Apply for a licence to hire out horses for riding

You need a riding establishment licence if your business provides horses for riding, like riding schools or donkey rides.

Who needs a riding establishment licence

You need a licence if you run stables which hire out horses or ponies for riding or instruction.

This includes:

  • riding schools
  • trekking
  • loan horses
  • pony parties where people ride on the ponies
  • hunter hirelings
  • polo or polocrosse instruction
  • pony hire
  • pony or donkey rides

You do not need a licence if you:

  • own a livery stables
  • run pony parties where none of the ponies are ever ridden - if you run pony parties, you'll need a licence to keep an animal for entertainment or education
  • occasionally lend your horse, even if you charge a small fee, where there is no profit made and no intent to make a profit

Find more information in the government's guidance on animal activities.

How to apply

Find out how much your animal business licence will cost.

Download the application form and send it to:

Animal Wardens
Brighton & Hove City Council
2nd Floor Bartholomew House
Bartholomew Square

You also need to download and complete the animal activity licensing privacy notice, and send it to us with your application form.

Vet inspection

We will get a qualified veterinary practitioner, relevant to the licensable activity, to come with the officer during an inspection. As the applicant, you will be responsible for the cost of this.

For more information, you can send an email to or phone 01273 294 266.