BY STEVE KOCH
OCALA, FL— According to the recently released American Horse Council Foundation 2023 Equine Economic Impact Study, the Florida equine industry contributes $12.8 billion to the Florida economy.
Florida Thoroughbreds contribute $3.24 billion annually to the Florida economy, more than one-quarter of that horsepower.
The study commissioned by the American Horse Council reaffirmed the status of the Florida equine industry, and specifically Thoroughbred horse racing, as a major sports and agricultural industry within the state.
To put it into perspective, the $3.24 billion Florida Thoroughbred industry sits just ahead of the average annual total economic impact of $3.1 billion (inflation adjusted) for all collegiate athletics in Florida according to two-year Florida Sports Foundation estimates released in December, 2022.
Florida remains the third-leading equine state by population (behind landmass-dominant Texas and California) with 335,000 head creating more than 112,000 jobs. Florida’s 87,600 Thoroughbreds – one of every four horses in Florida – support 33,500 jobs total, or 30% of equine employment.
One-in-five Florida households participate in equine activities and more than 30% register as horse enthusiasts having owner, participant or spectator status. Florida lands dedicated to equine and equine-related activities total 561,000 acres.
“Florida, and specifically Marion County, has clearly maintained its rightful position as Horse Capital of the World® by population, participation and economic value,” Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association CEO Lonny Powell said.
“Even better, Sunshine state Thoroughbreds are consistently a top-three leading producer of Thoroughbred runners and second-ranked source of national stakes-winners.”
The American Horse Council Foundation provides national, state and county level economic impact estimates. FTBOA funded the Florida and Marion County, Fla. reports. The Marion County report will be released in the coming weeks by FTBOA.
For more information on the national study, click here.
Return to Feb. 8 issue of Wire to Wire