The American Horse Council released the latest AHC Foundation’s Equine Economic Impact Study of the U.S. Horse Industry, that showcases trends related to economic impact, contributions to employment and the amount of acreage preserved in horse operations.

The total economic impact of equines in the U.S. increased by 45% from $122 billion in 2017 to $177 billion in 2022. Equine activities have significant impact beyond agriculture, encompassing tourism, entertainment, sports and recreation.

The industry’s total employment impact increased by 33% from 1.7 million jobs to 2.2 million jobs over the five-year period.

The total population of horses declined from 7.2 million to 6.6 million, about an 8.5% decrease. To put this in perspective, in 1960 equines totaled about 3 million, the result of a steady decline after the turn of the century when their use as transportation and farm labor diminished. Since the 1960s, the equine population steadily grew due to increased interest in Thoroughbred racing and in Quarter Horses being used as recreational mounts.

The AHC states the purpose of the survey is to demonstrate the value of the equine industry in national and state economies by analyzing the direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts of horse ownership, recreation, and equine-related services. The data collected informs public and private 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,” AHC president Julie Broadway said. “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 and depth of its composition.”

The American Horse Council Foundation also provided state and county level reporting, commissioned on a state by state or county by county basis. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association funded reports for all equines, and specifically Thoroughbreds, within the state with a drilldown to the county level for Marion County, Fla. The results of these reports will be released in upcoming weeks.

For more information on the study, click here.

Return to the Feb. 1 issue of Wire to Wire