Important Changes to Riding Establishment Licensing Effective from 1st October 2018

Important Changes to Riding Establishment Licensing Effective from 1st October 2018

As from the 1 October 2018 the way in which Riding Establishment Licences are assessed and granted changed. Following a new set of legislative regulations and guidance notes. Following a public consultation in 2016 by DEFRA the Animals Act was reviewed and all the legislation regarding the licensing of animal-based establishments was subsequently changed.

All REL’s that were granted prior to the 1st October 2018 will remain in force until they are due for review or renewal and then they will be assessed on the new criteria. The APSPH was integral to the decision-making process alongside all other sector groups who worked with DEFRA to make sure that the new guidelines and assessment is within our industry standards and capabilities.

We will continue to work with DEFRA and other key stakeholders to make sure that the polo community is considered in all relevant REL reviews and amendments.

The next review for these legislative changes will be five years from implementation. During this five year period it will be compulsory for Local District Councils to provide specific data to DEFRA. We recommend that in preparation for the changes you review the documents that have been published.

Follow this link to read the guidance notes for the conditions for hiring out horses (Riding Establishment Licence conditions expected for equine establishments): CLICK HERE

To read the guidance notes for local authorities (these form the check list for them during inspections, it will help you understand what they will be looking for and how they will rate your establishment as well as explain the new procedures): CLICK HERE

To read the full set of regulations follow this link: CLICK HERE

For a copy of the Animal Welfare Act follow this link: CLICK HERE

We are here to help and de-mystify the whole process for you all. We are here to make sure it isn’t as imposing as you might think and that these changes are a positive step for Riding Establishment Licensing. Contact us if you have any questions, but check your emails regularly we will be sending out helpful information.

“The HPA wholeheartedly support The Association of Polo Schools and Pony Hirers as a vital step in encouraging the growth of polo in the UK and delivering a consistent and safe environment”- The Hurlingham Polo Association.

Do I need a Riding Establishment Licence?

Do I need a Riding Establishment Licence?

In order to provide lessons on your own horses or hire out horses for payment or remuneration, a licence is required under the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970. Licences are issued by your local authority following a satisfactory vets inspection and payment for the licence is completed.

The local authority may choose to impose additional conditions before issuing a licence and in some cases they may only offer a provisional licence until certain conditions are met. All authorities will differ as to what they will require so please check with your authority as to what they will require. This find your local council directory is a good place to start if you are unsure who to contact. 

What must I have before applying?

You can make your application at any time but you will not receive your licence until you have provided documentary proof of the following:
  • A valid insurance policy. Public liability to £5 million and employers liability to £10 million.
  • A copy of a valid up to date First Aid Certificate for the persons in direct contact with employees and clients.
  • A copy of relevant qualifications, which in this case would be an HPA coaching certificate.
  • Valid Pony Passports stamped by an issuing passport authority.

How do I apply?

Application for your licence should be made to you local authority. This is usually the district council for your area. It is advisable that you contact the Licensing Department of your local authority to check that your establishment falls within their boundaries. Quite often the local authority boundaries are not clear and an application to the wrong one will not be noticed straight away
  • When you contact them make sure you give them the full address and postcode so that they can check which local authority you need to apply to
  • Applications can usually be found on your local authority website, some of them can be filled out online and others you can download and post with payment
  • Each local authorities application will differ in layout and information requested but the basics are all the same
  • Payment rates will also differ. Some local authorities will have set fee’s and other will ask for payments which are rated on the number of equines you are intending to licence
  • There may also be different rates depending on whether you are applying for a new licence with that local authority or a renewal licence
  • The applications usually ask for evidence of an Insurance Policy, a First Aid Certificate and a relevant qualification for the nature of your establishment

What happens next?

Following your application submittal to your local authority they will contact you with details regarding your inspection date and who will be conducting the inspection.
  • Each local authority is different and who they send will depend on their resources. Some will send a representative from the council and a vet and others will only send a vet
  • Some local authorities that only send a vet may ask you to confirm the date and time directly with the vet
  • In some cases they will send you detailed information about what to expect and what will be needed in order to conduct the inspection

What paperwork will they ask for?

In addition to your insurance policy they will expect you to have a relevant up to date and reviewed Risk Assessment for all locations and activities used by your business and employees.

  • You will also need a separate risk assessment for all your horses (listing details about them and their suitability for riders and any handling issues with them for your members of staff)
  • They will want to see all aspects of your record keeping and that you have policies and procedures for Fire, First Aid, Risk Assessments, Health and Safety, Accident Reporting Procedures, RIDDOR and Training Schedules
  • They will want to see that you keep a record or shoeing and worming schedules for all horses in your care
  • They will ask to see all passports and vaccination records for all horses that are in your care specifically ones listed on your licence
  • They will want to see a copy of your disclaimer and rider information form that you ask your clients to complete

Public and staff notices

In a prominent place on your yard or in your office where staff and members of the public are able to see you must post the following notices:

  • Proprietor’s notice (a sign with the name and contact details of the owner of the establishment as named on the insurance policy and REL Licence)
  • List of important telephone numbers including the owner, yard manager, vet, farrier etc.
  • List of First Aiders names and locations of first aid kits and what to do in a first aid emergency
  • Fire evacuation procedure and location of fire equipment
  • A copy of the insurance policy
  • A copy of the Health and Safety Executive’s laws listing the health and safety representatives
  • A copy of the yard rules and regulations
  • If some of your employees first language isn’t English then it is advisable to make sure your signs are also in their Language

Further information can be found on our downloadable How-To-Guide or contact your local authority.