Hiring out Horses


On 1st October 2018 The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 come into force.

These regulations will replace a number of existing pieces of legislation set to be repealed at the end of 2018 and will provide a new single licensing regime for a number of animal licensing activities.

The following activities will need to be licensed under the new regime:

  • providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs (including home boarding and day care)
  • selling animals as pets
  • hiring out horses
  • breeding dogs
  • keeping or training animals for exhibition

The new Regulations will set nationally applicable conditions that licence holders must comply with. A ratings system will be introduced whereby licence holders will be given a rating dependant on specified criteria. Current licence holders are advised to review their compliance with the new conditions. 

Fees will be determined by the authority. 

The new legislation will not affect you if you currently have either of the following licences:

Zoo Licences (under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981)

Dangerous Wild Animal Licences (under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976).

The new legislation will affect you if you currently have any of the following types of licence:

  • Animal Boarding Establishment Licence (under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963)
  • Dog Breeding Licence (under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & 1991; Breeding & Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999)
  • Riding Establishment Licence (under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 & 1970)
  • Pet Shop Licence (under the Pet Animals Act 1951) 
  • keeping or training of animals for exhibition (under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925)

Businesses operating under any of the above existing licences will be able to continue to trade until the expiry date of their current licence. All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation. 

The new licence will be known as an 'Animal Activity Licence' and will include nationally set licence conditions for businesses providing animal related services.

Information and paperwork regarding the new licence application process will be sent to existing licensed businesses prior to the expiry of the current licence. 

In the case of holders of registration under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925, the current registration will expire on 31 March 2019.

The Regulations can be found by visiting The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (external link)

Existing licence holders who wish to renew a licence will need to apply for a licence under the new legislation 10 weeks before the existing licence is due to expire. (We will be sending out initial renewal reminders to all existing businesses on 1 October 2018). 

Once the application has been received, the information provided will be examined and then arrangements will be made to visit the premises to carry out an inspection by the Licensing Officers and the Council’s veterinary consultant if appropriate. All businesses engaged in providing animal related services will need to comply with the new licence conditions. The new legislation will also require that an assessment will be undertaken, of any premises providing animal related services for financial gain, before a licence is granted.

New Animal Activity Licence conditions

Guidance on the new licence conditions is available in the following documents:

Commercial Dog Boarding - Kennels

Commercial Cat Boarding - Catteries

Commercial Home Boarding

Commercial Dog Day-care

Commercial Pet Vending

Commercial Dog Breeding

Animal Exhibits

It is important that Licence holders understand the Guidance relevant to their business.

What happens next?

On 1 October 2018 we will be writing to all businesses who currently hold an animal activities licence who may be affected by the changes, to explain what the changes mean to them, how to apply and what will be involved in terms of the application process and inspections under the new legislation, ready for the expiry of their existing licence.

All riding schools must get licence from us. This includes any business where horses are kept either for being let out on hire for riding or for the instruction of riding for payment, or for both.

 For more information about the Riding Establishments Act 1964 and 1970 please view the National Archives website.

More Information

To apply for a licence to Hire Out Horses or to renew your current licence you are must use our online form.

In order for you to be able to apply online you will need to create a MySouthend account. Our new online process makes applying and renewing licences for Hiring Out Horses quicker and easier. As part of the ongoing modernisation of our licensing service, you can now create an online account. This means that you can apply for or renew, vary or transfer an existing licence and track its progress during the application process.

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