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Riding Establishments

RCVS/BVA Riding Establishments Inspections

Under the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970, riding establishments are required by law to be licensed by local authorities.

The licence may only be issued or denied by the local authority following an inspection and report by a veterinary surgeon who is a member of the RCVS/BVA Inspectorate.

Environmental Health departments of local authorities have responsibility for enforcing health and safety legislation in the majority of riding establishments. They investigate reportable accidents and undertake health and safety inspections which they may carry out during licensing visits. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers (CIEH) have published comprehensive guidance on relevant legislation, suggested control measures etc intended for use by enforcement officers, proprietors and other interested parties, available free to download from the CIEH site.  

Riding Establishment Inspectors and working donkeys

There could be as many as 1,000 working donkeys in the UK, mostly found around our coastline. Recently, however, more ventures using donkeys for riding other than beach are appearing, such as fairs and children’s parties. Any vet registered as an inspector may be called upon by the local authority to complete the annual inspection of licensed riding establishments in their locality.

Ridden-donkey operations should be inspected with the same care and attention given to horse riding stables and are licensed under the same Riding Establishments Acts of 1964 and 1970.

Donkeys are different from horses, and beach donkey riding is a seasonal business. These and other factors need to be taken into account when planning and performing the inspection.

More information can be found on working donkeys on the Donkey Sanctuary website.

Useful documents

The list of approved riding establishment inspectors is available to download from the 'Related documents' box.

Licensing authorities and their inspectors should use the forms of application and inspection report, available to download from the 'Related documents' box.

Course Information

The riding establishment course runs annually for both veterinary surgeons looking to become a Riding Establishment Inspector and for existing Riding Establishment Inspectors that need to complete their five year refresher training.

The course is one full day with a choice of two locations. The dates and location will be published in the Spring 2017 but are generally held in June or July, with one course being held in the South and one in either Central or Northern England.

If you would like to discuss the course requirements further please email

Contact information

Query type

Contact name

Contact details

Member of the public, course information, existing inspector or local authority

Beth Jinks

T  020 7202 0764


New applicants requiring further information and booking places on the course

Emma Rocha

 020 7202 0780


Postal correspondence

The postal address and fax number for all correspondence is:

Registration Department
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Belgravia House
62-64 Horseferry Road

F 020 7222 2004