Licence - running a horse riding establishment
– licence requirements
What sort of authorisation do I need to run a riding
If you want to manage riding stables
in the Maidstone Borough, to loan out horses or ponies to the
public or to offer riding instruction, you need a Horse Riding
Establishment Licence from Maidstone Borough Council.
You must abide by any conditions we
apply to your licence.
Before applying to run riding
stables, you will need to arrange for the appropriate Planning
Consent or Change of Use Certificate to operate your premises. This
can be a long and complex process, and we will not be able to
process your licence application until you are able to include such
proof of consent in your application.
The operation of horse riding
establishments is regulated under the Riding
Establishments Act 1964.
Am I eligible?
Anyone applying to run a horse riding
establishment must be over 18 years of age. Also, you must never
have been disqualified from:
- Keeping a riding establishment
- Keeping a pet shop under the
Pet Animals Act 1951
- Having custody of animals
under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
- Keeping animal boarding
establishments under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act
- Keeping or owning animals,
or managing the care, transport or sale of animals under the Animal
Welfare Act 2006
- Keeping or owning animals, or
managing the care, transport or sale of animals under the Animal
Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006
Your premises must also be suitable for all
aspects of the operation of your business.
How much do licences cost?
The licence fee is dependent on the
number of horses kept at your yard. The same licence fee applies
for a new licence, a renewal, or a change of licence. Please see
the tariff below:
Up to and including 10
11 horses and more: £913.00
What do I need to include with my
As part of your application, we need
to see evidence that you have
- A detailed plan of your
premises including all relevant features, such as public areas with
access and emergency access, horse accommodation, schooling and
exercise areas, water and electricity access etc., and storage
areas. If you need any advice on preparing these plans, please
- Public Liability Insurance
to the value of at least £5,000,000
- Any certification that your
riding instructors and/or yard managers may have
- Your planning certificates
allowing you to use your premises exactly as you intend
We strongly recommend that you arrange appropriate
insurance to fully cover your stock, including any possible
expenditure on veterinary bills in the event of ill-health or
accident. If you employ anyone in your business, including
volunteers, you must also obtain appropriate Employer’s Liability
The application form also asks for a detailed
register of horses which you intend to hire out for work or
teaching at your premises, including gender and age of your
animals. Any horses kept on the premises must have full horse
passports, including youngsters under three years old.
Also, we advise you to be aware of your
obligations to protect children from harm in the running of your
business. This is particularly important when operating potentially
dangerous activities. Full guidance to your business’ legal
obligations to protect children is available via
the Charity Commission website. These obligations apply equally
to private businesses as to charities.
Apply online for a new licence or a licence
apply to run a riding establishment, or renew your current licence
You will be taken to an online
payment facility at the end of your application to pay the
appropriate fee. All of the above documents can be attached as
scans/electronic copies, or you can post hard copies to:
The Licensing Team, Maidstone House,
King Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 6JQ.
Alternatively, please contact the
Licensing Team on 01622 602727, and they will post you paper copies
of the forms to fill in and return to us with a cheque for the fee.
Please make cheques payable to Maidstone Borough Council.
How often do I have to renew my licence?
Riding establishment licences must
be renewed annually, with payment of the renewal fee. We send out
reminders towards the end of the year, and inspections will be
arranged within good time. You need to include the same
documentation as above.
How do I apply to change my licence?
apply to change your licence to run a riding establishment
online. If you have made any changes to your stock, your
insurance, your certification or to the layout of your premises,
you need to include copies of documents demonstrating this with
Fees apply as for new applications.
If you are only making minor administrative changes to your
details, please contact us in the first instance, as there may be
Any substantial additions or changes to the
layout of your premises may require planning permission. If this is
so, we cannot proceed with your application unless a copy of the
relevant consent is included.
What happens next?
Once everything has been received,
applications will take 40 calendar days to
process. During this time, we recommend you stay in touch,
as the full assessment may take longer if there are any problems
with your application. Also, the clock can stop if we need
further information from you.
We will contact you within 3-8 days of receiving your
application to arrange a pre-inspection visit (if applicable) which
will take place within 10 days of receipt. A pre-inspection
visit may be offered to ensure that there are no avoidable issues
that could prevent the licence being granted.
A formal inspection by Council officers and a veterinary
inspector will then be arranged. This will usually take one
day. Council officers will assess whether the premises are
fit for purpose and appropriately maintained, and assess the
standards of the application against the requirements of the
legislation. The veterinary inspector will consider the
condition of any horses and whether they are fit for work.
In the interest of animal welfare and public
safety, you may not operate your business until we have fully
processed and granted your licence. Likewise, for applications to
change or renew your licence, you may not consider your application
successful until we confirm it. All inspections by a veterinary
inspector and duly authorised Council personnel must be carried out
in full before you can proceed
How are riding establishment licence applications
Further information on the
assessment process and conditions that may be applied to your
licence is available in our information sheet.
What happens if there is a problem with my application?
If we issue you with a notice that
your application has failed, you may be able to appeal.
What happens if I want to dispute the outcome of my application
gives information and advice on this.
If you are unhappy with the service
you have received from Maidstone Borough Council, you can view our
complaints policy or
make a complaint.
What do I do if I am concerned about something at a riding
establishment I have visited?
General information for dissatisfied
customers is also available in the
What happens if I want to dispute the outcome of my
application information sheet.
If you have seen something at riding stables which
gave you cause for concern over animal welfare or public safety
please contact us immediately using the details to the right of the
British Horse Society
Association of British Riding Schools
British Equestrian Federation (BEF)
British Equestrian Trade Association