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Riding Safely

How big is the horse industry?

The limitations of available data make it difficult to say with any confidence what the

industry is worth. The research showed that the horse industrys gross output3 is

approximately 3.4 billion, but this figure is not very reliable. Further research would

be needed if we wished to arrive at a more reliable figure.


Other estimates derived from existing data are:


  • the horse industry employs 50,000 people directly.
  • It employs an additional 100,000-200,000 people indirectly;
  • 2.4 million people ride;
  • 5 million people have an active interest in the horse industry; 
  • 11 million people have some interest in the industry, including watching horse racing on television; and
  • there are between 600,000 and just under a million horses.


3 In simple terms, this is the market value of total sales of horse-related goods and services produced in Great Britain each year. To give an example, gross output in the car manufacturing industry is what people spend on buying cars and spare parts; gross value added (or GVA) is gross output minus what the car industry buys in from other industries. This is the more useful figure in determining what an industry is worth because it equals the incomes directly earned within it. Unfortunately, we do not have the necessary information to give the GVA of the horse industry.

Defra and the British Horse Industry Confederation
Joint research on the horse industry in Great Britain
Crown copyright 2004

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