Riding Establishments

Horse Riding Establishments

Licences to keep a riding establishment are issued under the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970. The legislation is designed to ensure the welfare of the animals and the suitability of their accommodation.

This application is not subject to tacit approval under the European Union Services Directive.  The indicative timescale for dealing with the application is proposed to be within 56 days of receipt of a full application.   The deadline may be required to be extended, you will be notified of the new deadline and the reason for extending it.

When is a licence required?

If you hire out horses or donkeys or provide a riding school service, you will require a licence. 

The Riding Establishments Act 1964 defines the keeping of a riding establishment as:

'... the carrying on of a business of keeping horses for either or both of the following purposes, that is to say, the purpose of their being let out on hire for riding or the purpose of their being used in providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding'.

Licences are renewable annually. The council will arrange for the inspection of horses and premises whilst accompanied by a veterinary surgeon. The licence will be issued subject to receipt of a satisfactory report, compliance with licence conditions and payment of the licence fee. 

You can find our Licensing Fees and Charges on our Animal Licensing page.

A licence will not be issued to individuals who are not over the age of eighteen years or a body corporate who is disqualified.

  • from keeping a riding establishment under the Riding Establishment Act 1964,
  • under Section 34(2), (3) or (4) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006,
  • 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 an animal boarding establishment under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963.

What conditions apply to the Riding Establishment?

In deciding whether or not to grant a licence, or provisional licence, the Local Authority must, without prejudice to its right to refuse a licence on other grounds, have regard to certain matters which include:

  • whether the person has suitable qualification or experience
  • the condition of the horses
  • the condition of feet
  • suitable accommodation
  • where appropriate, the condition of pasture
  • suitable food, drink, bedding and exercise facilities
  • suitable disease control
  • suitable precautions in event of fire
  • provision of adequate accommodation for forage, bedding and equipment

Making an application

Riding Establishment Applications can be completed online together with payment of the current licence fee.

You can complete and submit the application form online here.

You are advised to consider the following:

  • will the activity require planning permission?
  • can you comply with the likely licence conditions?

Health & Safety

You are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of anyone affected by your business. You will need to undertake a risk assessment, record the significant findings and make sure that hazards are eliminated where possible, residual risks reduced as far as possible, and that systems are in place to make people aware of these and that anyone employed receives adequate instruction and training. If you want advice on Health and Safety, please contact Environmental Services Health and Safety team. 


The date of operation of the licence, depending upon the wishes of the applicant, is either the day on which it is granted or the 1st January next.  The licence continues in force for one year and then expires.

Provisional licences operate for three months from the day on which they are granted and are used where the local authority is satisfied that it would not be justified in issuing a full licence.

On the death of a licence holder, the licence passes to his personal representative for a period of three months and then expires. The three months period may be extended at the Local Authority's discretion.

If you require any further information please contact our Health and Safety Team.

Contact Details:

E-mail: fhsadmin@tendringdc.gov.uk
Environmental Services (Health and Safety Team)
Council Offices
Thorpe Road
CO16 9AJ
Telephone: 01255 686767 

Last updated on: 31/07/2018 - 10:17