Hiring out Horses

A licence is required for any person hiring out horses in the course of a business for either or both of the following purposes:

  • riding;
  • instruction in riding.

The definition of business is whether the operator:

  • makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  • earns any commission or fee from the activity.

Examples include riding schools, trekking, loan horses, pony parties (but only where the ponies are ridden), hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction and pony hire, and pony and donkey rides. 

If you are unsure whether you need a licence then please contact the Licensing Authority who will advise as to whether a licence is required or not based on your individual circumstances.

The hiring of horses is regulated by the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018 which came into force in October 2018.

Please view our public register to see the licensed premises in South Derbyshire.

Applying for a licence

Any individual can apply for a licence if they can demonstrate that they are:

  • a fit and proper person;
  • not disqualified from holding a licence (in accordance with Regulation 11 and Schedule 8).

Apply for a hiring out horses licence. (pdf, 281kb)

You will need to submit the application fee at the same time as your application. For details of fees, please see the fees and charges page of our website.

A plan and any required procedures/policies must be submitted with the application form.

Once your licence has been granted, you will have to submit a licence fee before the licence is issued to you.

If you are applying for more than one licensable activity at a time then there is an additional application fee to be paid on application.

Tacit consent will not apply as it is in the public interest that the application is processed before it can be granted.

We aim to process your application within 10 weeks of receiving a complete application.  If this target is not met then the application is not automatically granted.  This means that you can’t hire out horses until a licence has been issued.

What happens once I’ve submitted my application?

Once we have received your application, we will contact you to arrange an inspection.

It is a requirement of the Regulations that a listed veterinary surgeon carries out an inspection of a premises hiring out horses.  The veterinary surgeon will attend with the Council’s Inspector and be arranged by the Council however the applicant is responsible for paying the veterinary surgeon fee.

During an inspection, we will check that you comply with the standard conditions and the specific conditions for hiring out horses.

You will need to meet the requirements of all the minimum standards.

The premises will be risk rated.

The conditions require you to keep and maintain documents and records.

There are also further optional conditions for higher standards.  The higher standards are shown in the activity specific conditions.

In order to achieve the higher standard, you will have to demonstrate that you meet the required higher standards and at least 50% of the optional higher standards.

In addition to conditions, the licence is subject to the Guidance produced by DEFRA which can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/animal-activities-licensing-guidance-for-local-authorities

What is a risk rating?

The risk rating, along with the inspection form, helps us to determine the star rating of the premises. This sets out how long the licence lasts for.

The risk rating cover areas such as:

  • history of compliance
  • welfare standards, such as provision of enrichment equipment
  • management standards, including having a process to recording and acting on customer feedback.

All new business which do not have compliance history with a Local Authority or a member of a UKAS accredited scheme will be rated as high risk.

What information will be provided with the licence?

If a licence is issued, we will provide:

  • The licence with the star rating;
  • Details of how the business has been rated, including a list of the higher standards the business is failing to meet;
  • A copy of the risk management assessment table;
  • Details of the appeals process and timescales.

How long will the licence last for?

The licence can last for 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the outcome of the risk rating and the inspection.

Licences granted for the first time will only last for 1 year (if the standard conditions are met) or 2 years (if the standard and higher standards are met).

Once the licence has been granted, Officers will carry out an unannounced inspection of the premises during the course of the licence to ensure that the conditions are still being met.

An annual inspection of the premises will be carried out by a listed veterinarian surgeon.

How do I appeal my star rating?

There is an appeals procedure in place for you to dispute the star rating given.

An appeal must be made in writing within 21 days of the licence being issued.

In the first instance, you are advised to discuss your concerns with the Inspecting Officer however please note that you still need to lodge your appeal within the 21 day period.

Your appeal will be assessed and determined by the allocation Appeals Officer (not the same officer who carried out the inspection).  If you disagree with the outcome of the appeal you can challenge it by way of judicial review.

If the appeal process involves another inspection and the outcome of the appeal does not result in a higher star rating being awarded, you will have to pay the fee for re-inspection.

I’d like to improve my star rating.  What do I need to do?

If you accept the star rating you're awarded but make improvements to achieve higher standards you can apply for a re-inspection. There will be a fee for this. 

To apply for a re-inspection, please complete the application  (docx, 110kb)and return with the fee and any supporting documentation. 

Once a re-inspection application has been accepted, an Officer will be in touch to arrange an inspection.

Please note a full inspection will be carried out and the star rating can decrease as well as increase.

How do I make any changes to the licence?

If you would like to make any changes to your licence i.e. add or remove horses at the premises under the licence then you can apply (docx, 109kb) to vary the licence.

A fee is payable.

The application process is the same as for a new application.

How do I renew my licence?

A reminder letter will be sent out three months before the expiry of your licence.  As it may take up to 10 weeks to process your application, you are advised to submit your renewal application in plenty of time.

You will not be permitted to trade once your licence has expired if the renewal application hasn’t been determined.

A veterinary inspection will be required on renewal.

What if my licence is refused?

The licence will be refused if:

  • the applicant can't meet the licence conditions;
  • the granting of a licence will have a negative impact on animal welfare;
  • the level of accommodation, staffing, or management is inadequate for the well-being of animals.

A licence cannot be issued to an applicant who is disqualified.

There is a right of appeal to a First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision notice.

The new Regulations introduce a range of enforcement powers to allow us to issue a suspension, variation or revocation notice where conditions are not being complied with i.e. there is a breach of the regulations or issues relating to the protection of the welfare of an animal.

How do I vary my licence?

If you wish to vary your licence, please complete the attached application form (pdf, 56kb) and submit to the Licensing Department along with the fee and any supporting documents.

On receipt of an application, an Officer will be in contact to arrange an inspection.  A full inspection of the whole premises will be carried out to ensure compliance with the conditions and guidance.  The premises will be re-rated which can lead to a lower or higher rating being awarded. 

After the inspection, a decision will be made as to whether a licence will be granted or not.