Horse keeping laws (New Planning Laws for South Australia)

There are significant planning law changes for South Australia. Its can be daunting to read through. To help, Horse SA volunteers are preparing information in bite-sized chunks. To be added to this page as available.

1) The definition of horse keeping 

Hoorah! Nearly 20 years of writing and meeting with various Ministers responsible for Planning laws, and staff in the Attorney-General’s Department, the EPA, individual councils and more by Horse SA and volunteers such as Pam Brookman. Here is one of the results:


CURRENT REGULATION (LAW since approx 1999): Horse keeping means “the keeping or husbandry of horses where more than 1 horse is kept per 3 hectares of land used for such purposes or where hand feeding of a horse is involved" (Development Regulations 2008 Definitions—Schedule 1)

PROPOSED NEW LAW: Horse keeping means “the keeping or husbandry of horses where more than 1 horse is kept per 3ha of land used for such purposes".  (Pg. 2966, Part 7 of the Code - Land Use Definitions  )

This small change is important. In the past, we have heard of Council staff applying the horse keeping laws if people were hand feeding. There have been different interpretations by different council staff of hand-feeding from giving a horse occasional hard feeds to hay all year around, or hay only sometimes. Horse SA has also liaised with RSPCA SA in the past, as it could be argued that planning professionals are not trained to assess horse feeding requirements.

If you would like to support this proposed change, visit the consultation website and put your comment, attend a public consultation, email in your thoughts and more – go here.

or just email your feedback to:


2) General Development Policies (more comments coming soon)

  •        The General Development Policies for Horse Keeping are located in Part 4 of the Code under Animal Keeping and Horse
            Keeping from page 2218 to 2219.


  •        While the Zones determine what development can occur in an area, the General Development Policies outline functional
           requirements for development – ie how development should occur.


  •        Much of the General Policy for the new Code has been transitioned across from existing policies and deals with matters 
           such as amenity and environmental impacts as well as disease transmission.


  •        PO stands for Performance Outcomes – Policies designed to facilitate assessment according to specified factors such as land use, built form and hazard risk minimisation.


  •        DTS stands for Deemed-to-Satisfy – Criteria that a development must satisfy in order to be classified as ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’.


  •        DPF stands for Designated Performance Feature – Provides a guide as to what is generally considered to satisfy a
           corresponding Performance Outcome.


3) Zones (more comments coming soon)

  •        Each individual Zone will then set out in tables how the land use ‘Horse Keeping’ is treated for Development Assessment


  •        For example in the Rural Zone, Horse Keeping is classed as Deemed-to-Satisfy where it is located outside certain areas (eg
           Water Protection Area) and meets the identified criteria.  A Deemed-to-Satisfy development must be granted consent. 


Thank you to Catherine Hollingsworth and Melanie Scott for preparing this information.

Social riding with hounds

Social riding with hounds

Adelaide Hunt Club



Southern Vales Dressage Club, Aldinga. Photo PYT Equine Photography

Endurance riding

Endurance riding

Northern Adelaide beaches Photo Shirley Ellis

Victor Harbor, South Australia Horse drawn tram

Horse industry

Horse industry

Trail riding

Trail riding

Gawler Trail Horse Riders Club. Beltana Station, Flinders Ranges. Photo: Tamara Godfrey

Events, shows, festivals

Events, shows, festivals

Australian International Three Day Event



The Kidman Trail, McLaren Vale Photo: Michael Mullen

Thoroughbred racing

Thoroughbred racing

Port Lincoln Racecourse Photo: M.Coles


Horse SA 
C/- Adelaide Hills Business Centre

82 Onkaparinga Valley Rd Woodside 
South Australia 5244  

Mob: 0402488306

ABN:  80915482672
Incorporation No. A05065


We acknowledge the support of the Government of South Australia through a grant from the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing

Disclaimer  Horse SA, as the authors and publishers, shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained on this website. While it is as accurate as possible at the time of publication, there may be errors, omissions, inaccuracies or information that becomes out of date. This site contains links to external websites.  Privacy statement.

© 2020 Horse SA