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Horse riding establishment licence


To operate a horse riding establishment in County Durham you must first obtain a licence from us.

A riding establishment is defined as a business keeping horses for either or both of the following purposes:

  • to offer horses for rent for the purpose of riding
  • to offer horses for rent for the purpose of riding instruction

The need for a licence is a requirement of the Riding Establishments Act 1964

Eligibility criteria

You must be over 18 years of age and must not be disqualified from keeping a riding establishment. Upon receipt of an application, we reserve the right to contact other agencies, including, but not limited to the Police and the RSPCA, in order to confirm whether an applicant is disqualified from keeping animals.

Your premises must have planning permission. If you require advice and support in this respect please contact our Planning service.

If you are applying for a new licence, or wish to renew a current one, you must also provide us with the following items along with the application form and fee

  • site plan and layout of facilities
  • a valid Public Liability Insurance certificate with a minimum £5m cover
  • relevant training and qualification certificates

Applicable fees

The fee for a horse riding establishment licence is £142. If you are looking to renew your current licence, the fee is £96. You are also responsible for the cost of a veterinary inspection; approximately £100 to £300 depending on the size of your business. 

Apply online

Apply by post

You can download and complete a Icon for pdf Horse Riding Establishment application form (PDF, 327.7kb)  if you wish to apply by post. Please return your completed application to our postal address.

Application process

The target period for processing a correctly completed application online is 60 days from receipt. Please note all outstanding veterinary fees must be settled before your licence will be approved. 

If you have applied but not heard from us by the end of the target completion period you have the legal right to act as though your application has been granted.

Once you've submitted your application, a health and safety officer and veterinary surgeon appointed by us will inspect your premises and prepare and submit a report to us within 28 days of being asked to undertake the inspection.

Following receipt of the report from the veterinary surgeon, we also receive an invoice for any work carried out during the inspection process. We will then send you an invoice for reimbursement of these fees.

Upon settlement of these fees, and providing your veterinary inspection was satisfactory and that all conditions are met, your licence will be granted.

A horse riding establishment licence is valid for one year and runs from 1 January. 

If you are refused a licence you can appeal to the Magistrates' Court.

Consumer complaint

If you require any further information or advice regarding your application, have concerns regarding a horse riding establishment, or in the event of a complaint, please contact us.

In partnership with

  • EUGO
Contact us
Animal health
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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