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Hiring horses

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If you are involved in hiring out horses in the course of a business for either or both of the following purposes:

(a)    Riding

(b)   Instruction in riding

Then you will require a licence under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving) (England) Regulations 2018.

Licence Conditions and Guidance - Further information on what is classed as a business and what activities are considered in or out of scope is available in the below DEFRA document:

This document also details the licence conditions that you would need to comply with if you were granted a licence.

Application form and fees

Animal Activity Licence Application Form – there is one generic Animal Activity Licence Form that covers all activities. Sections 1 to 4 must be completed for all application, and then complete the relevant sections for the activities that you are applying for.

Application and Licence Fee – The fees for an Animal Activity Licence are split into an application fee which must be received with the application and a licence fee which is required to be paid once the licence is approved and covers the length of the licence.

The hiring out horses licence requires a veterinary inspection on granting and renewal of a licence and also every 12 months. The operator will be invoiced separately for this charge following the visit.

Additional Information

Any new licences issued will be for one year initially, and then any subsequent licences or renewals will be risk rated and will issued a 1, 2 or 3 years licence in accordance with their risk rating and corresponding star rating.

Further information on the new licensing process is available on our Animal Activity Licensing FAQs page.

For new riding establishments, planning permission may be required. Further information can be obtained from Planning Services.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have produced a Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and their Hybrids which might be of interest.

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