UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s equine industry has made a prominent contribution to the Commonwealth through agriculture and recreation. Knowledge of the current size and character of the Pennsylvania equine industry is essential to help shape the future of this industry.
The Pennsylvania Equine Council is excited to share in the announcement of the results of the American Horse Council’s Pennsylvania State Specific Equine Survey. There were only 15 state specific surveys completed as a part of the American Horse Council’s National Survey and Pennsylvania’s was primarily made possible through the financial support of the Pennsylvania Equine Council.
The horse industry is a diverse, broad-based activity with stakeholders that range from track owners to Olympic riders to large numbers of recreational and show horse riders; from small acreage owners to moderate and low-income families. Involvement in the horse industry is not based on any one demographic group. A horse can fit into any type of lifestyle and horse owners are very diverse.
In 2016, there were 223,628 horses, mules, donkeys and burros raised on locations across Pennsylvania. There are an estimated 7.2 million equids in the United States and Pennsylvania ranks 6th in the nation, up from a ranking of ninth in the 2005 American Horse Council Study.
Equine owners devote 793,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania for equine purposes with associated assets annually totaling nearly $1.7 billion (GDP). In addition, a total value added of $3.3 billion contributed to Pennsylvania by the equine community. Overall, the equine industry provides 43,114 direct employment positions and 60,133 total employment impact jobs to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In total, 30.5 percent of Pennsylvania households or 1.6 million, contain horse enthusiasts. Horse ownership tends to be skewed toward older age groups. Participation in horse events is skewed toward youth. Minors comprise 38 percent of horse participants, whereas the under 18 age cohort represents only 23 percent of the U.S. population. This bodes well for the future of the industry.
Trail riding is a main equine recreational activity and 512,000 households ride horses for recreation, while 87 percent reported to utilize public lands. And 430,000 Pennsylvania households take horseback riding lessons.
“The project has assessed the composition and nature of Pennsylvania’s horse industry including its direct and indirect impact on the state’s economy through sales, employment and taxes and its less tangible contributions to the quality of life of equine owners and participants in equine activities,” said Bud Wills, acting Pennsylvania Equine Council president.
The Pennsylvania state breakout survey was made possible and funded by the Pennsylvania Equine Council and supported by the PA Livestock Association. Census forms were mailed by the Innovation Group, New Orleans, contracted by the American Horse Council, Washington, this past summer to national and Pennsylvania horse owners and stable operators in all segments of the industry. The results reflect the number of equine animals in Pennsylvania in 2017 and expenses and assets during the previous year.
The state breakouts, along with the National Economic Impact Study, can be purchased on the AHC’s website at http://www.horsecouncil.org/horsecouncil-publications/. If you have any questions, please contact the Pennsylvania Equine Council. To learn more about the Pennsylvania Equine Council and how PEC promotes the horse community contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.pennsylvaniaequinecouncil.org.
— Pennsylvania Equine Council