Riding establishment licence

Licences to keep a riding establishment are issued under the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970.
To run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction) in England, Scotland or Wales, you need a licence from the local authority.

Am I eligible?

Applicants must be over 18 years of age. 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 keeping or owning animals, being able to influence how animals are kept, dealing animals or transporting or being involved in the transporting of animals

How much does it cost?

There is an application fee which must be paid at the time an application is made.
Full details are available on the Councils fees and charges
Where a licence is granted, that licence and any subsequent licence will expire on the 31st December of the year to which the licence relates and must be renewed annually before that date if the premises are to continue as a riding establishment.

Licence conditions

Argyll and Bute Council standard conditions for riding establishments

How will my application be evaluated?

Before deciding an application the local authority 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

What happens next?

We have a target date for dealing with these applications which is 28 days after receipt of the application form and the appropriate fee. If you have not heard from us within 14 days, please contact us using the details at the bottom of the page.
You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcome service.
You will be able to act as though your application is granted if, by the end of the 28 day period, you have not heard from us that your application has been refused.

What if I have been refused a licence or do not agree with the licence conditions imposed?

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates Courts who may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper.

What happens if you fail to comply?

If you do not have a licence or do not comply with any of the conditions, you may be prosecuted, fined up to £5000 and/or imprisoned for up to 3 months, or both.

Consumer complaints

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the service provider by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Consumer Service will give you advice or you can contact us directly. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other complaints

If you wish to complain about the welfare of the animals, nuisance caused by the operation of the riding establishment etc. or are one licence holder wishing to complain about another use the contact details below.

Who to contact

Environmental Health