The More You Know: The Horse Industry in the USA in Numbers

Some useful, educational numbers on Horses in the USA

Economic Impact:

Horse industries, either directly or indirectly, prove to be over a 100 billion dollar industry in America.

1.4 million jobs are created from the Horse Industry.

4.6 million people are involved as owners, service providers, employees and volunteers.

The people:

2 million people own horses.

How many Horses?

There are approx. 9.2 million horses in the USA as of 2016.
(This is up from 2.12 million in 1992, obviously down from 26,493,000 in 1915)

What do the horses do?

Are for Recreation- 3,906,923

Show – 2,718,954

Race – 844,531

Other- 1,752, 439

Estimated number of horses by breed:

Quarter Horse- 3,288,203
(there were over 260k members with AQHA in 2015, and the organization estimated almost 700k people are QH owners in America.)

Thoroughbred- 1,291,807

Other Breeds, Crosses, Grades – 4,642,739

(Most of the numbers above are figures from the Horse Council except for AQHA membership info in parathases)

How many are born each year?

Approx 280k foals were born in the US and registered in 2005 of the following breeds: QHs, Paints, TBs, Arabians, Appaloosas, Standardbreds, TWHs, Saddlebreds and Morgans. The first 3 breeds being, by far, the leaders of registered foals born.

20,850 foals were born in the U.S. in 2016 TB

Leading Health Issues:

Colic is, by far, at over 30%, the leading cause of death in horses from 1 to 20 years of age. Trauma is around 16%. Cancer is around 13%.

The overall annual mortality rate for equines from a 2015 study was 1.4 percent, so around 129,000.

Slaughter Impact on Population:

Under 1.5% of horses in the USA are slaughtered yearly right now, and that number has been fairly steady for a long time.

125,608 Horses were estimated to have been shipped over our borders for slaughter in 2016
(This number has been between 79,815 and 166,572 since 1993, and pre 2006, those numbers include totals from those processed in the USA and over the border shipments).


As few as 10,000k horses were adopted last year.


This is a figure we’ve been unable to ascertain.

Numbers taken from sources such as The American Horse Council, The Right Horse, The breed registries annual reports, awionline and

“It is the absence of facts that frightens people.”
— Hilary Mantel

14 thoughts on “The More You Know: The Horse Industry in the USA in Numbers

  1. I thought there were a lot more horse owners than two million, considering the population of the United States. A little surprising to me. Thanks for sharing this research.

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