The Equine Industry: A Global Perspective


EBA founder Christina Jones calls it one of the biggest industries that is hidden in plain sight.  Most people outside (& many within) have no idea of the global scale & significance of the equine industry.  Read on for some stats & facts that highlight the breadth & depth of the business…

According to Alltech’s Steve Elliot, the annual economic impact of the equine industry is significant – involving some $300 billion dollars and 1.6 million full-time jobs.1

Equine Industry statistics chart

The Market is spread as follows:

U.S.A : $102 billion2

Europe : $133 billion3

Canada : $16 billion4

Australia : $5 billion5

UK : $6.2billion6

Ireland : $1.3billion7

China : $1.58billion8

Region Full time employed No. of horses
USA/Canada 460,00010 9.2m11
Europe 400,000 6m
UK + Ireland 85,000 0.9m
Australia 26,000 1.2m12

The UK

  • UK has one of the highest quality equine industries in the world, and is internationally recognised as the leading source of equine expertise, resulting in export markets with overseas trade valued at over £500m and growing, with rapidly developing markets in the Far East14
  • The equine industry in the UK is both vibrant and valuable, contributing £8bn a year to the economy. With around 1m horses, the sector has a gross output of £4.3bn a year and is the second-largest rural employer after agriculture15
  • There are 374,000 horse-owning households in Britain – a drop from the 446,000 in 201516
  • British horse racing alone generated £3.45bn in direct, indirect and induced expenditure and this industry contributed £276m in tax in 201217
  • An estimated 3.5m people in Britain rode in 2010-11 and were further inspired to take up horse sport by the 2012 London Olympic Games medal tally18
  • Horse sports engage a higher proportion than other sports of people with disabilities, women participants and participants over the age of 45 and nearly 40% of those taking part in do not participate in other forms of physical activity.  It’s unique as a sport in that men and women compete against each other at Olympic level with athletes aged from 18-7019
  • Racing is the best attended Sport in the UK after football20




  • In America, the Equine Industry has a greater economic impact than motion pictures; in Australia, it contributes only 14% less than the livestock industry 21
  • The number of horse clubs in China has increased by 1500% in recent years, from 90 in 2010 to 1400 in 2017. Major market for expansion 22
  • 7million Americans are directly involved in the US industry, 2 million of these are horse owners. Over a third earn $75k+ a year 23

[1] Steve Elliot, Alltech, http://www.alltech.com/blog/posts/todays-equine-industry.

[2] Equo, The Horse Industry by the Numbers, Ride with the Quo, Jan 2017, https://www.ridewithequo.com/blog/the-horse-industry-by-the-numbers.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Margaret Evans, The Changing Face of Canada’s Horse Industry, Horse Journals, http://bit.ly/2zfZeVH.

[5] Rural Industries Research and Development Council, The Horse Industry Contributing to the Australian Economy, http://bit.ly/2hLU7W9.

[6] BETA, Market Information, http://www.beta-uk.org/pages/industry-information/market-information.php.

[7] Business World.ie, Horse Industry Worth Over 1.1 Billion to the Irish Economy, October 2015, http://bit.ly/2yPepsO.

[8] PR News Wire, 5 Reasons U.S. Horse & Equine Market Will Finish Strong in 2017, March 2017, http://prn.to/2gpItDM.

[9] FEI Sports Forum, International Movements of Competition Horses, April 2013, http://bit.ly/2zfuWSN.

[10] CNBC,Where have the horses gone? Blame the economy, May 2014, http://cnb.cx/2ywBb7N.

[11] Infomory, Number of horses in the USA, January 2014, http://infomory.com/numbers/number-of-horses-in-the-usa/.

[12] Rural Industries Research and Development Council, The Horse Industry Contributing to the Australian Economy, http://bit.ly/2hLU7W9.

[13] Equo, The Horse Industry by the Numbers.

[14]  Equine Sector Council for Health and Welfare, Equine Sector 2017 General Election Manifesto for the Horse, https://www.bef.co.uk/repository/EquineDevelopment/Mid_Term_Review_Manifesto_for_the_Horse_V7_Jan_2017.pdf

[15] https://www.bef.co.uk/repository/EquineDevelopment/Mid_Term_Review_Manifesto_for_the_Horse_V7_Jan_2017.pdf

[16] National Equestrian Survey 2019

[17] http://www.bef.co.uk/repository/downloads/Horses/Equine_Sector_2015_General_Election__Manifesto_for_the_Horse_V8_3mm.pdf

[18] http://www.bef.co.uk/repository/downloads/Horses/Equine_Sector_2015_General_Election__Manifesto_for_the_Horse_V8_3mm.pdf

[19] http://www.bef.co.uk/repository/downloads/Horses/Equine_Sector_2015_General_Election__Manifesto_for_the_Horse_V8_3mm.pdf

[20] The British Horse Society, The Equine Industry, http://bit.ly/2iiHTbs.

[21] Equo, The Horse Industry by the Numbers.

[22] Horse and Hound, Horse Sport in China, August 2017, http://bit.ly/2ytTOJ7

[23] Equo, The Horse Industry by the Numbers.

Looking to start or grow an equine business? Then you need to join the Equine Business Association today. Click here to find out more about the benefits from joining our fast growing community of equine business owners.

Do you have have a product or service that would benefit our members? With over 18,000 equine businesses in the UK alone, the EBA can get you in front of this large audience.  Contact us today to find out more about partnership & other commercial opportunities.

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