The Horse Industry by the Numbers

Last Updated on March 11, 2022 by Allison Price

It is difficult to get quick and accurate answers to the question “How many horses are in the US?” The US Department of Agriculture runs a census every five years through the National Agricultural Statistics Service division. Although the data is limited, they are the most reliable.

Horse industry supports many activities. It is divided into two segments: the urban segment (horse racing and horse shows), and the rural segment (training, riding, breeding, and maintaining horses). These two segments together make up the majority of the country’s equine population. Other smaller groups include micro farms, police, traveling circuses, petting Zoos, and other small organizations.

Horse Industry

How Many Horses Are There in America?

According to the American Horse Council Foundation’s recent study, 9.2 million horses are currently owned. This includes commercial and recreational horses. Of the total 3.91M, 2.72M are used for show, 1.75M is used for other activities such as farm work, polo and police work. Racing is a popular activity, with 840K being used. Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture has very different numbers, American Veterinary Associations generally agree that their research methods were extremely limited.


  • American Quarter Horse 3.10M
  • Thoroughbred: 1.29M
  • Other: 4.64M

2014 New Breed Registrations According to the AAEP

  • Quarter Horse: 263,528
  • Paint: 50,211
  • Arabian: 22,433
  • Standardbred: 17,500
  • Appaloosa: 12,096
  • Tennessee Walking: 5,912
  • Miniature Horse: 5,028
  • Morgan Horse: 6,032
  • Pinto: 7,200
  • Saddlebred: 6,562
  • Paso Fino: 3264


  • Texas: 1,000,000
  • California: 700,000
  • Florida: 500,000
  • Oklahoma: 326,000
  • Kentucky: 320,000
  • Ohio: 307,000
  • Missouri: 281,000
  • North Carolina: 256,000
  • Colorado: 256,000
  • Pennsylvania: 256,000


The United States has approximately 2 million horse owners. There are 7.1 million Americans involved in the industry as employees, volunteers, service providers, owners and employees.


  • Gender: Mostly females
  • Age range: 38 to 45
  • Employment Status: employed
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Urban or rural?

Household Income:

  • *Median income: $60,000
  • <$25,000:14%
    <$50,000: 38%
  • <$75,000: 64%
  • >$75,000: 36%

Owner Activities:

  • Recreational Rider: 85%
  • Competitive Rider 30%
  • Horse breeding: 11%
  • Horse Facility Manager: 10%
  • Grooming and exercise: 9%
  • Professional trainers
  • Owner of Racehorse: 2%


The American horse industry has a greater impact on the economy than railroad transportation, motion picture services, furniture and fixture production, and cigarettes. More than 700,000 people are directly employed in the industry. These positions include 450 000 full-time equivalent jobs and the remainder are part-time or seasonal.

  • The Total Impact on GDP: $101.5B
  • Annual Sales of Goods and Services: $38.8B

GDP by Activity:

  • Racing: $10.6B
  • Showing: $10.8B
  • Recreation: $11.8B
  • Other: $11.8B
  • TOTAL: $38.8B


The industry has paid $1.9 billion in taxes to the federal, state, and local governments

  • Federal – $588
  • State – $1.017
  • Local – $275
Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!