Horses are popular all around the world for a variety of reasons, from work to recreational purposes, you can find horses and horse lovers all over the world!
The horse industry extends to more than just barns and fields. Horses and their riders require equipment, feed, and more. This opens doors to many income and job opportunities either directly or indirectly related to the equine world. Although machinery has largely decreased the use of horses in agriculture, the Economic Impact of the Horse Industry still has a substantial impact.
Each horse over the world plays a different role. Some are being ridden at Grand Prix competitions, others are plowing fields in rural areas, and there are the occasional few that roam fields. There are over 58 million horses all over the globe, and the number is increasing (Horsemart).
Economic Impact of the Horse Industry: America
America alone is home to around 10 million horses (North America has a total of just under twenty million horses), making it the leader amongst other countries in terms of numbers. Texas, California, and Florida contribute to a large portion of this number, but the distribution is fairly even among all states. These numbers make sense considering that a large percentage of the American households are people who love horses. However, due to the financial commitments that come as a part of owning a horse, only 1.3 percent out of the 31 percent equine enthusiasts actually own a horse.
Below we have gathered some infographics from back in 2017 to get a clear picture:
Graphics Credit: American Horse Council Foundation
Economic Impact of the Horse Industry: Europe
In Europe, France is considered the most “horse-friendly” as they have a great number of enthusiasts and equestrians. Basse-Normandie (France) is the most “equestrian-friendly” region (European Horse Network). This region is home to around ten percent of the entire French equine population, breeds twenty percent of the foals, and offers thousands of employment opportunities in the industry.
Germany and Britain are also big in the equine world as they have the greatest number of horses in Europe. Meanwhile, Sweden has the largest numbers of horses per capita (individual), and Belgium along with the Netherlands have the greatest density of horses per a thousand hectares of land (EUqquus Project).
In addition, Germany is a popular country for competitive equestrians to move to. Europe is also home to equestrian tourism, with France once again dominating in this sphere. Countries that also benefit economically from equine tourists include Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and more.
Economic Impact of the Horse Industry: South America
South America should definitely not be overlooked when it comes to the equine industry. Brazil alone is home to over five million horses, and the continent is said to have over 13 million horses (Horsemart). Like North America, South America has its own cowboys, called gauchos. The horse industry is hence related to the South American cattle ranches called fazendas, now of course commonly associated with equestrian vacations. Besides income from tourists, Brazil is considered a leader in equine embryo production, having a share of over forty percent of the market (Milano). A great deal more than the United States, who is also considered a leader in this practice.
Economic Impact of the Horse Industry: Argentina
Argentina is known for producing horses which excel in polo, but it is also an exporter of equine meat which is often sent to European countries. In 2019, over one hundred thousand horses were slaughtered for meat in Argentina (Sigal). However, due to the cruel nature of the slaughter plants, lawmakers are looking for ways to ban import of horse meat.
Economic Impact of the Horse Industry: Asia
Asia and Australia also play an economic role in the horse industry. Asia (in particular China) is also steadily growing in terms of the equine industry. There are around 14 million horses on the Asian continent, and China is considered the leader. The Chinese government launched a five-year plan to help grow the equine industry in the country. Their focus includes breeding, sports, and racing (Global Business). The goal is to keep up with worldwide standards and keep horses safe.
Economic Impact of the Horse Industry: Australia
The Australian continent may be small, but nearly two percent of the Australian population is a horse owner (Dagley). Oceania (Australia) is home to one million domestic horses, and also a portion of the feral horse population called brumbies (just under half a million). These feral horses bring in immense ecological damage which in turn impacts the Australian economy hence why they are considered pests. These wild horses are constantly traveling over various terrains (including agricultural land) and their hooves create damage to the land.
Some Amazing Facts!
The Economic impact of the horse industry industry is divided into several separate industries within the sphere, these include but are not limited to: breeding, education, research, companies, events, betting etc. In the United States alone, the equine industry brings in a lot of job opportunities.
The industry itself is worth around 122 billion dollars, which has created 1.7 million jobs. (Lochner). To put this into perspective, there are around 148 million people employed in the United States in all industries. Directly speaking, the American equine industry brings in 50 billion dollars and just under a million jobs.
Europe has a similar amount of income coming in from the industry, around 110 billion dollars per year (100 billion euros). France alone generates around 14 billion dollars each year. The South American continent has already realized the enormous potential of the equine industry.
The Brazilian equine industry is said to be bringing around 16 billion dollars per year and helping create just under four million jobs related to the sphere.
The Asian equine industry is growing, and the Chinese equine industry in particular is worth about 1.5 billion dollars (per year), and is estimated to be growing by thirty percent every year.
The Australian equine industry generates a large portion of income through thoroughbred breeding, and it generates about 1.2 billion dollars each year, bringing in 8,000 job opportunities. However, the Australian government estimates that, considering voluntary work, the Australian equine industry would bring in eight billion dollars.
Put together, the horse industry is considered to contribute over 300 billion dollars to the global economy. It is therefore clear that despite industrialization, horses still have a great impact on the economy to this day, and there are still quite a few people who consider themselves equine enthusiasts.
Dagley, Ken. “Demographics of Australian Horse Owners: Results from an …” ResearchGate, Australian Veterinary Journal, Dec. 2015, pubag.nal.usda.gov/catalog/4789254.
EUqquus Project. “Horse Riding Situation in Europe – Diba.cat.” HORSE RIDING IN EUROPE, EUquus Project, 2020, www.diba.cat/documents/74348/226277151/Estudi+sobre+el+turisme+eq%C3%83%C2%BCestre+a+Europa/ba6041d0-3840-4dc2-abca-7598089989b8.
European Horse Network. European Horse Network – Economic Impact, European Horse Network, 2020,www.europeanhorsenetwork.eu/horse-industry/economic-impact/.
Global Business. “China to Spur Its Horse Industry.” CGTN, 2020 CGTN. Beijing ICP, 6 Oct. 2020, news.cgtn.com/news/2020-10-06/China-to-spur-its-horse-industry-Un1AKrPfOg/index.html.
Horsemart. “Which Countries Have the Most Horses?: Horsemart.” Www.horsemart.co.uk, 2022 Horsemart.co.uk, 2020, www.horsemart.co.uk/community/news-events/which-countries-have-the-most-horses-.
Lochner, Hannah. “Economic Impact of the Horse Industry.” UMN Extension, 2022 Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2020, extension.umn.edu/horse-ownership/economic-impact-horse-industry#:~:text=The%20total%20economic%20impact%20of,with%20the%20greatest%20horse%20population.
Milano, Roberto. “Diverse and Sophisticated Brazilian Sport Horse Market.” Breeding News for Sport Horses, Breeding News for Sport Horses, 28 Sept. 2020, breedingnews.com/diverse-and-sophisticated-brazilian-sport-horse-market/.
O’Neill, Aaron. “United States – Employment 2022.” Statista, Statista, 23 Nov. 2021, www.statista.com/statistics/269959/employment-in-the-united-states/.
Sigal, Lucila. “In Land of Gauchos, Argentine Filmmaker Spotlights Horse Meat Trade.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 29 Sept. 2020, www.reuters.com/article/us-argentina-horses-documentary-idUSKBN26K31F.