Licence to Hire Out Horses

Licence to Hire Out Horses

If you hire out horses or ponies for riding you require a licence under the provisions of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

Risk assessment

Before we can approve your licence, we will risk assess your premises, and how you look after the horses or ponies in your care. To pass this assessment, you must meet the conditions listed in the Regulations. Defra have issued Guidance (pdf 455 kb) to assist the process.  

If you meet these conditions, as well as your licence, you will receive a star rating (between one and five stars) for your business. The star rating you will receive determines the length of time your licence is for (between one and three years).

The Application Process

To apply for a Licence to Hire Out Horses, please contact us for the form or more information on the application process. Application Form (pdf 224 kb)

What happens next?

The Applicant should arrange for an authorised Veterinary Surgeon/practitioner to undertake an inspection of his/her establishment and produce a written report which the Council will then use in the determination of your application.

The veterinary inspection should normally take place shortly after the application has been made. The only exemption to this inspection may be where an authorised veterinary surgeon/practitioner has inspected the horses/premises in the 12 months immediately preceding the date that the application is made.

There is an application fee of £250 payable upon application. However, should we require the expertise of an animal specialist this may incur further costs at your expense before a Licence is issued.

We will arrange to risk assess your home or premises. After this assessment, we will write to you to let you know if your application has been successful, and based on the risk assessment, the star rating you receive and how long your licence is for.

If you are unhappy with our decision

If you don't agree with our decision, you can appeal.

If you do not agree with your star rating

If you do not agree with the star rating we give your business, contact us to appeal this.

Request a re-score

If you get less than five stars, we will let you know what you need to do to increase your star rating. An increased star rating could increase the length of time that your licence is for.

If you complete these actions, you can ask us to return to your home or premises to repeat the risk assessment. This costs £100 - contact us to arrange.

If we reject your application

If we do not issue a licence, and you wish to appeal this decision, contact the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) to launch an appeal.   

Planning requirements

Your application for a licence will need to consider whether planning permission is required for the proposed licensed activity. You should contact the Planning Authority on 0191 2115654 to discuss whether permission will be needed. Your application for a licence will not be processed until the planning issue has been resolved.

How long does the licence last?

The length of the Licence is determined by their risk rating which takes into consideration the risk of an operator breaching any licence conditions, the impact on animal welfare of any such breaches and whether the operator is already meeting higher standards of animal welfare than is required by the Licence conditions. Licence holders will receive a written reminder prior to the expiry of their Licence.

What conditions will be attached to a licence?

Conditions typically applied to a Licence to Hire out Horses are as set out within the Application Form (pdf 379 kb).


Where a person is convicted of an animal related offence they may not apply for a Licence. Go to Schedule 8 of the Regulations for more details.

Rights of entry

Authorised officers of the Council and/or authorised Veterinary Surgeons/practitioners may enter and inspect a riding establishment premises at any reasonable time.

How long will it take to process my application?

Upon receipt of your application, an authorised Veterinary Surgeon/practitioner will be contacted and advised of the application. Contact to arrange the inspection will then be made.

The Council will endeavour to issue a licence within a period of 28 days, however if we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted due to animal welfare implications.


If you want to make a complaint about any premises hiring out horses or ponies, please contact us. If you feel we have failed to provide you with good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please telephone the Trading Standards service. The Trading Standards service will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have.

Disclosure Barring Service requirements

An enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check is required for each employee or volunteer on the initial application or a renewal of the licence.

Will Tacit Consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it using the contact details below.

Disease control

For the latest information on the risks presented by animal diseases and specifically Equine Infectious Anaemia and also Contagious Equine Metritis, please contact your local vet, or DEFRA

Licensed Premises

Stepney Bank Stables, Lime Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2NP

Native Pony Riding Centre, Black Row Farm, Drove Road, Throckley, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 9QT

Kenton Riding School, Kenton Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 3EB 


Trading Standards service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Telephone (0191) 2116102. Email:

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