Wednesday, June 29, 2005Contact: Kathie Luedeke
Comprehensive horse study reveals $ 40 billlion impact on U.S. economy

The horse industry in the United States contributes $39 billion in direct economic impact to the US economy and supports 1.4 million jobs on a full-time basis, according to a new study released today by the American Horse Council (AHC). When indirect and induced spending are included, the industry’s economic impact reaches $102 billion. The study also estimates the horse population in this country has reached 9.2 million.

The study, conducted by Deloitte Consulting, LLC over the last year, was commissioned by the American Horse Council Foundation with major funding support from the American Quarter Horse Association, The Jockey Club, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders’ Cup Limited, Keeneland Association, American Paint Horse Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, U.S. Trotting Association, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the U.S. Equestrian Federation.

The study, titled The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in the United States, is the most comprehensive research document ever compiled on the American horse industry. (The media can access a summary of the report at

The study reveals:

  • An industry that is both large and economically diverse, as well as a key contributor to the overall fabric of the U.S. economy;
  • Horse owners and industry suppliers, racetracks, and off-track betting operations, horse shows and other industry segments all generate discrete economic activity contributing to the vibrancy of the overall industry;
  • Of the total economic impacts reported, approximately $32.0 billion is generated from the recreational segment; $28.8 billion from the showing segment and $26.1 billion is generated from the racing segment.

    “This study paints a portrait of an industry that operates in every corner of the country and contributes mightily to the American economy and culture,” said Jay Hickey, President of the AHC. “Never before has the impact of our industry been so dramatically demonstrated.”

    “Millions of Americans have a personal commitment to the horse industry, from the grassroots to those who compete nationally and internationally,” said David O’Connor President of the United States Equestrian Federation and an Individual Olympic Gold Medalist. “Some are kids riding their backyard horse for the sheer joy of it, some support their family working for an equine business, and others are breeders and competitors at the highest levels. Together they contribute billions to the economic health of our country through their shared passion for the great American icon, the horse.”

    “We know horses have a special place in America’s history and culture. This study clearly demonstrates the horse industry’s significant role in America’s economy too,” said Congressman Don Sherwood (R-Pennsylvania), a breeder of draft horses. “When you have a tough week in Congress, there is nothing like going home, cleaning a stall, and grooming a broodmare. The old saying that there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man is so true.”

    “This study reveals the importance of the recreational sector of the horse industry. My Right to Ride legislation will help this growing sector of the horse industry continue to enjoy the trails and public lands on horseback”, said Congressman George Radanovich (R-California), a rider. “Horse and saddle-stock use on federal land has a long tradition in American culture. Riding livestock is a great way to explore and experience our federal lands; we must preserve our riding heritage.”

    "As someone who has spent a lifetime around horses, I understand how much they are a central piece of our nation's fabric, from rodeos and trail riding to racing and showing," said Representative Joel Hefley (R-Colorado). "This report demonstrates how horses of every breed positively impact our economy and our way of life."

    "This study confirms what many of us in the Congress already knew, that the American horse industry is a vital contributor to the U.S. economy while bringing pleasure to millions of people," said Senator Mitch McConnell, (R-Kentucky).

    Some of the key industry statistics and economic indicators reflected in the study include:

    Estimated number of horses in the U.S.

  • 9.2 million

    Estimated number of horses by Activity

  • Recreation, 3,906,923
  • Showing, 2,718,954
  • Racing, 844,531
  • Other, 1,752,439

    Estimated number of horses by Breed

  • Quarter Horse, 3,288,203
  • Thoroughbred, 1,291,807
  • Other Horses, 4,642,739

    Estimated number of horses in each of the 50 states.

  • Texas (one million), California (700,000) and Florida (500,000) are the leading horse states.
  • 45 of 50 states have at least 20,000 horses.

    Number of people participating in the industry. By form of participation (e.g., owner, volunteer, etc.).

  • Owners, 2 million
  • Volunteers, 2 million

    By demographic breakdown (age, income, etc.).

    Direct, indirect and induced economic impacts of the industry on U.S. and individual state economies.

    Contributions to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    Nationally, $102 billion via direct, indirect and induced spending.

    Number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs produced

  • 1.4 million.

    In conducting the study, Deloitte contacted 400,000 horse owners and other industry participants involved in all segments of the horse industry, including people involved in both the recreational and commercial spheres. The report is available for a fee by contacting the AHCF at

    About American Horse Council

    The AHC represents the horse industry in Washington, D.C. Organized in 1969, it has been promoting and protecting the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests. The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing every facet of the horse world, including owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registers, horsemen’s associations, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.

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