A riding school in north Lincolnshire is being investigated for allegedly operating illegally.

The council raided the school in Barnetby with a vet and representatives from the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare last month (31 July).

During the raid, it was discovered that children as young as eight were having riding lessons, even though the school did not have a licence. Children were also found grooming and mucking out without adult supervision.

After inspecting the horses, the vet said that a number of them were “unsuitable for hire”.

Keith Vickers, of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “The running of this riding school gives serious concern. The owner seems to have little regard to the welfare of the animals and even less for the children, who they place in potential danger with no responsible adult supervision.”

Before a riding school is given a licence, it has a full inspection with a vet present.

“Licensing is vital for horse welfare and to make sure that a standard is maintained,” said Julian Marczak from the Association of British Riding Schools.

“It also makes sure that riding schools operate fairly, so you don’t get an illegal premises undercutting a reputable riding school down the road which is adhering to all the necessary standards.”

An improvement notice was served to the owner and the council were due to revisit the premises last week.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (22 August, 2013)