Equestrian Market Analysis


Equestrian Market Analysis




Global horse population is estimated at 58.7 million horses including the different regions as follows:

Though larger horse populations than the EU, similar patterns of development have also been seen in the USA (9’500’000) horses, Canada (963’500) Horses, Australia (300’000) Horses, China (7’402’450) Horses, and Russia (1’319’358) Horses.

Showjumping Market: Another interesting emerging trend is the new and strong entry of China, Brazil, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, and Hungary into the showjumping market. Those countries are expanding their spending on horse-related activities and are building new national sports teams, which will increase the demand for trained sport and leisure jumping horses from Switzerland and the EU.

Such demand for top sport trained horses will most probably favor light blooded horses which are normally easier to ride by less professional or experienced riders.

This trend may not be in favor of the classic relatively heavy German horses unless they adapt quickly to this trend, which is practically difficult due to the fact that breeding takes generations to get the desired results.

World forage trade volumes doubled overnight when the UAE tendered the world to import. From 1.1 million tonnes in 2011 forage imports are expected to reach 3 million tonnes by 2030.

The Middle East, particularly the racing nations of the U.A.E. and the other Gulf States are proving to be successful targets for exporters of racing and endurance related products such as feed, supplements, bedding and saddlery items.

Horse activity is globally managed by about 18’000 agriculture structures of which around 4000 are privately owned.

The horse industry creates 1.4 million jobs in the USA. In Australia, the horse industry is the 3rd largest contributor to the economy. Horse racing is a significant part of the New Zealand economy, which in 2004 generated 1.3% of the GDP.

Over the last ten years, Dubai has benefited from multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments to promote the equestrian market in general and the purebred Arabian horse in particular. Pure Arabian breeds foals may range from USD 30’000 to 150’000.

Show jumping is becoming more and more popular in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, Syria, Egypt, and Morocco. Several princesses, princess, and royalties are strongly supporting the sport.

KSA Show Jumping Team Winning the Bronze in the Olympic Games (On the left HRH. Prince. Bin Miteb)

The most notable supporters are HRH. King Mohammed of Morocco, HRH. Prince. Bin Miteb of KSA, HRH Princess Haya of Jordan, HRH. Al Maktoum of UAE, and HRH Prince Al Thani of Qatar.


The European Market

Equine Impact on EU Economy as per the European Horse Network (EHN):

  • 100 billion euros a year economic impact
  • More than 400 000 direct full-time jobs equivalent provided by the sector
  • 6 million or more horses in Europe
  • 6 million hectares of permanent grassland given over to horse grazing
  • A growing sector: the number of horse riders growing by 5% a year

As an example of alternative use of agricultural land, a horse livery yard has often originally been part of a traditional agricultural enterprise, and later developed for equine use. Standards of horse livery vary, as do prices, based on location and service. Many yards offering livery also provide training for horses and riders.

Apart from livery stables, horse enterprises are generally involved in one of the following specializations:

  • Production and selling horse feed or riding surface materials
  • Training of sport horses
  • Equine tours
  • Riding camps
  • Equipment sales
  • Riding schools
  • Equine transport

While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of the interest in horse racing and economic importance lies in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a world-wide market worth around US$115 billion.

The large interest in horses has also influenced the tourism sector. Horse tours and tourism is especially well established in Ireland and Iceland.

Horse enterprises and their activities are still relatively unknown to the authorities and often run on a part-time basis.

In order to promote small-scale businesses, “horse councils” have been created in different countries within the European Union. They offer horse owners, breeders, horse enterprises, infrastructure planners and equine education, common networks and possibilities to advertise their businesses.

Also, a common organization is often necessary in order to emphasize the economic importance of the horse sector.

In France especially, horse councils have evolved rapidly. In 2006 there were in total 20 horse councils that organized horse businesses and organizations within different regions in France.

A similar horse consulting office is established in Switzerland by the Haras National Suisse under the name of “Bureau de Conseil de Cheval”.


Equestrian Sports


In modern times, after the mechanization of agriculture, you hardly see working horses in farms, but the majority of horses are used for leisure such as riding, hunting, and equine tours.

Horses are becoming more and more the subjects of various artistic projects. The most athletic horses are used as sports horses in the different disciplines including polo, showjumping, racing, trotting, dressage, cross-country and driving.

Horse riding has been historically influenced by the Asians, the Arabs, and later the British, French, Spanish, and German riding schools.

A new internationally emerging trend is influenced by the Americans. New research led by American horsemen and trainers such as; George Morris, Monty Roberts, and Parelli have favored lighter schools of riding with more forward seats which is more similar to the French style as opposed to the German style.

The modern American riding method is increasing demand for light show jumping horses. This will, in turn, put pressure on EU breeding programs especially in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Ireland to breed lighter horses (hot blooded) that better suit the American riding style. Arab riders also prefer lighter and hot-blooded sports horses, which are closer to the nature of their Arabian breeds.

The USA represents an increasing influence due to their strong economic power. The USA is annually increasing its spending on horses.

The Middle East, in particular, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have influenced the prices of elite horses. MENA’s royal families are mainly interested in the disciplines of endurance, beauty, racing, and showjumping. Showjumping is the king discipline.

In addition to training and medicine fees when applicable, training ranges from USD 50 to 200/hour. Accordingly, an average rider competing at the national level spends around 2000-2500/ month, including taxes, supplements, training, transportation, and competition registration fees.


Leave a Comment