Hiring out horses
Hiring out of horses is licensable for either or both of the following purposes:
- Instruction in riding
This includes businesses which hire out horses for riding or for riding lessons, this includes riding schools and those that hire out horses, trekking, loan horses, pony parties (but only where the ponies are ridden), hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction and pony hire, pony and donkey rides.
If you wish to hire out horses “in the course of a business” within the Hastings Borough you will need a licence from us. The licence will specify the number of animals which may be used in relation to the licensable activity; general and specific conditions will be attached to the licence.
Hiring out of horses is licensed under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.
In order to apply for a licence you must not have been disqualified from doing so under any legislation relating to animal welfare. You must also have not had a licence revoked under any legislation relating to animal welfare. For more information please read the Animal Welfare Act Regulations 2018 Eligibility Criteria.
DEFRA have produced Guidance notes for hiring out horses. If you are unsure if you need a licence or not, you should pay particular interest to the Introduction section, which includes advice about the business test and ‘in scope’ and ‘out of scope’ licensing criteria.
The new guidance is subject to change and DEFRA are issuing change logs as changes occur. It is therefore really important that you read the guidance notes below:
You must be able to meet and maintain a number of conditions. The conditions are available to download. You must read these thoroughly before applying to make sure your business can comply:
Do I need planning permission?
We strongly recommend that you contact our Planning team by email email@example.com and check whether the licensable activity at the premises needs planning permission or not.
Application process and fee
The fee for this licence can be found on our Licensing fees page plus any actual vet costs if a veterinary inspection is required. The costs for this veterinary inspection are payable by the applicant/licence holder. This applies to veterinary inspections required during the application process and during the licence period.
A separate application (plus application fee) is required for each additional licensable activity.
How to apply
If you have read the guidance notes and the conditions available in the Eligibility Criteria section and feel that you can meet the required standards, then you can begin the application process.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application form.
How to pay
- pay with a debit/credit card over the phone once you have posted or emailed your forms to us. Call 01424 451042
- pay with a debit/credit card at our main reception, Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place, Hastings. TN34 3UY
- pay by cheque, attach it to your application and post it to our office at Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place, Hastings, TN34 3UY.
Once we receive your application we will send you an acknowledgement and you will be contacted to arrange an appointment for inspection in due course.
Inspections and Star Ratings
An inspection will be carried out before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:
- Specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animals’ mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment. The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role.
- Comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.
- An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine.
- Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.
- The premises itself will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the conditions relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.
Based on the information provided and the inspection, we will assess the risk rating and award a star rating. This will determine the length of the licence period. Low-risk businesses can attain up to five stars, and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues, and ask for a re-inspection (fees apply).
Full details of the star rating system procedure can be found in the Procedural Guidance for Animal Activity Licensing (.pdf).
Premises with lower star ratings
Existing businesses may be awarded a lower score if there are a number of minor failings but these cannot compromise the welfare of the animals. If animal welfare is being compromised then a licence will not be granted or renewed and licences already in place will be revoked or suspended. New businesses will be assessed as slightly higher risk because obviously there is no history of good practice that can be considered.
If you wish to dispute your star rating you should discuss this informally first with the inspecting officer. If you are not satisfied then please complete a Star Rating Appeals Form (pdf) and return it to us at the address below.
Requests for re-grading
The fees for requests for re-grading can be found in the table above
You will need to complete a Star Rating Request for Re-grading Form (pdf) and return it to us at the address below. You can make your payment by visiting our Make a Payment page.
Tacit Consent does not apply to hiring out horses.
It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, Please email email@example.com.
Failed application redress
Please email our licensing team in the first instance.
Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal.
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 Gov.uk can offer advice on Consumer Rights.
Hiring out horses