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Riding Establishment

You must have a licence to operate an establishment where horses are kept for hire. This applies to riding schools, equestrian centres and trekking centres, but does not, at present, apply to livery stables.

'Horse' includes any mare, gelding, pony, foal, colt, filly or stallion and also any ass, mule or jennet.

Apply for a licence

Applicants must bee over the age of 18 years old. 

We will arrange for a vet to inspect your premises before we issue a licence. 

The cost of a licence is £235 plus vet inspection fees and lasts for one year.

Please complete and print the form and return with your documents to:

  • Dover District Council, White Cliffs Business Park, Dover CT16 3PJ

Your licence must be renewed 6 weeks before your existing licence expires. This is to allow for the vet inspection and report to be considered before we issue the licence.

Tacit Consent does not apply

Tacit consent is when you can act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period.

We aim to have your application determined within 14 days of receipt of a valid and complete renewal application. However if we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not automatically be granted due to public safety and animal welfare implications. Therefore tacit consent does not apply to riding establishment licences. 

This means that you must wait for us to determine the application before any further riding activities can take place.

Provisional Licences

We are able to give a provisional licence where considerable improvements to the premises are required before a full licence can be awarded. A second provisional licence can be given for a further three months but no more than 2 may be granted in any 12 months.

On the death of a licence holder the licence passes to his personal representative for a period of 3 months and then expires.

Planning Permission

New applicants should also consider whether they need planning permission for example to change the use of the premises to a riding centre or to erect any new stables or buildings on the site being used for the business. See planning applications.


Public liability insurance will be required. Visiting owners may be required to insure their own horse, tack and transport. Where an establishment is offering lessons on clients own horses it is advisable that they are insured to do so, either with their own insurers or through the British Horses Society's Register of Instructors.

Health & Safety

Relevant regulations to any equestrian enterprise include the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974), Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) (1995), as well as regulations regarding workplace health, safety and welfare. A fire certificate may also be required.

Useful links

Contact the Licensing Section


Telephone: 01304 872295

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