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Economic Horse Fact #4

Economic horse fact #4 from Cook CPA Group's equine business experts. Equine business facts from the experts at Cook CPA Group include breed statistics and an overview of challenges in the industry.

We’ve talked about the humans and dollars. Now we will take a look at breed, discipline and other trends.

  • While breed registration statistics not available for all breeds, there may be some trends that will be similar for your breed.

Quarter horses are the top breed in breed registrations. From a peek of about 160,000 in 2005 to a decline to 140,000 in 2007. Paints also had a large spike in 2000 for breed registrations of 60,000 which declined to 30,000 in 2007. Since 1995, thoroughbreds have remained rather constant at about 30,000. Standardbreds and Arabians have been on a consistent with a slight uptick in 2005 to slight decline in 2007 with breed registrations of about 15,000 and 10,000, respectively. Since 2005, most breeds are trending down in breed registrations. I suspect this trend will continue for while due to the unwanted horse issue and economy. It will be interesting to see how the breed organizations look to manage “supply” in the future if the demand increases.

  • The largest competition activity (by USEF membership) is hunter/jumper, endurance, dressage and then western sports. Endurance is becoming more popular and eventing is slightly increasing. The western sports may not be fairly represented as they have other membership opportunities and is obviously a significant aspect of horse sports in California. With reining recently approved by the USEF, its membership should increase. These statistics along with age and income (see previous posts) are great measures to help you modify your business plan.
  • What do your customers or colleagues think are some of the challenges faces the horse industry? In a 2010 survey of horse owners, over 60% said the greatest concern was unwanted horses and what to do with them. The second highest concern was about 42% the increasing cost of owning a horse. At 35%, the third highest concern, was concern about the loss of trails and riding areas. Finally, two tied at 30% – owners who do not understand horses and the loss of the slaughter option. 30% is quite a significant number and poses two good opportunities for the industry to address as they seem very correlated to the first concern at 60%. Do you agree with those concerns?

Often, perceived challenges or weaknesses can become opportunities once an approach is designed to address those areas. These series of economic posts have been designed to provide relevant facts to help you focus on opportunities and understand how to be more profitable. We hope our forums will provide you the tools to make those changes. Feel free to contact us to help you prepare for the economic recovery.

Much appreciation to Gerri Brown, PhD, of UC Davis for her wonderful job gathering these facts for us to us. Thank you Gerri!