Riding establishment licence

If you want to run a stables that hires out horses or ponies for riding or instruction, you must have a licence.

Legislation summary

You can read the Riding Establishment Act 1964 and Riding Establishment Act 1970 here.

Eligibility criteria

You're eligible to apply for a riding establishment licence if you meet the following criteria:

  • licenses can be granted to either a business or an individual aged over 18 
  • the horse riding establishment must never be left in the charge of anyone aged under 16
  • horses let out for riding hire or for instruction must always be supervised by a responsible person aged 16 or over (the only exception is if the licence holder feels the hirer of the horse is competent to ride without supervision)
  • a licence is valid from either the date of issue or from 1 January (state your preference in your application form)
  • the term 'horse' includes any mare, gelding, pony, foal, colt, filly or stallion and also any ass, mule or jennet

Applying for a licence

You can apply for a riding establishment licence online.

Once your application is submitted and paid for online it is automatically sent to the responsible authorities, so there's no need for applicants to send in paper hard copies.


A licence costs £682 per year. 

Application evaluation process

Once your application is received, a licensing officer will contact you to make arrangements to carry out an inspection of your premises. The officer will be accompanied by an approved vet who will set the licensing conditions.

Further information

You can find further guidance:

If you're experiencing issues applying for a licence or if you have any questions, contact us on licensing@southwark.gov.uk

Page last updated: 14 May 2018