Riding establishment licence

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.

Completing your application

How to apply

Apply online

You can also download an application form

  • If you are making your application online,  you will be directed to our online payment system when you have completed your application
  • If you are sending us your application, you can send a cheque for the fee made payable to Argyll and Bute Council to the address below.

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. Licences must be renewed annually, before that date if the premises are to continue as a riding establishment.

The information you supply on this form will be used for the purpose for which you have provided it, and appropriate measures are in place to protect your personal data.  A full privacy notice, which provides information about your rights under current data protection legislation and details about what will happen to your personal data can be found here:

Licensing conditions

Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970


There is an application fee of £518.50 which must be paid at the time an application is made.

Contact us

You can contact us using our online enquiry form

By post at:

Argyll and Bute Council
Regulatory Services
PA31 8RT

Or phone: 01546 605519

Eligibility Criteria

You must be over 18 years of age and must have not been disqualified:

The Application process

Before deciding on an application we 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.
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.

Objections and Appeals

If you have been refused a licence or do not agree with the licence conditions imposed you may appeal to the Sheriff Court. 

Sheriff Principal of North Strathclyde, Paisley Sheriff Court, St James Street, Paisley, PA3 2AW.

They may give directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it sees fit.

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.


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 Scotland, Advice Direct Scotland will give you advice or you can contact us directly. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

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 please contact us.

Did you find what you were looking for?

Why wasn't this information helpful

Limit to 250 characters.