The American Horse Council has released its first survey of the impact of the horse industry on the US economy since 2017. According to a press release there were three main takeaways:

Diverse Economic Sectors Impacted: $177 billion. That’s the total value added in 2023 from the equine industry, up from $122 billion in 2017. The equine industry’s ripple effect extends beyond the traditional sectors, influencing a broad spectrum of industries. From agriculture and tourism to veterinary services and technology, the survey showcases the interconnectedness of the equine world with other economic realms.

Employment Boost: The survey reveals a substantial impact on employment with 2.2 million jobs linked both directly and indirectly to the equine sector. Not only are breeders, trainers, veterinarians, and farriers represented, but so are truck drivers, nutritionists, chemists, police officers, and journalists.

Slight Downshift in Population: While there is a slight downshift in the total population of horses from 2023 (6.6 million) compared to 2017 (7.2 million), that’s only a slight consideration when compared to the growing numbers in jobs and expenditures.

The survey is conducted to show the value of the horse industry in both national and state economies by analyzing the direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts of horse ownership, recreation, and equine-related services. The collected data will help educate both public and private sector investments in equine-related businesses, equine health care, education, land use decisions, tax policy, tourism, employment incentives, etc.

“The Economic Impact Study is the most effective tool in our advocacy quiver,” Julie Broadway, president of the AHC said in the press release. “When the industry needs to take aim at an issue, this data is invaluable in helping us paint the picture of the contributions the industry makes and the breadth & depth of its composition.”

Last year our sister publication Horse Sport  reported on a similar survey called “The Canadian Equine Sector: Socio-Economic Insights 2023” that was conducted in association with Equestrian Canada. The results of the Canadian report found that, “The Canadian equine sector contributes over $8.7 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while also benefitting Canadians and the environment.” In the Canadian study the three takeaways were:

  • Nationally, Canadians spend more than $8.3 billion on equine keeping,
  • The equine sector contributed over 70,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2022, and
  • Larger equine sport venues can serve as economic drivers in rural communities.

Both surveys clearly demonstrate that our collective passion for horses and riding is growing, which is good news for the industry.