Horse hiring (riding schools) licence

Guidance and conditions

General conditions

General conditions apply in respect of:

  • licence display
  • records
  • use, number and type of animal
  • staffing
  • suitable environment
  • suitable diet
  • monitoring of behaviour and training of animals
  • animal handling and interactions
  • protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease
  • emergencies

Other conditions

Specific, extra conditions for hiring horses set out rules for:

  • eligibility
  • supervision
  • suitable environment
  • suitable diet
  • protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease
  • equipment


Before a licence is issued an inspection will be undertaken by an experienced council animal licensing officer. This will include a visit from a vet.

Where a licence holder is expected to have written plans, procedures, or documented checks, officers will wish to see these as part of the inspection.

A licence with a score of 1 star can be issued to a previously licensed business if they have 'minor failings' which are predominantly administrative or if they are in relation to standards, they do not compromise the welfare of the animals. New applicants can only be licenced if they meet or exceed the minimum standards.  Businesses meeting minimum standards will be graded 2 or 3 stars. Those meeting the higher standards, as laid down in the guidance, will score 4 or 5 stars.

Although a licence may run for more than 1 year, the horses at the establishment will need to be checked annually by our officers and a vet.

Full conditions are available on the Gov.UK web site.