Apply for a riding school licence



You need a licence to run a riding establishment in Waltham Forest. A riding establishment is where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction.

If you have concerns about animal welfare or behaviour, or you want to make an enquiry about animal licensing please use our animal advice or licensing enquiry form.


Applicants must be over 18 years old. Applicants must have not been disqualified from:

  • keeping a riding establishment
  • keeping a pet shop, under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • having custody of animals, under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • keeping boarding establishments for animals, under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • keeping or owning animals, being able to influence how animals are kept, dealing animals or transporting or being involved in the transporting of animals, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006

Evaluation criteria and licence conditions

To consider an application, we need a report from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner detailing:

  • whether the premises are suitable for a riding establishment
  • the conditions of the premises and any horses

We also need to consider if the applicant is suitable and qualified to hold a licence. We must be satisfied that:

  • consideration will be given to the condition of the horses - they will be kept in good health, physically fit and, where the horse is to be ridden or used during riding instruction, be suitable for that purpose
  • the animals' feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes are fitted properly and are in good condition
  • there will be suitable accommodation for the horses
  • for horses kept on grass, there is suitable pasture, shelter and water, and that supplementary feed will be provided as and when needed
  • horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding materials and will be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
  • precautions will be taken to reduce the spread of contagious or infectious diseases and that veterinary first aid equipment and medicines will be provided and maintained
  • appropriate procedures are in place to protect and remove the horses in the case of a fire - and the name, address and telephone number of the licence holder is displayed outside the premises and fire instructions are displayed
  • storage facilities for forage, bedding, stable equipment and saddlery are provided

In addition to any other conditions, a riding establishment licence must be subject to the following conditions:

  • any horse inspected by an authorised officer and found to need veterinary attention will not be returned to work until the licence holder has obtained a veterinary certificate confirming the horse is fit for work
  • a horse will not be let out for hire or for use in instruction without the supervision of a responsible person aged 16 years or older, unless the licence holder is satisfied the rider doesn't require supervision
  • the business will not be left in the charge of someone under 16 years of age
  • the licence holder holds indemnity insurance
  • the licence holder keeps a register of all horses in their possession that are three years old or younger and that the register is available for inspection at all reasonable times

We will need to inspect the premises before we grant a licence.

See summary of the regulation relating to this licence on the Office of Public Sector Information website.

Fees and how to apply Click to get info

To apply

Riding establishment licences are issued by us.

Please email at: Please include your name, address and other contact details.

An officer will contact you to explain the application process. 


Fees are based on your licence requirements. Our officer will be able to advise you. 

Will tacit consent apply? Click to get info

No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within 28 working days, email us at: or call 020 8496 3000.

If your application fails Click to get info

Please contact us.

If your application is refused, you can appeal to your local Magistrates' Court.

Consumer complaints Click to get info

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint, you contact the trader by letter with proof of delivery.

If that hasn't worked, GOV.UK gives advice on consumer rights within the UK. If you're from outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

For complaints relating to another aspect of the operation such as noise, pollution or public health, please contact us.

If you don't have access to a computer, you can visit a Library Plus branch where you can use a self-service pc to log your request/report.  Staff are available to support you if you need it.​​​​​​​

Contact Click to get info

Dog Team

Phone: 020 8496 3000 (please ask for the Dog Team)