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How Many Horses are There In The World
 By Winniefield Park   •   27th Sep 2013   •   9,298 views   •   1 comments
How Many Horses are There In The World

It's a little sobering to think that without human intervention, the modern horse might be extinct. The last truly wild horse, the Prezwalski Horse was grasped from the brink of extinction only a short time ago. However, genetically, this last real wild horse is not identical to the horse you may have in your back pasture. A June 2013 scientific study reported that Prezwalski's Horses deviated from other horse types about 43,000 years ago, and no other wild modern horse types still exist. That means, human husbandry is responsible for almost all of the horses now in existence. And, considering the numbers, domestic horses are in no danger of extinction.

Statistics are tricky, because it's difficult to get a completely accurate snapshot of the horse population at any given time. And different reports rely on data collected in different ways, with different criteria. For example, a farm census may not include backyard horses that aren't being kept in a facility that produces an 'agricultural product'.

United States
The exact number of horses in the USA varies depending on the statistics you look at. The National AG Statistics Service of the USDA, claims there are around 5 million horses. The American Horse Council Reports that there are 9.3 million horses in the USA. According to this report, the three states with the highest number of horses are Texas with 979,000, California with 700,00, and 500,000 in Florida. The state with the fewest horses? Alaska, with just over 2000 hardy equines living in this state. Most states report that 60% to 70% of these horses are used for showing and recreation. Yet another report, U.S. Equine Market: Feed, Health Care and Services for Horses, states there are 10.5 million equines in the United States. Considering that the USDA relies on a farm census, The American Horse Council and U.S. Equine Market reports are probably closer to the mark in including all horses, whether deemed an agricultural product or not.

Canada
As of 2010, Equine Canada reported there were 963,500 horses. This is a decrease since 2005, when 1,092,46 were reported. Alberta and Ontario have the largest number of horses, while the island provinces of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island reported just over 1000 horses each.

Australia
The RIRDC Horse Program reports that the number of horses in Australia is 1.2 million. Of these, Thoroughbreds for racing make up a large part of that number. FAOSTAT reports numbers are closer to 2 million.

United Kingdom
A report by the British Equestrian Trade Association states there are 1.3 million horses in the UK. Of these, the 2006 survey found that 900,000 of these horses were privately owned. The racing industry in Britain, as in other countries, contributes significantly to the population and of course, to the economy.

Worldwide, according to a 2006 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAOSTAT) report, there are about 58 million horses. Because of how the reporting in many countries is done, this number could be higher. The figure also doesn't include horse relatives such as donkeys and mules, which may be used for the same purposes as horses.

Image Credit: © Tandemich | Dreamstime.com
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