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Guidance on the inspection

Under the Acts, the Inspector is required to inspect the horses and the premises to assess the operation of the riding establishment as a whole. They will advise the local authority on the type of equine activities carried out by the establishment and the standard to which they are performed. This can vary from teaching people to ride in confined areas, to the hiring of horses for riding with or without supervision, and also includes beach donkeys, trekking centres and orienteering.

The inspector should visit the riding establishment at a reasonable time when all the horses are likely to be at the stables, having previously made an appointment convenient for all parties.

Full guidance documents, template forms and inspection forms can be found under 'Useful documents' on the RCVS website.

All the Defra guidance documents for animal activities licensing in England can be found on the .GOV.UK website.

Animal activities licensing: guidance for local authorities


  • The intention of the legislation is to look after the equine welfare and that must be the paramount objective of the Inspector. However, during the inspection the Inspector is a Local Authority official.
  • The Inspector must provide the local authority with a completed inspection report, further information to the report should be provided in a covering letter.
  • If the Inspector has any doubts about what action to take in any particular situation, he/she should contact for advice the Chair of the RCVS Riding Establishments Committee through the RCVS on 020 7202 0763 or via email to the Riding Establishments secretariat Stephanie Bruce-Smith: [email protected]