Hiring out horses licence

Hiring out horses licence

Licence summary 

You'll need a licence if you operate a business where horses or ponies are:

  • hired out for riding
  • used for riding instruction

We may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

Hiring out horses licence guidance (pdf, 462KB) (opens new window)

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation for this licence

Eligibility criteria

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  1. a person listed as a disqualified person in paragraph 4 or any of paragraphs 6 to 17 of Schedule 8 (see legislation above) where the time limit for any appeal has expired or where the appeal was refused
  2. any person listed in any of paragraphs 1 to 3 and 5 of Schedule 8 (see legislation above) as having held a licence which was revoked where the time limit for any appeal against that revocation has expired or the appeal was refused

Apply for a licence

Applications can only be made by individuals.

The application fee is £75.

The application form is a PDF that you'll need to save before you can edit.

Apply for a licence to operate a riding establishment (GOV.UK)

We'll respond to you within 5 working days to talk to you about your proposal and paying the fee.

For more information, email

Star rating

Licences will be granted for either 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the star rating awarded after inspection.

We'll carry out a risk rating based on:

  • if you've hired out horses before 
  • your knowledge of the animals in your care
  • if you meet the criteria set out in the legislation
  • your ability to demonstrate your practices and staff training

The inspector will look at the animals and their environment and refer to the licence guidance. The overall score will determine the star rating and the length of licence.


Low risk

  • Minor failings: 1 star (1 year licence)
  • Minimum standards: 3 star (2 year licence)
  • Higher standards: 5 star (3 year licence)

Higher risk

  • Minor failings: 1 star (1 year licence)
  • Minimum standards: 2 star (1 year licence)
  • Higher standards: 4 star (2 year licence)

If you don't agree with your star rating

You can submit a written appeal within 21 days of the rating being issued to the licensing authority and request a re-inspection.

You'll have to pay for any re-inspection. Businesses disputing their star rating are encouraged to discuss this informally with the inspecting officer first so that there is an opportunity to help explain to the business how the rating was worked out.

Premises with lower star ratings

Premises with a lower star rating aren't necessarily a premises to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. 

Report the unlicensed hiring of horses

If you have information relating to the unlicensed hiring of horses, please contact us on 0117 9222500 (option 2).

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you , preferably by letter (with proof of delivery).

If that's not worked:

Premises currently licensed under the legislation (pdf, 64KB) (opens new window)

Contact information

Trading Standards (100TS)

PO Box 3399

Bristol, BS1 9NE

Opening Hours

Our normal opening hours are:

  • Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm
  • Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm


Tel: 0117 922 2500, option 2