Economic Impact of the United States Horse Industry*

As a large, economically diverse industry, the United States horse industry contributes significantly to the American economy. The following statistics are from the American Horse Council Foundation’s 2017 National Economic Impact Study.

The horse industry contributes approximately $50 billion in direct economic impact to the U.S. economy, and has a direct employment impact of 988,394 jobs. Additionally, the industry itself contributes $38 billion in direct wages, salaries, and benefits

From those direct effects, the horse industry’s contribution ripples out into other sectors of the economy. Adding these ripple effects results in an estimate of the total contribution of the horse industry to the U.S. economy of $122 billion, and a total employment impact of 1.7 million jobs.

Some key industry statistics and economic indicators:

Estimated number of horses in the U.S.

7.2 million

Estimated number of horses by activity

Recreation- 3,141,449

Showing- 1,227,986

Racing- 1,224,482

Working- 537,261

Estimated number of horses in each of the 50 states

#1- Texas, approximately 767,100 horses

#2- California, approximately 534,500 horses

#3- Florida, approximately 387,100 horses

Land Use by the Equine Industry

32 million acres of land owned

49 million acres of land leased for horse-related uses

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*Please note, the following statistics may be used for informational purposes only, and credit must be given to the American Horse Council Foundation for use in articles online or in print. If you have any questions, please contact the AHC at

Ways to use the 2017 National Equine Economic Impact Study

An economic impact study examines the effect of an event or industry has on the economy and usually measures changes in business revenue, business profits, personal wages, and/or jobs.

The equine industry plays an important role in its communities. It directly or indirectly supports a broad set of local jobs and economic activity across a spectrum of businesses and occupations.

Public money invested in industry and related infrastructure returns to the community to generate more jobs and income.

Ways to use the study findings:

  • Used in conjunction with previous studies to help identify trends, and project/forecast indicators
  • To pinpoint areas of growth in the industry to foster, and identify gaps that need attention
  • To assess the demographics of the industry (age, income levels, etc.)
  • To educate decision makers on the impact of an industry to the national or local economy
  • Identify the monetary impacts the industry has on a community through tourism, jobs, etc.
  • Identify under-served geographic areas where riding lessons, veterinaries or other professionals might set up or expand their businesses
  • To help determine the need for equine studies programs at community colleges, universities
  • To inform young equestrians of various careers and organizations within the industry
  • To help inform general public of the level of involvement with horses in the US (owners, participants, spectators, etc.)
  • To help identify the impact of alternative revenue sources (slot machines, etc.) on live racing and the economic impacts that flow from that.
  • To identify the impacts of recessions on breeding and horse populations
  • To help inform possible decisions regarding business development such as construction or renovation of venues and trails, and determine viability of events
  • To help inform viability of product development and possible marketing plans and strategies
  • To help provide context to arguments and cases for legal defense, adverse legislation or regulation, or development or expansion that may negatively impact the industry
  • To identify prospective markets for membership, buyers, attendees
  • To help fight for green space and public lands