If you hire out horses, you may need an animal activity licence. To obtain a licence, you need to ensure that you meet the specific licence conditions for hiring out horses.
Please note: We are currently experiencing a delay in carrying out inspections for animal activity licence applications due COVID-19. All applications will be acknowledged and an officer will contact you at a later date to arrange an inspection.
Do I need a licence?
You will need a licence if you are:
- A business which hires out horses for riding or for riding lessons. This includes riding schools and those that hire out horses, trekking, loan horses, pony parties (but only where the ponies are ridden), hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction, pony hire and pony/donkey rides.
For further guidance on the conditions visit GOV.UK (external link).
When do I NOT need a licence?
You will NOT need a licence if you:
- Are a business that runs pony parties where none of the ponies are ever ridden - these should be licensed as animal exhibits
- Run activities that are carried out solely for military or police purposes (e.g. riding stables that are used exclusively for these purposes)
- Have riding stables that are used exclusively for instructing veterinary students at university for the purpose of their course
- Are an individual who occasionally lends a horse, even if a small fee is charged, where there is no profit made and no intent to make a profit.
Anyone carrying out this activity without the relevant licence could be prosecuted and face imprisonment of up to 6 months, receive a fine or both.
To find out how much your animal activity licence will cost, see:
How to apply
Please note: The licence, if granted, is non-transferrable should the premises / business be sold or taken over by another operator. If the licence holder dies, the personal representative of the licence holder can take on the licence provided that they inform the local authority within 28 days of the death that they are now the operators.
We are required to carry out an inspection of all premises where licensable activities take place before we can approve an application.
As part of your inspection, you will be given a rating based on specific criteria.
What do I do if I already have a licence?
Before the expiry date of your licence, you will need to make an application for a licence under the new regulations.
You are advised to familiarise yourself with the new licence conditions to ensure you are able to comply with these before making a new application - see further guidance on complying with the new conditions (external link).
We maintain a public register of all the businesses which hold an animal activity licence, a copy of which is available below. This will be updated on a regular basis.