Horse Industry Generates $122 Billion Economic Impact

The $122 billion equine industry is a growing segment of the U.S. economy, employing 1.74 million people, according to a recent economic impact study.

The 2017 Economic Impact Study of the U.S. Horse Industry found that the care, business and recreation surrounding the 7.2 million horses in the country generated $79 billion in total salaries. The research was conducted by the American Horse Council (AHC) Federation in conjunction with The Innovation Group.

“Those involved in the equine industry already know how important it is to the U.S. economy,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “Having these updated numbers is critical not only to the AHC’s efforts up on Capitol Hill, but also for the industry to demonstrate to the general public how much of a role the equine has in American households. While the number of horses in the U.S. has decreased, this was not entirely unexpected due to the decline in breed registration trends over the last few years.”

Texas – the epicenter of the cutting industry – had the highest population of horses, followed by California and Florida. The study also found that 38 million, or 30.5 percent, of U.S. households contain a horse enthusiast, and 38 percent of participants are under the age of 18. Some 80 million acres of land is reserved for horse-related activities.

“For this update of the study, we wanted to get a better picture of the number of youth in the pipeline, which is a number that we have not previously included in our economic impact studies,” Broadway said. “Additionally, being able to put a number on the amount of land used for equine-related activities is essential to ensuring that we are able to continue to protect and preserve that land for its intended use.”

While the equine industry as a whole generates approximately $122 billion in total economic value, it’s commonly thought that the “big three” that are the primary economic drivers are recreation, racing and competition. However, the AHC Foundation felt it was also important to bring in a new sector of the industry’s economic impact: working horses.

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