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Hiring Out Horses (Riding Establishment)

A Riding Establishment is defined as 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 (where the ponies are ridden), hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction, pony hire and donkey rides.

To run a business of hiring our horses an Animal Welfare Licence will be required. The number of animals that may be used for hiring will be specified on the licence along with other specific conditions.

This webpage should be read in conjunction with the Council's Animal Welfare Overview webpage:

Eligibility Criteria

Please refer to the Animal Welfare Overview webpage for information:

Application Process

Applicants must complete a licence application form.  The application form must be accompanied with the required documentation specified on the form and the licence application fee - currently £120.00.  Details of how to pay the fee can be found on the application form. The licence applicant must satisfy the nationally set licence conditions; guidance on these conditions is set out in the DEFRA guidance notes.

The licence application form and a guidance note can be found at the bottom of this webpage. 

If more than one licensable animal activity is being carried on, applicants must complete an application form for each of the licensable activities. For example, if they operate a business of hiring out horses and breeding dogs for sale they would need to complete an application form for hiring out horses and an application form for breeding/selling dogs. Provided that the applications are made at the same time there will be only one application fee payable - currently £120.00. 

Application Evaluation Process

Once the application is received by the Council, arrangements will be made for the required licensing inspections. All applications for a licence to hire out horses will be subject to a veterinary inspection conducted by an authorised Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Horse Inspector. The premises, animals, facilities and management will be inspected to ensure they comply with the current licence conditions.  The cost of the veterinary inspection will be recharged to the licence applicant.

Applications are then either approved with licence conditions or refused. 

The following criteria (and other relevant matters) will be considered when the application is being evaluated:

  • That the animals will be kept in suitable accommodation at all times - Factors to be taken into account include the construction and size of the accommodation, the number of animals to be housed in it, facilities for exercising the animals, cleanliness, temperature, lighting and ventilation provisions.
  • That suitable food, drink and bedding materials will be provided and that the animals are exercised and visited regularly.
  • That steps are taken to prevent and control the spread of disease among the animals and that isolation facilities are in place.
  • That adequate protection is provided to the animals in the case of fire and other emergencies.
  • That appropriate records (as specified in the DEFRA guidance notes) are kept and that these records are available to be inspected at any time by a Council Officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner.

Full details of the conditions that must be satisfied can be found in the DEFRA guidance documents.

All licensed riding establishments are subject to an annual veterinary inspection. The cost of this annual veterinary inspection will be recharged to the licence applicant.

Tacit Consent

We normally aim to have applications determined within 10 weeks of receipt of a valid and complete application. However, if we have been unable to determine an application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted due to animal welfare implications and therefore tacit consent does not apply.  This means that applicants must wait for the Council to determine their application before any licensable activities can take place.

Failed Application Redress

Applicants that have their licence application refused may appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal.  The appeal must be made in writing or email and within 28 days of the date of notification of refusal to grant a licence.

Licence Holder Redress - Star Rating

If an applicant is granted a licence but is unhappy with their star rating they should, in the first instance, contact the Licensing Team.  If the matter cannot be resolved the licence holder may appeal to the Council; the appeal must be made in writing and within 21 days of the original notification.

Consumer Complaint

If you have any concerns regarding a horse riding establishment in the East Lindsey District please contact the Licensing Team using the contact details below:

The Licensing Team, East Lindsey District Council, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP


Riding Establishment Register

This Register is not currently available online but should you wish to see a copy please contact the Licensing Team using the contact details set out below:

The Licensing Team, East Lindsey District Council, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP


Regulations Summary

·         Animal Welfare Act 2006  

·         The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018  

·         The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 

Trade Associations