid equipment and medicines will be maintained
  • there are proper measures to protect and remove the horses from fire
  • there is storage for forage, bedding, stable equipment and saddlery

As part of fire precautions, the licence holder’s name, address and telephone number must be shown outside the premises. Also, fire instructions must be displayed.

In addition, a riding establishment licence is subject to the conditions that:

  • horses found to need veterinary attention by authorised officers will not work until the licence holder gets a veterinary certificate confirming their fitness for work
  • horses will not be hired or used in instruction without supervision by a responsible person over 16, unless licensees are satisfied riders don't need supervision
  • someone under 16 will not be left in the charge of the business
  • the licensee holds indemnity insurance
  • the licensee keeps a register of horses they hold that are three years old or younger, which can be inspected at reasonable times

It is in the public interest that authorities process applications before granting them. If you have not heard from the relevant authority within a reasonable period, please contact it. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes Service, or use the contact details below.

T: 01656 643643

Licensing Section
Bridgend County Borough Council
Civic Offices
Angel Street
CF31 4WB

In the first instance, please contact your local authority:


Bridgend County Borough Council
Licensing Section
Civic Offices
Angel Street
CF31 4WB

If your application is refused, you can appeal to the local magistrates' court. In Scotland, applicants whose applications are refused can appeal to the local sheriff.

When complaining, make the first contact with the trader yourself, and preferably by letter with proof of delivery. If that does not work and you are in the UK, Citizens’ Advice Consumer Helpline can help. Outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre.


There is no other form of redress.

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