Support & Guidance

Sourcing RDA Horses

We’re working to shift the perception that RDA equines are older and less active. In reality, our horses and ponies need to be fit, healthy, and athletic to thrive in an RDA environment. Our equines are diverse, ranging from smaller, energetic ponies to sturdy, weight-carrying cobs. They participate in a variety of disciplines, including Riding, Carriage Driving, Vaulting, Show Jumping, and Endurance.

With this in mind, we are constantly looking for ways to support our groups in finding their horsepower.  Social Media campaigns are also a great way of raising awareness of your equine needs. We also have a Facebook group called RDA Equine, which is a closed group, allowing RDA groups to advertise equines, place wanted adverts and sharing suitable adverts that they may have seen.

Horsequest have also kindly allowed all RDA Groups to place FREE wanted adverts on their website. Your advert needs to be a maximum of one hundred words including contact details. To place your advert please email

If you have a horse that you are looking to re-home into RDA please fill in our Equine Initial Interest Form and return to Doug Smith (RDA Equine Lead) at You can also contact your nearest RDA Group.


Riding School Licences

Many groups within RDA will already hold a Riding School Licence. This is provided by your local authority and is the result of legislation made to protect the welfare of animals involved in commercial business.


According to the GOV website, you require a license if you are business that hires out horses for riding and/or instruction in riding. You are a business if your activities are intended to make a profit, earn commission or result in fees. You are not a business if:

  • You occasionally lend a horse, even if a small fee is charged, where there is no profit or intent to make a profit.
  • Your income from trading is less than £1000 per annum.

Your local authority is responsible for determining whether you fall within the regulations and require a license. If you are not sure whether you need a license you should contact your local authority licensing team for advice in the first instance. It is important to remember that operating without one, if it is deemed that you should have a licence could result in criminal prosecution and may result in your RDA insurance becoming void. For more information, see here: Hiring out horses licensing: statutory guidance for local authorities – GOV.UK (

You apply to your local authority for a licence, the first stage of this will be to fill out an application form. A trained Inspector and a Vet will then visit your group to inspect the premises, equines and your documentation which can include: 

  • Equine care plan.
  • Records for equines workload, showing and any veterinary treatments.
  • Equine passports and microchip details.
  • Public notices on display to fulfil the criteria – insurance documents, emergency procedures, proprietors notice and emergency numbers, yard rules.
  • Accident reporting procedures and records.
  • Rider information and indemnity forms.
  • Safety certificates (PAT testing, fixed wiring, up to date fire equipment, gas safety and any other certificates where appropriate).

The cost of licencing can vary with local authorities. They will be able to advise you when you apply.

Wales and Scotland 

You need to prove that you have suitable qualifications and experience of horse management, and that your horses are:

  • in good health and physically fit
  • suitable to be hired out and used for riding
  • provided with adequate food, drink and bedding
  • regularly exercised
  • safeguarded in an emergency

You also need liability insurance that covers you for any injuries that result from people riding your horses.

You must keep a register of horses aged 3 years or under that are usually kept on your premises, and make it available for inspection.

More information can be found here: Riding establishment licence (Wales and Scotland): contact your council – GOV.UK (

Northern Ireland

If you want to run a riding establishment in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to contact your Divisional Veterinary Office to apply for a licence.

A riding establishment is a business that hires out horses or ponies for riding, or a riding school.

Your licence will need to be renewed every year. The fee and specific conditions will be set by your Divisional Veterinary Office.

You must be over 18 and suitably qualified to apply for a riding establishment licence.

For more information: Riding establishment licence (Northern Ireland) – GOV.UK (


RDA groups can access a discount when joining the Equestrian Employers Association. They have a comprehensive guide to Riding School Licences on their website for all of the UK, plus all the legislation documents relating to this. To join please visit Equestrian Employers Association 




Page Last Updated: July 4, 2024