Hiring Out Horses


The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 ("the regulations") came into force on 1 October 2018 and covers the hiring out horses.

What is "hiring out horses"?

The legislation defines it as 'in a course of a business for either, or both, riding and instruction in riding'.

To determine if you are a business, you will need to consider the 'business test'.

Applying the business test

A business is defined in the legislation as an operator who:

  1. Makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  2. Earns any commission or fee from the activity

The Government announced in the Budget Review of 2016 a new allowance of £1,000 for trading income from April 2017. Anyone falling under this threshold would not need to be considered on the context of determining whether they are a business.

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) states that these conditions are not the exclusive factors to be considered but are examples and other factors, such as those listed in thenine badges of trade set out by the HMRC are also relevant. The guidance assists inspectors but ultimately there is an element of judgement in deciding upon the business test.

Please also read the considerations for the business test below. If you are not sure if you are classed as a business, please email the Licensing Team with the details of your business and we can help determine this.

When do you require a licence?

The listed activities require a licence:

  • Businesses which hire out horses for riding or for riding lessons. This includes riding schools and those that hire out horses, trekking, loan horses, pony parties (but only where the ponies are ridden), hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction and pony hire, pony and donkey rides.

When do you not require a licence?

The listed activities do not require a licence:

  • Businesses that run pony parties where none of the ponies are ever ridden - these should be licensed as animal exhibits.
  • Activities that are carried out solely for military or police purposes (e.g. riding stables that are used exclusively for these purposes).
  • Riding stables that are used exclusively for instructing veterinary students at university for the purpose of their course.
  • Individuals who occasionally lend a horse, even if a small fee is charged, where there is no profit made and no intent to make a profit.

Make an application

The fee for this application can be found onthe animal welfare fees page. We will contact you to take payment once we have received a fully completed application.

Please Note: Only pay the application fee associated with the type of Licence you are applying for first. The Compliance fees are paid after the application is determined.

Before completing the form make sure you have all the supporting documentation ready - applications without all supporting documents will not be accepted

  • Plan of the premises
  • Insurance Policy
  • Written operating procedures to include emergency plan, staff training policy
  • Risk assessments (including fire)
  • Management of the following - feeding, cleaning, transportation, disease control, health and welfare, death or escape
  • Staff qualifications
  • Staff Training/experience records

Apply online for a Hiring out Horses licence (new or renewal)

If you don't wish to apply online you can complete and submit theHiring out Horses licence application form and above documents by email or post.

Please contact the Licensing Team if you have any questions with the application form

Legislation and Guidance

Please refer to thelegislation and relevant guidance (PDF) [496KB] (opens new window)  when you make your application.

Check for a licence and rating

When choosing an establishment, ensure you choose a licensed establishment. From 1 October 2018, all new animal welfare licence holders must clearly display their licence on their premises and display their name and licence number on any website they use. Please note that current licence holders are not required to display the licence number on their websites until their new licence starts.

The new licence also contains a star rating which the business has achieved. We recommend displaying the star rating on any website, but this is not a legal requirement.

If a licence number is not displayed you can check if they are licensed by sending the name and address of the establishment to Licensing Team.

Raise a concern

If you have any concerns about premises in Breckland, please email Licensing Team with details of the premises or if urgent call 01362 656870. Clearly state your concerns and your reason for them. All matters of concern will be investigated and complaints are kept confidential.

Last updated: 06/05/2022 14:02:33