01/24/2013 3:52PM

Kentucky equine industry valued at $23.4 billion

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The first phase of the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey estimated the total value of the state’s equine and equine-related assets in 2011 to be about $23.4 billion.

The study estimated a total population of 242,000 equines of all breeds in Kentucky, residing on about 35,000 equine operations, with about 1.1 million acres devoted to equine use.

The estimated value of the state’s equine assets in 2011 was about $6.3 billion; while equine-related assets, such as land, buildings, vehicles, equipment, feed and supplies, and equestrian clothing, totaled about $17.1 billion.

On the income side, sales of horses of all breeds was estimated at a combined $521.1 million. Income from equine-related services, such as breeding, training, boarding, farrier work, transportation, purses and incentives totaled about $491 million, for combined total incomes of roughly $1.1 billion.

Equine-related expenditures in 2011 totaled about $1.2 billion. Capital expenditures were estimated at $337 million, which encompassed purchases of equines and equipment, as well as real estate purchases and improvements; while operating expenditures such as boarding, feed, breeding fees, maintenance, veterinary services, insurance, and various logistical expenses added up to $839 million, of which 77 percent was spent in Kentucky.

Of the major racing breeds, Thoroughbreds were the most prevalent in the state by population, with about 54,000. Quarter Horses ranked second with a population of about 42,000, while Standardbreds finished much lower on the list with about 9,500.

The primary use of Kentucky’s equine population is trail or pleasure riding, with about 79,500. Broodmares ranked second, with about 38,000, though breeds were not specified in the study when tabulating use. Yearlings, weanlings, and foals accounted for about 23,000, while racehorses made up about 15,000 of the population. The study also found approximately 3,900 breeding stallions in Kentucky, across the breeds.

The study was funded by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the Kentucky Horse Council, and various other industry organizations and individuals.
Phase Two of the survey will be released in mid-2013, revealing county-level estimates and economic impact analysis.

To view survey results, click here.