Show mobile menu
Show search control
Show search control
Search Site

Riding Establishment Licence

To run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction), you need a licence.

Following an assessment of your business by a member of the Environmental Health team, the Council may issue you with a licence to run a riding establishment.  Licences need to be renewed every year.  Before deciding an application East Herts Council must consider a report from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner detailing whether the premises are suitable for a riding establishment and detailing the conditions of the premises and any horses

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be over 18 years of age and 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 keeping or owning animals, being able to influence how animals are kept, dealing animals or transporting or being involved in the transporting of animals
  • from owning, keeping dealing or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

You'll need to show that:

  • horses will be maintained in good health, kept physically fit and where the horse is to be ridden or used during riding instruction, be suitable for that purpose
  • the animals feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes are fitted properly and are in good condition
  • there will be suitable accommodation for the horses
  • for horses maintained on grass there is suitable pasture, shelter and water and that supplementary feed will be provided as and when needed
  • horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding materials and will be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
  • precautions will be taken to reduce the spread of contagious or infectious diseases and that veterinary first aid equipment and medicines will be provided and maintained
  • appropriate procedures are in place to protect and remove the horses in the case of a fire and that as part of this the name, address and telephone number of the licence holder is displayed outside the premises and fire instructions are displayed
  • storage facilities for forage, bedding, stable equipment and saddlery are provided

In addition to any other conditions a riding establishment licence must be subject to the following conditions:

  • that any horse inspected by an authorised officer and found to need veterinary attention will not be returned to work until the licence holder has obtained a veterinary certificate confirming the horse is fit for work
  • that a horse will not be let out for hire or for use in instruction without the supervision of a responsible person aged 16 years or older, unless the licence holder is satisfied the rider doesn't require supervision
  • that the business will not be left in the charge of someone under 16 years of age
  • that the licence holder holds indemnity insurance
  • that the licence holder keeps a register of all horses in their possession that are three years old or younger and that the register is available for inspection at all reasonable times

Apply and Renew Online

To apply for or renew an Riding Establishments licence you need to complete an online application form and pay the appropriate fee. For 2018/19 the fee is £447.70, not including any vet charges.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from East Herts Council by the end of the target completion period.

Fines and penalties

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.

Public Register

Details of licenced animal boarding establishments are available on our online Public Register.

Failed Application Appeals

If you are refused a licence, you should in the first instance discuss this with the inspecting officer who will explain why you have not been successful and what works are needed in order to enable the Council to issue a licence. If you are still dissatisfied with the reasons for refusal you can appeal to the local Magistrates' court.

Licence Holder Redress

If you are unhappy with any of the licence conditions added to your licence, you should in the first instance discuss this with the inspecting officer who will explain why they have been added. If you are still dissatisfied with the reasons for any conditions you can appeal to the local Magistrates' court.

Consumer Complaints

Depending on the nature of the complaint, we would always advise that in the first instance contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked and you are located in the UK,  Citizens Advice will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the  UK European Consumer Centre.