Do I need to apply for a licence with the City of Newcastle upon Tyne?

Stables that hire out horses or ponies for riding or tuition in the City of Newcastle upon Tyne must obtain a licence from the City Council, granted in accordance with the Riding Establishments Acts of 1964 and 1970.

The applicant

Applicants, if individuals, must over the age of 18 or be a body corporate.

Applicants must not have been previously disqualified under the:

a) Riding Establishments Act 1964, from keeping a riding establishment;

b) Pet Animals Act 1951, from keeping a pet shop;

c) Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954, from having the custody of animals;

d) Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, from keeping a boarding establishment for animals;

e) Animal Welfare Act 2006, Section 34(2), (3) or (4).

The application process

To apply for a Riding Establishment Licence, applicants must complete and submit an application form.

Additionally, the licence holder must produce a current insurance policy. The policy should insure against liability for any injury sustained by persons hiring a horse for riding, or those paying to use a horse for instruction and arising from the hire or use of the horse. The policy should also insure those persons in respect of any liability which may be incurred by them in respect of injury to any person caused by, or arising out of, the hire or use of a horse.

The Applicant should arrange for an authorised Veterinary Surgeon/practitioner to undertake an inspection of his/her establishment and produce a written report which the Council will then use in the determination of your application.

The veterinary inspection should normally take place shortly after the application has been made. The only exemption to this inspection may be where an authorised veterinary surgeon/practitioner has inspected the horses/premises in the 12 months immediately preceding the date that the application is made.

In determining an application for a Riding Establishment Licence, the City of Newcastle upon Tyne will have regard to whether:

  • the applicant is suitable and qualified either in qualifications or experience, or the applicants employs in the management of the establishment a person so qualified;
  • the horses are in good condition and maintained in good health and fitness;
  • horses kept for the purpose of it being let out on hire for riding or kept  for providing instruction in riding, are suitable for this purpose;
  • horses feet are properly trimmed and that, if shod, their shoes are properly fitted and in good condition;
  • suitable accommodation is available at all times, with regards to the construction, size, and number of occupants, lighting, ventilation, cleanliness, and drainage;
  • horses will be adequately supplied with food, drink and bedding materials and will be regularly exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals;
  • horses kept at grass have adequate pasture, shelter and water and that supplementary feeds will be provided when required;
  • all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent/control the spread of infectious or contagious diseases;
  • veterinary first aid equipment and medicine are provided and maintained on the premises;
  • appropriate steps will be taken to protect the animals in the event of a fire or other emergency;
  • a notice is displayed in a prominent position on the outside of the premises showing the name, address and telephone number of the licence holder or some other reasonable person, alongside instructions as to action to be taken in the event of fire and with regard evacuation of horses;
  • adequate accommodation is provided for feed, bedding and stable equipment and saddlery.

Note: You will need to consider arrangements for the disposal of waste.

Planning requirements

Your application for a licence will need to consider whether planning permission is required for the proposed licensed activity. You should contact the Planning Authority via or phone 0191 2115654 to discuss whether permission will be needed. Your application for a licence will not be processed until the planning issue has been resolved.

How long does the licence last?

A licence according to the applicants requirements relate to the year in which it is granted or to the next following year, in the former case, the licence shall come into force at the beginning of the day on which it is granted, and in the latter case it shall come into force at the beginning of the next following year.

A licence shall remain in force for one year, beginning on the day on which it is granted and shall then expire. Licence holders will receive a written reminder from the City of Newcastle upon Tyne three months prior to the expiry of their licence.

When should I apply?

Applicants are advised to apply at least 10 weeks in advance of their intended operation date or expiry of their licence. For holders of Riding Establishments Licences, please note that a licence cannot be renewed after it has been expired, and therefore licences can not be backdated where the Council has been unable to determine an application. Licence holders may be subject to enforcement action if operating for a period without a licence, and are reminded that if they do not have a licence in force, this may affect their insurance policy.

In the event of death of a person who is keeping a riding establishment at any premises, that licence shall be deemed to have been granted to his personal representatives in respect of those premises and shall remain in force until the end of the three months, beginning with the death and shall then expire. Provided that the local authority by whom the licence was granted may from time to time on application of those representatives, extend or further extend the said period of 3 months if the authority is satisfied that the extension is necessary for the purpose of winding up the deceased's estate and that no other circumstances make it undesirable.

What conditions will be attached to a licence?

Conditions typically applied to a Riding Establishment Licence are as set out within the application form.

Records required to be kept

A register shall be kept by the licence holder of all horses in his possession aged three years and under and usually kept on the premises which shall be available for inspection by an authorised officer at all reasonable times.

The register must be available for inspection by an officer of the Local Authority or veterinary surgeon/practitioner, authorised under the Act.

Offences and penalties

The following offences and penalties apply to riding establishments:

  • Any person who is found guilty of wilfully obstructing or delaying any person in the exercise of his powers of entry or inspection shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 (currently £500).

Any person who is found guilty of the following shall be guilty of an offence under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 and shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 3 (currently £1000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both:

  • at a time when a horse is in such a condition that its riding would be likely to cause suffering to the horse, lets out the horse on hire or uses it for the purpose of providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding or for the purpose of demonstrating riding;
  • lets out on hire for riding or uses for the purpose of providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding or for the purpose of demonstrating riding any horse aged three years or under or any mare heavy with foal or any mare within three months after foaling;
  • supplies for a horse which is let out on hire by him for riding equipment which is used in the course of the hiring and suffers, at the time when it is supplied, from a defect of such a nature as to be apparent on inspection and as to be likely to cause suffering to the horse or an accident to the rider;
  • fails to provide such curative care as may be suitable, if any, for a sick or injured horse which is kept by him with a view to its being let out on hire or used for providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding or for the purpose of demonstrating riding;
  • in keeping a riding establishment knowingly permits any person, who is for the time being disqualified under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 from keeping a riding establishment, to have control or management of the keeping of the establishment; or
  • with intent to avoid inspection, conceals, or causes to be concealed, any horse maintained by the riding establishment.

Where a person is convicted of any offence under the:

a) Riding Establishments Act 1964;

b) Protection of Animals Act 1991;

c) Pet Animals Act 1951;

d) Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963;

e) Animal Welfare Act 2006, Sections 4,5,6(1), and (2), 7 to 9, and 11;

The court by which he is convicted may cancel any licence held by him under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 and may, whether or not he is the holder of such a licence, disqualify him from keeping a riding establishment for such period as the court thinks fit.

Rights of entry

Authorised officers of the Council and/or authorised Veterinary Surgeons/practitioners may enter and inspect a riding establishment premises at any reasonable time.

How long will it take to process my application?

Upon receipt of your application, an authorised Veterinary Surgeon/practitioner will be contacted and advised of the application. Contact to arrange the inspection will then be made.

The Council will endeavour to issue a licence within a period of 28 days, however if we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted due to animal welfare implications.

How to apply

Please complete and submit a Riding Establishment Licence application form below.

Any application made to us for a licence must be made by the individual(s) or body corporate who/which to operate the Riding Establishment:

(a) Specify the species and number of animals to be kept;

(b) Specify the premises where the animals will normally be kept;

(c) Be made to us for those premises;

(d) Be made by a person 18 years of age or over and not disqualified from holding a licence under the act; and

(e) Be accompanied by a fee stipulated by us at a level sufficient to meet the direct and indirect costs involved.

Applications not complying with these requirements may not be granted.

The licence will be issued subject to compliance with the licence conditions and payment of the licence fee.

There is an application fee payable upon application and subject to annual renewal. However, should we require the expertise of an animal specialist this may incur further costs at your expense before a Licence is issued.

Current Licence Fees


Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates Courts who may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper.


If you want to make a complaint about any riding establishment, please contact us.

If you feel we have failed to provide you with good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please telephone the Trading Standards service. The Trading Standards service will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have.

The Council also has a formal complaints procedure.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes owners and keepers responsible for the welfare needs of their animals are met. These responsibilities include the following criteria:

  • Suitable environment (place to live);
  • Suitable diet;
  • To exhibit normal behaviour patterns;
  • To be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable);
  • To be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

Disclosure Barring Service requirements

An enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check is required every year for each employee or volunteer.

Will Tacit Consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it using the contact details below.

Your rights of appeal

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which the licence is subject, may appeal to the Magistrates Court and the Courts may give such direction regarding the licence and its conditions as it thinks proper.


Maximum penalties may be a fine to level 5 on the standard scale.

These penalties are in addition to the penalties under Disqualifications, Cancellations and the Seizure of the Animals.

Disease control

For the latest information on the risks presented by animal diseases and specifically Equine Infectious Anaemia and also Contagious Equine Metritis, view the Equine Infectious Anaemia and Contagious Equine Metritis information on the Defra website.

Useful links

Guidance on conditions of riding establishment licences is issued by the British Veterinary Association

Copies of the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970 and other legislation mentioned on this page can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationary Office.

Copies of the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970 can be viewed at the Trading Standards Service, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH, where you may also obtain an application form and further help or advice.

Current licences

1. Kenton Riding School, Kenton Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 3EB
2. Black Row Farm, Drove Road, Throckley, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 9QT
3. Stepney Bank Stables, Stepney Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2NP

Trade associations

Government Review

To see a publication highlighting the current review being undertaken by Government into animal licensing go to Report (pdf 223 kb)

Copies of the legislation mentioned on this page can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office or can be accessed at OPSI.

Please note: This information has no legal force and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law, which is a matter for the Courts. It is intended to help businesses to understand in general terms, the main features of the legislation. The information is not a substitute for the legislation and you should refer to the text of the legislation for a full statement of legal requirements and obligations. Where appropriate, you should seek your own independent legal advice.

Contact details

For further information, please contact: Trading Standards Service, Public Safety, Regulation & Development, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.

Email: or by phone: 0191 2116121

Page last updated: 
25 May 2018
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