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Riding establishment licence

Apply and pay for a riding establishment licence.

Licence summary

To run a riding establishment (where horses or ponies are hired out for riding or used for riding instruction) in Scotland, you need a licence from the local authority.

Eligibility criteria

In Scotland applicants must not have been disqualified:

  • From keeping a dog under the Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) Act 1933 or Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934
  • From keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • From having custody of animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • From keeping an animal boarding establishment under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • From a disqualification under the Animal Health Act 1981 following a conviction for deliberately infecting an animal with a disease
  • From owing, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals, working with, using, riding or driving animals, providing animal services, taking possession of animals for any of these purposes or taking charge of animals for any other purposes under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

Applicants must pay any required fee and comply with any conditions attached to a licence.

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulations covering this licence can be found at:

Will 'Tacit Consent' apply?

Yes, where the local authority fails to make a decision within six months of receipt of the application, the licence is deemed to be granted or renewed.

What happens if I don't hear from the council within the specified time?

It is in the public interest that East Renfrewshire Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the council within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online here if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Thornliebank depot, Carnwadric Road,
G46 8HR
Telephone 0141 577 3782.

You can do this online here if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details supplied.


A veterinary inspection of all horses and tack will be instructed by East Renfrewshire Council. You will be charged for the costs incurred. In addition a fee of £176.00 is charged for this application. This applies to the licences below.

Apply online

When applying for a licence you will leave this website and will be directed to the Business Gateway website. You are required to register with the Business Gateway website, this should take a few minutes, and you will be emailed your login details. A Help facility is available and is located at the top right of each application page - you can access this facility throughout the course of applying for a licence.

Application evaluation process

Before deciding an application the local authority must consider a report from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner detailing whether the premises are suitable for a riding establishment and detailing the conditions of the premises and any horses. The charges for this will be passed onto the applicant.

East Renfrewshire Council will also take into account whether the applicant is suitable and qualified to hold a licence. They must also be satisfied of the following:

  • That consideration will be given to the condition of the horses and that they will be maintained in good health, kept physically fit and where the horse is to be ridden or used during riding instruction, be suitable for that purpose
  • That the animals feet will be trimmed properly and that shoes are fitted properly and are in good condition
  • That there will be suitable accommodation for the horses
  • That for horses maintained on grass there is suitable pasture, shelter and water and that supplementary feed will be provided as and when needed
  • That horses will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding materials and will be exercised, groomed, rested and visited at suitable intervals
  • That 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
  • That appropriate procedures are in place to protect and remove the horses in the case of a fire and that as part of this the name, address and telephone number of the licence holder is displayed outside the premises and fire instructions are displayed
  • That 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:

  • That 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
  • That 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
  • That the business will not be left in the charge of someone under 16 years of age
  • That the licence holder holds indemnity insurance
  • That 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

Failed application redress

Please contact East Renfrewshire Council Environmental Health Section in the first instance.

An applicant whose application is refused can appeal to the local Sheriff:

Paisley Sheriff Court,
St. James St,

Licence holder redress

Please contact East Renfrewshire Council Environmental Health Section in the first instance.

A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can appeal to a  the local sheriff at:

Paisley Sheriff Court,
St. James St,

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Scotland will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

E.g. about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.

Trade associations

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