Riding establishments


You can apply and pay for a licence online via GOV.UK, payment can be made by debit or credit card. The appropriate fee must be paid before the licence is granted. For current licence prices, see: Licence fees .

Riding establishment licence application

Change a riding establishment licence

Planning requirements

Before applying for a Riding Establishment Licence you need to check whether your premises have the necessary planning permissions to operate the business. Further advice and guidance can be sought from Planning Services e-mail: town.planning@calderdale.gov.uk .

Will tacit authorisation apply?


What happens next

On receipt of an application, whether it is a new application or a renewal, an Officer from the Local Authority will contact you within 10 working days and make an appointment to inspect your premises. The officer will determine the suitability of the premises and also the suitability of the owner in accordance with the conditions.

A licence will not be issued until the officers are satisfied that the conditions are met. In determining whether to grant a licence or not the Local Authority will consider the issues listed under the conditions but these are without prejudice to our discretion to refuse a licence on any other grounds.

Further information

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

Licences to keep a riding establishment are issued under the: Riding Establishments Act 1964 .

Under the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970, anyone that carries on the business of keeping horses for either or both of the following purposes, that is to say, the purpose of their being let out on hire for riding or the purpose of their being used in providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding requires a licence.

But as not including a reference to the carrying on of such a business:

  • in a case where the premises where the horses employed for the purposes of the business are kept are occupied by or under the management of the Secretary of Defence or
  • solely for Police purposes or
  • by the Zoological Society of London or
  • by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (Sec. 6(1)).
  • Horses kept by a university providing veterinary courses are also exempt and the place at which a riding establishment is run is to be taken as the place at which the horses are kept (Section 6 (2) and (3)).

Licensing of riding establishments

Application for a licence must be made to the Local Authority and a licence may be issued if the applicant is not disqualified under any of the following Acts:

  • The Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963
  • The Pet Animals Act 1951
  • The Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • The Animal Welfare Act (Scotland) 2006.

Full licences continue for one year beginning on the day on which they came into force and then expire.

Provisional licences operate for three months from the day on which they are granted and are used where the local authority is satisfied that it would not be justified in issuing a full licence. The three months period of operation may, on application before the expiration of the three months, be extended for a further period of not exceeding three months so long as this would not exceed a six months period in one year.

On the death of a licence holder, licences pass to his personal representative for a period of three months and then expire. The three months period may be extended at the Local Authority's discretion.


The Authority will 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 Local Authority is required to specify such conditions in the licence as appears to it necessary for securing all or any of the following objectives:

  • 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 people for any liability which may be incurred by them for 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 3 years and under and usually kept on the premises, which shall be available for inspection by an authorised officer at all reasonable times. (Section 1(4a)).

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

Offences and penalties

The following offences and penalties apply to the keeping of a Riding Establishment.

  1. Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal boarding establishment without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both.
  2. Anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licences may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both.
  3. Anybody found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector, or authorised Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner in the exercising of their powers of entry may be fined up to a maximum of £500.

If found guilty under the Riding Establishments Acts, the defendant's licence may be cancelled and they may be disqualified from keeping a riding establishment for such length of time as the Court thinks fit.

See also