The Economics of Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   2nd Jun 2018   •   608 views   •   0 comments
The Economics of Horses

What do horses contribute to our economics? The numbers differ from country to country and of course, change quickly. In Canada, tracks are closing down, and that affects everyone from those who train and care for the animals, to the off-track bettors that will spend their money elsewhere. So off I go with my faulty math skills, to take a look at the economic contribution of the horse world. The horse industry is considered part of the agricultural sector, but its reach is much further with spectators and numerous unpaid labors and volunteers. In fact, unpaid may exceed paid labor in a great number of cases.

A 2017 study of the horse industry by the American Horse Council found that the horse industry has a $50 billion impact on the overall economy in the United States. This did not take into account the spending of race and competition fans outside the actual events they attended. Calculating this, of course, would result in a much higher impact. The study also cites that 988,394 million people in the U.S. work in the horse industry. Tens of millions more participate as spectators. Wages and benefits earned in the horse industry exceed $38 billion dollars.

Although the racing segment of the industry only accounts for 844,531 horses, it generates $101.5 billion to the economy and provides about 85,000 jobs out of a total 454,000 jobs industry wide. By comparison, the automotive manufacturing provided just over 200,000 jobs.

It isnít unusual for there to be an attitude that horses are a rich person's pastime. But the statistics in North American donít support this. Only 28% of us have a household income that is more than $100,000 per year. 34% of us have an annual income of less than $50,000.

A 2017 Australian survey suggests that their horse industry contributes $1.14 billion to the gross domestic product yearly through the horse related business activities, events and horse care. This is almost equivalent to the entire livestock industry in that country.

In Canada it was estimated that in 2010, the horse industry contributed $19 billion annually to the Canadian economy and generates about 76,000 full-time jobs. Most of these jobs however, are minimum wage employment. By far the greatest expenditure in the horse industry after buying a property on which to keep horses, and paid farm labor, is for hay. $484,135,507 is spent on hay in Canada each. Coaching Is the next largest expenditure, with roughly 7.2 million dollars spent each year. The purchase of tack generated about $83,891,797.

In all countries, volunteers are essential and provide an uncalculated service to the horse industry. Another uncalculated value is the unpaid labor provided by family and friends. In Canada, this is valued at $4,839,125,536 per year.

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