Apply for or renew a licence to hire out horses

Use this service to apply for a licence if horses or ponies are:

  • hired out for riding
  • used for riding instruction

Licences are valid for between 1 and 3 years depending on the star rating.

Before you apply, you may need to check if planning permission is required to carry out the specific activity.

Who cannot apply

You cannot apply for a licence if you:


Number of horses to hire Fee
Fewer than 10 horses £597
10 to 19 horses £761
20 or more horses £901
40 or more horses £1,164

Vet fees are also payable for all applications, renewals and annual vet inspections.

Apply for or renew a licence

Before you apply, read our Animal Licensing Policy.

You must be 18 or over to apply.

You'll need to complete an application form and email or post it to us, along with your:

  • a premises plan
  • your insurance policy
  • details of operating procedures
  • a fire risk assessment and emergency plan
  • a preventative healthcare plan
  • your qualifications
  • your training records
  • a list of horses to be included on your licence, including passport and microchip number
  • a clear copy of the full front and back of your Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate (this must be no more than two months old at the time you apply)

We'll contact you to request payment for the licence after we receive your application.

Download and complete the Hiring Out Horses Application PDF, 885KB.

Send the completed application form and other requirements by email or post to:

[email protected]

Buckinghamshire Council
The Gateway
Gatehouse Road
HP19 8FF

Pay the fee

Do not send cash or cheques. We'll contact you for payment when we have verified your application.

Renewing your licence

You should renew your licence at least 10 weeks before your current licence expires.

If we do not receive your application within this time, it may be delayed and you may need to stop trading until it’s approved.

If your licence is approved

You’ll need to display your licence in a public-facing area of the premises, such as the entrance or reception area.

You’ll also need to show the name of the licence holder and the number of the licence holder’s licence on any website used in respect of the licensable activity.

Premises inspections and star ratings

We will inspect your premises before the licence is granted. You’ll need to be able to show that you have:

  • a specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare
  • comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to the activities you want to carry out
  • an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly
  • training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, a system of annual staff appraisals and ongoing knowledge development for all staff, including yourself
  • suitable accommodation for the animals as set out in statutory guidance

Based on the application, and the information given to us at the inspection, we’ll assess the risk rating and award stars using the animal activity star rating system.

Challenging your star rating

If you want to challenge the star rating awarded, you should contact the inspecting officer to discuss the matter. If they do not revise their decision, you can appeal in writing.

You have 21 days to make your challenge following the issue of the licence.

If you disagree with the outcome of the appeal, you can challenge the decision through a judicial review.

Requesting a reinspection

If you feel that your star rating should be reviewed, and have made improvements or changes, you can apply for a reinspection in writing by showing:

  • what changes you've made
  • evidence of the changes

Find out about reinspection requests during the term of a licence on GOV.UK.

If your application is refused

You can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal if we refuse to grant or renew a licence.

You must make your appeal within 28 days of the day following the date of the decision.

Make a change to your licence

You'll need to apply to vary your licence if you want to:

  • increase the number of horses on your licence
  • add a different horse (you must provide evidence showing that the horse has been checked by a vet)
  • move to a new premises

Contact [email protected] for advice.

Statutory guidance

Contact the animal licensing team