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Riding Safely

What is the horse industry?

The research divides the horse industry into two parts. For the sake of simplicity, we might describe these as:

  • activities based on the use, possession or ownership of horses (the core); and

  • of equal importance, suppliers of horse-related goods and services for those core activities. 

Activities forming the core part of the industry range from professional through to leisure. In between lie many semi-professional riders, and participants whose interest is split between earning a living and pure leisure activity.


The industry core caters directly for the needs of consumers. The activities geared toward professional riders include commercial breeders, affiliated sports, trainers and racing. The leisure-orientated activities include the provision of riding lessons and hacking, unaffiliated sports and tourist attractions.


The other part of the industry is made up of organisations that supply goods and services to the core. Examples include farriery, feed, equine medicine, livery yards, racecourses, tack, training and feed supply.


Below is a diagram showing how the various parts of the industry relate to each other.

how the various parts of the industry relate

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

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