Horse industry statistics
According to the American Horse Council, the horse industry supports 1.4 million jobs and contributes $39 billion in direct economic impact to the U.S. economy ($102 billion indirect impact). The horse population in the U.S. is approximately 9.2 million. The National Economic Impact of the U.S. Horse Industry study broke the data down into the following:
Of the 4.6 million involved in the horse industry, 2 million are horse owners who are involved in the following:
Of these 2 million horse owners, more than 70 percent live in communities of 50,000 or less. There’s a great disparity among horse owners. Approximately 34 percent have an annual household income of less than $50,000, whereas 28 percent have an income of $100,000 or more. This wide disparity in income disproves the common belief that horse ownership is only for the wealthy.
The horse industry directly employs 701,946 people (full-time, part-time and seasonal), which equates to 453,612 full-time equivalent jobs. These direct full-time equivalent jobs are in the following segments of the horse industry:
There are more than 25,000 farriers in the U.S. In contrast, the UK, with a population one-fifth of the United States’ has one-tenth the number of farriers (2,500) because the government legislated registration process makes it legally mandatory for farriers to register before performing farriery work.
In general, countries where farriery is unregulated (anywhere but the UK), there will be more farriers. Though this statistic would suggest that farriers in the UK would be in much higher demand than in other countries, the answer is not so simple. Yes, UK farriers are in high demand because there aren’t so many of them and the certification process they went through acts as a stamp of approval, which makes horse owners more trusting of their services, but farriers in other countries are also in high demand if their experience and training proves them out.
Farriers work with all different horses—racing, showing, recreation, etc.—all across the country, wherever people own horses. Using the statistics for the U.S. as an example, of the 700,000 who are employed in the horse industry, farriers represent 3.5 percent of the total population.
So now you know where you stand in the horse industry. Hopefully this information helps give you an idea of the horse industry as a whole. Next, we’ll apply some of these statistics to learn about farrier incomes and to discover where farriers can expect to find the highest and lowest salaries.