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Updated US Horse Demographic Stats Released
 By Winniefield Park   •   30th May 2017   •   938 views   •   0 comments
Updated US Horse Demographic Stats Released

The United States Department of Agriculture has released its Equine2015 reports. The information for the very first of these equine reports was gathered back in 1998. In 2005 another report was released, or rather, series of reports. These reports consist of information gathered across the United States about trends within the horse industry, such as disease control and demographics. For the demographics report, the study gathered information from twenty-eight states. Data was collected from farms that had five or more equids (horses), donkeys or mules. Here’s a look at some of the information gathered.

In the studied states, approximately 67% of the horse facilities had fewer than nine horses. These horses represented 32% of the total population. But 41% of the population were from facilities which kept over twenty horses. The study showed that operations with smaller numbers of horses had horses that were used for personal use, while larger operations were likely to be for boarding or breeding. That’s sort of a no-brainer but it’s important for things like marketing and educating to know who you are focusing on.

The 2015 study showed that the number of horses solely used for pleasure increased by about a percent since the first 1998 study. Since the first study, there has been nearly a 10% decrease in the vaccination rate, especially on smaller operations. Could this be because of ‘anti-vaxxer’ trend, or the relative downturn of the economy over the last few years?

Overall, the life expectancy of a horse seems to be slowly increasing. In the 1998 study, 5.6% of the horse population is over the age of 20. The 2015 statistics show that now, 11.4% is over 20. However, there are fewer horses under the age of five years old. This suggests improved care of older horses, but also, that fewer horses may have been produced in the five years leading to 2015.

The most common cause of death is probably ‘old age’ reported as ‘other’ on the report, followed by colic, cancer, and neurological problems. For horses under one year of age, injury, colic and respiratory illness are the main killers. According to the report, most of us are using informal handwritten notes for our horse’s health records and about a quarter of us keep no records of any type, whether checkbook stubs, a paper based system or computer databases.

It’s no surprise that the American Quarter Horse continues to be the most popular breed, with just under half of the reported horses being QH. A distant second is the Thoroughbred, followed by the Paint Horse and Arabian. Grade horses make up about 4% of the population and it’s obvious that some breeds are more popular in specific areas. For example, draft breeds make up about 15% of the population in the north-eastern states and Tennessee Walkers are about 15% of the population in the south-eastern states. In the west, QHs make up over 50% of the horse population.

These are only a few of the statistics included in these reports. But why do such a report at all? The “Equine15” Reports add to Agricultural Census data that’s been collected since 1850. It provides scientists, veterinarians, marketers, educators and others valuable information about how to target their products, research, education and service. This aids in disease control, biosecurity, and overall animal welfare. The complete report is available in a pdf download at EQUINE15.
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