Riding establishment licence


If you want to run a riding establishment in Southampton you will need to apply for a licence.

A riding establishment is a business that hires out horses or ponies, mules and donkeys for riding, or a riding school.


You need to prove that you have suitable qualifications and experience of horse management, and that your horses are:

  • In good health and physically fit
  • Suitable to be hired out and used for riding
  • Provided with adequate food, drink and bedding
  • Regularly exercised
  • Safeguarded in an emergency

You also need liability insurance that covers you for any injuries that result from people riding your horses.

You must keep a register of horses aged three years or under that are usually kept on your premises, and make it available for inspection.


You will not be able to get a licence if you have been banned from:

  • Running a riding establishment
  • Running a pet shop
  • Keeping animals, including in a boarding kennel or cattery

You may not get a licence if you have committed an animal health or welfare offence.

You must not leave anyone under 16 years old in charge of the riding establishment. Any riders under 16 must be supervised, unless you're satisfied that they are competent to ride without supervision.


The council may inspect your premises and horses before giving you a licence, and any time after your licence is granted. If the inspector finds that any of your horses need veterinary attention, you must provide a certificate to show they are fit again before returning them to work.

You can be fined up to £1,000 or imprisoned for up to three months, or both, if you run a riding establishment without a licence.

How to apply

In the interest of animal welfare we will only grant a licence if you meet the relevant conditions.

Please read the Guidance notes for conditions for hiring out horses to ensure you can comply with the licence conditions.

Apply for a Riding Establishment licence


The licence fee is £350.00

Note: This fee is non-refundable

Paying the licence fee

You can make a Debit or Credit card payment online via the council's secure online payment service. You are not required to register to use this service. Your card must be registered for 3D Secure for the payment to be successful.


Before you make a payment

You won't be able to save this form to complete later, so please allow yourself a couple of minutes to fill in the form.

You will need:

  • Payment card (registered with 3D secure)

Pay for a Riding Establishment licence

How long will it take to process my application?

Once we have received your application and fee we will arrange to carry out an inspection to make sure your premises meet the required standards. We aim to issue a licence within 28 days. If we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not automatically be granted due to animal welfare implications.

Change of circumstance

You must notify us of any change of circumstances. This includes the surrendering of your licence or any other material change to the licence or how you operate. There is a fee due in respect of any change that requires a new licence to be issued.

Will Tacit Consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that Southampton City Council must process your application before it can be granted.


Please read the Guidance notes for conditions for hiring out horses which provide more information.