The horse industry contributes $39 billion in direct economic impact to the United States economy and supports 1.4 million jobs on a full-time basis, according to a new study released recently by the American Horse Council. When indirect and induced spending are included, the economic impact reaches $102 billion. Th e study also estimates the U.S. horse population has reached 9.2 million.

Titled The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in the United States, the study was conducted by Deloitte Consulting, LLC over the past year. It was commissioned by the American Horse Council Foundation with major support from the American Quarter Horse Association, The Jockey Club, the National T oroughbred Racing Association and Breeders’ Cup Ltd., the Keeneland Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the U.S. Trotting Association, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the U.S. Equestrian Federation. It is the most comprehensive research document ever compiled on the American horse industry.

In conducting the study, Deloitte contacted 400,000 horse owners and other participants involved in all segments of the industry, including the recreational and commercial spheres.

Detailed Maryland Numbers

In order to be “break-out,” a state had to provide its own funding. The Maryland Horse Council, the Maryland Horse Industry Board and the Maryland Horse Breeders Association all contributed to the study.

Interestingly, the study confirmed many of the numbers established by the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture. Some numbers were in excess of previous estimates.

Some highlights from the Maryland break-out study:

Estimated number of horses in Maryland:
This number is higher than the 2002 USDA/MDA census, which indicated a population in the low 80,000s. Income from the Feed Fund confirms the lower number;
if there are 153,000 horses, they aren’t eating much!

Estimated number of horses by activity
Recreation: 47,300
Showing: 29,000
Racing: 41,800
Other: 34,000

Estimated number of horses by breed
Quarter Horse: 22,600
Th oroughbred: 69,200
Other horses: 61,100

Number of people participating in the industry By form of participation:
Owners: 23,800
Volunteers: 27,400
Employees: 14,400

By demographic breakdown (age, income, etc. — household income among Maryland equestrians is fairly evenly distributed across the spectrum):
$0 – $25K: 6%
$25 – $50k: 15 %
$50 – $75k: 15%
$75 – $100k: 12%
$100 – $125k: 21%
$125 – $150k: 10%
$150k+: 2%

Forty-seven percent of Maryland horse owners are ages 45 to 59; 28 percent are 30 to 44.

Economic Impacts
Direct Economic Impact: $1 billion
$532 million from racing
$167 million from showing
$174 million from recreation
$127 million from other

Total Economic Impact: $1.6 billion
$826 million from racing
$266 million from showing
$279 million from recreation
$198 million from other

The total economic impact figure is consistent with past estimates.

Did you know that the horse industry contributed $72 million in annual taxes: $40 million to the state, and $6 million to the feds?