09/06/2013 3:03PM

Study estimates economic impact of equine industry in Kentucky at $3 billion annually


A study conducted by the University of Kentucky has concluded that the equine industry in Kentucky has an approximate annual economic impact of $3 billion, with $1.78 billion of that total comprising direct economic output.

The study, released on Friday and conducted in conjunction with the Kentucky Horse Council, also found that equine-related assets in Kentucky had a value of $23.4 billion, including all horse breeds. Of the 242,000 horses in the state, 54,000 are Thoroughbreds, the study said, the leading breed among all categories, followed by 42,000 Quarter Horses and 36,000 Tennessee Walking Horses.

The study estimated that the equine industry directly accounts for 32,000 jobs in the state. When including indirect economic activity, the number of jobs increases to 40,000.

Although racing activity accounted for only 6,200 jobs, the value of its economic impact was $1.28 billion, according to the study. Breeding accounted for 16,000 jobs, with an economic impact of $710 million.

The study’s authors said that an accurate count of the number of horses in the state had not been conducted since 1977. A previous national study of the racing industry conducted by Deloitte and released in 2005 had estimated that Kentucky had 320,000 horses and accounted for as many as 95,000 jobs when indirect spending was included.

Methodologies used to determine economic impact vary significantly from study to study. The Deloitte study was also conducted prior to the recession that occurred in 2008, which had a significant negative on the racing and breeding industries