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Riding Establishment

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To run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction), you need a licence from the local authority.
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Apply for a Riding Establishment Licence


An application/renewal for a riding establishment costs £192 (with additional veterinary report costs at the expense of the applicant) and can be paid online using the above link.  Licences once issued are valid for 12 months and must be renewed before the expiry date.   


Applicants must not have been disqualified from:

  • Keeping a riding establishment
  • Keeping a dog breeding establishment
  • Keeping a pet shop
  • Keeping an animal establishment
  • Having custody of animals

An applicant for a licence will need to consider whether planning permission is required for the proposed licensed activity. They should contact the planning department to discuss whether permission will be needed. The local authority may refuse or defer a decision on an application for a licence until the planning issue has been decided.

Supporting Documentation

The following documents should also be submitted with your application:

  • Site plan and layout plan
  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Training certificates

Processing and Timescales

An inspection will be carried out by a local authority officer within 28 days of receipt of application.  If you have not heard from us within this timescales please contact us

Tacit consent does not apply so your application must be processed by the authority before it can be granted.

No-one may run a riding establishment without first obtaining a licence.

Legislation and Conditions

Applicants and licence holders must meet the requirements of the Riding Establishments Act 1964 and 1970 and associated conditions.

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.

The local authority will also take into account whether the applicant is suitable and qualified to hold a licence. They must also be satisfied of the following:

  • that consideration will be given to the condition of the horses and that they 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
  • that the animals feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes are fitted properly and are in good condition
  • that there will be suitable accommodation for the horses
  • that for horses maintained on grass there is suitable pasture, shelter and water and that supplementary feed will be provided as and when needed
  • that horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding materials and will be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
  • that 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 that 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
  • that 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

Failed applications and appeals

If a licence is refused an appeal may be made to the magistrates court which may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions.

Report a problem

Any complaints or enquiries regarding a riding establishment please e-mail foodsafety-healthandsafety@conwy.gov.uk

Further Guidance:

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