The US horse industry is worth over $40 billion a year. Horse statistics show that it’s growing and not just in the US but across the globe.
We’ve compiled all the facts, stats, and information you should know about it. So let’s dive right in.
Little Known Facts About Horses
- There are around 9.2 million horses in the US and two million horse owners.
- The US horse industry is worth $40 billion a year.
- Each year, approximately seven million Americans go horseback riding.
- Around 870,000 horses compete or train for track racing every year.
- The US horse industry employs 1.74 million people.
- Grenada only has a total of 30 horses.
- About 36 per 100,000 of the US population experience a riding injury each year.
- Texas has the highest horse population per US state — 767,100.
- The average household income of a US horse owner is $60,000.
Horse Industry Statistics
The equestrian industry is massive worldwide, particularly in the US. Let’s have a look at some stats.
1. The US Horse Industry Employs 1.74 Million People.
(Source: Quarter Horse News)
- Their work has generated over $79 billion in total salaries.
- The horse racing industry has the biggest economic impact, contributing $15.6 billion to the US economy.
- The competitive horse sector adds around $11.8 billion. The whole US horse industry is worth around $40 billion.
But that’s not all. Horse statistics are massively growing worldwide annually.
2. The UK Equestrian Industry Contributes Over $11 Billion a Year to Their Economy.
(Source: Equine Business Association)
- The UK equestrian market has some serious expertise that has raked over $700 million, particularly in the Far East.
- Besides football, horse racing is the most attended sport in the UK, with seven million spectators every year.
- Horse racing alone generates close to $5 billion a year.
The UK equestrian industry is massive, but the following section might come as a surprise.
Horse Population by Country
As the market grows, so does the horse population globally.
3. The US Has Around Ten Million Horses.
- Mexico is up next with 6.35 million.
- Surprisingly, China has a horse population of six million, which is increasing dramatically as the industry grows. Since 2010, the equestrian market in the country has grown by 1,500%.
- Horse statistics show that Brazil has 5.2 million horses.
But some countries have surprisingly low numbers.
4. Grenada Only Has a Total Of 30 Horses.
- Despite the amazing equestrian economic sector, the UK has only around 400,000 horses. Still, they have the highest exportation value.
- There are approximately 450,000 horses in the Netherlands and over 500,000 riders.
- Romania has the highest number of horses in the EU — around 447,000.
And what about US states?
Horse Ownership by State
The US has the highest population of horses, but where do they all come from?
5. Texas Has the Highest Horse Population — 767,100.
(Source: Horse Council)
- The second-highest horse population is in California — around 534,500.
- Coming in third is Florida, with approximately 387,100 horses.
- In fourth place, we have Oklahoma with 326,000.
Let’s see which other states contribute to the over ten million US horses.
6. Kentucky Has 320,000 Horses.
- Horse statistics show that Ohio has a horse population of about 307,000.
- Missouri isn’t far behind with 281,000.
- Lastly, North Carolina has a horse population of 256,000.
So who owns all these horses?
Horse Ownership Statistics
Horse ownership varies worldwide. Let’s have a look.
7. Over One Million US Horse Owners Rent or Own Land to House Horses.
(Source: Horse Council)
- The average US horse owner owns 6.56 horses.
- Close to 60% of the owners are pleasure riders, meaning they don’t make a living from their horses.
- In the US, 12.8% of horse ownership is for breeding purposes.
It’s not just ownership stats that intrigue us, but who the owners are.
Horse Owner Demographics
8. The Average Household Income of a US Horse Owner Is $60,000.
- In the US, most horse owners are married females between the ages of 38–45.
- Around 85% of riders do it for recreational purposes.
- Only 2% of owners own a racehorse.
What’s more, horse owners tend to love outdoor activities like hiking and enjoy reading publications on household animals.
9. 12% Of Horse Owners Own 10 or More Horses.
(Source: East Coast Equestrian)
- There are around two million horse owners in the US. Out of those, 1.3 million keep horses on their property.
- 20% of owners choose to house their horses in outside facilities, like a riding center or stable.
- Only 28% of horse owners have a salary of over $100,000.
So, now that we have a general idea about horses and their owners. How did the whole industry come about?
Horse History Facts
Horses are a massive part of the world economy, and enthusiasts are in the millions. But where did the relationship between man and horse begin?
10. It’s Estimated That Horses Were Domesticated in 4,000 BC in Ukraine.
(Source: Equine Heritage Institute)
- Horses were initially used as a source of food. But humans quickly realized these animals could do the work of many men in about half the time due to their strength and stamina.
- Interesting horse facts show that we’ve ridden these animals in wartime throughout history. But it was around 1,000 BCE when horseback riding became very popular, and the mounted cavalry appeared.
- The rigid horse-collar, invented in 700 BCE, allowed men to pursue science, maths, and other academia since horses could now do the work. It revolutionized Europe. But horses aren’t the only ones that need collars. Some of our four-legged besties are the size of a small horse and require a harness for large dogs.
And the interesting facts about horses don’t stop here.
11. Germany Used Around Two Million Horses in World War II.
(Source: Equine Heritage Institute)
- During George III’s coronation, a horse was trained to walk backward after being presented to the king so he wouldn’t have to stare at its… well, backside. The horse felt the pressure and ended up walking backside first, presenting the king with a lot more than he bargained for.
- A New York City cab in the 1990s averaged about six miles per hour, the same speed as a horse-drawn carriage in 1890.
- Polo, which is known as a very prestigious game, was once used to keep soldiers strong and in good fighting form when they weren’t in battle.
It’s fascinating to see how horses evolved throughout history, but what can we learn about the different breeds?
Horse Breed Facts
There are over 200 horse breeds today, descendants from what started as only a few.
12. Horses Fall Under Five Basic Categories
- These five include draft horses, ponies, light horses, gaited types, and warmbloods.
- The most popular horse breed in the US is the American Quarter Horse. These animals are all-around favorites because of their diverse abilities, making them a great option for all riding levels. The breed holds the largest registry in the world with over 2.5 million registered horses.
- A thoroughbred racehorse, Fusaichi Pegasus, sold for $70 million in 2000 to a breeder after winning the Kentucky Derby.
Speaking of competitions, let’s have a deeper look at horse racing.
Horse Racing Statistics
As an ancient sport, horse racing has some pretty interesting facts and stats. But, unfortunately, most of them aren’t good.
13. Between 700–800 Racehorses Die or Are Injured in the US Every Year.
- Around 870,000 horses are competing or training every year for track racing.
- The first criminal investigation into horse trainers and veterinarians took place in 2018 when 37 horses died in a single year at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
- Horse stats show these are one of the most expensive animals you can own. Caring for one racehorse can cost upwards of $55,000 a year, so they’re often put down for minor injuries.
If you think that’s bad, get your tissues ready for the following sections.
Horse Abuse Statistics
Unfortunately, due to the high expectations toward racehorses, there’s a lot of mistreatment. But they’re not alone — over 100 million animals are abused and tortured each year.
14. In 2020, 40,000 US Horses Were Exported for Human Consumption.
- The last US horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007. The final three killed over 104,000 horses for meat sent overseas.
- But this doesn’t mean horses aren’t being slaughtered. The US is just shipping out unwanted horses across borders to Mexico and Canada, where it’s still legal to kill them.
- In 2017, 80,000 horses crossed these borders. They were stacked in overcrowded trucks without food, water, or protection for over 24 hours, killing some of them in transit. Those were the lucky ones, as some horses were still alive while being amputated.
Horse slaughter statistics are improving. But while preventing deaths has come a long way, it’s far from over.
What’s more, racing horses are trained extensively every day, which has an excruciating effect on their joints. Luckily, some companies offer amazing CBD products for horses with promising results.
Still, horses aren’t the only ones getting injured.
Horse Accidents Statistics
Horse riding may not seem dangerous until you start investigating the related injuries.
15. The Equestrian Sports Carry the Highest Number of Brain Injuries in All US Sports.
(Source: Ohio State University)
- A study on riders shows that 81% of them have had injuries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
- Also, 21% needed hospitalization or surgery. But horses can also get hurt so it’s a good thing 5.6% of vets in the US work solely with horses.
- Still, horse riding deaths statistics remain pretty low, with around 100 deaths per year from equestrian activities in the US.
By now, you might be wondering how dangerous horse riding actually is. Here’s what we know about horse riding and its danger statistics.
16. About 36 per 100,000 of the US Population Experience a Riding Injury Each Year.
(Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine)
- Falling off a horse accounts for 42.7–82% of the total number of injured.
- One of the most common injuries happens with unmounted riders. A horse kick can do some severe damage — around 2,000 lbs of force per square inch.
- Horse stats show approximately seven million Americans go horseback riding every year. Very few experience any issue, so don’t let that put you off.
Always be safe and wear the right gear when riding or being around a horse.
The equestrian industry is massive and growing with billions each year. The US alone makes $40 billion annually, and it also employs millions of people worldwide.
But, horse racing has had some terrible stats throughout history. While they’re now improving, we need to do more to stop cruel treatment in the industry and zoos around the world.
You have a very slim chance of injury, but you should always be safe and wear a helmet just in case. The same goes for being anywhere near the horse, too, since horse statistics show that their kick has a 2,000 lbs force.