Facts and Figures
- The equine industry as a whole provides direct and indirect employment to between 220 – 270,000 people – equalling, if not exceeding, those employed by farming.
- Horse Riding is more popular than rugby, fishing, or cricket in the UK.
- Horseracing is Britain’s second most popular spectator sport, with over 6m racegoers each year.
- The UK boasts a world-class, multi-million-pound equestrian export industry
- Britain's equine Industry has a combined economic impact of £7bn, over half of which derives from horseracing
- Riders: There are 4.3m riders in Great Britain, with over 2m of these riding at least once a month.
- Economic Impact: Riding supports thousands of small businesses providing over 48,000 full-time jobs, and riders contribute around £4.3bn to the Treasury each year through tax.
- Who rides? Horse riding is a sport that impacts a broad range of communities. Far from being a hobby enjoyed by those with affluent backgrounds, a quarter of horse riders earn less than £10,000 a year. The ratio of urban to rural horse riders is around 50:50
- Olympics: Britain excels at equestrian sport, and British riders will be hoping to dominate the medals at the London Olympics in 2012
- Economic Impact: The economic impact of racing is at least £3.7bn and the activity generates £325m in taxation revenue. At least £10bn is bet on races each year, with bookmakers generating a gross win in excess £1bn in profit.
- Employment: Racing provides around 20,000 direct full-time jobs and 70,000 indirect full-time jobs.
- Wider Impact: Racing makes a significant cultural and charitable contribution to Britain. Over 180 charity racedays are run by the UK’s 60 racecourses each year, raising at least £1.8m each year. Over 55,000 children have developed their skills in maths, literacy and science through the Racing to School programme in the past nine years.
Caring for Horses
- Horse Numbers: There are around 1m horses and ponies kept by over 550,000 horse owners or primary carers. 1.36m passport records have been supplied to the National Equine Database.
- Veterinary Expertise. The UK has a world leading equine veterinary profession There are 17,260 registered practising vets in the UK, 86% of which are in General Practice. 9% of UK vets time is spent on equine work and 18% of respondents to a recent Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' survey stated that the horse was their primary area of expertise.
- Equine Health: Total spend on equine healthcare per annum is £344m of which £254m is veterinary fees. This equates to an average annual spend on equine healthcare of £280 per horse. 74% of horse owners will pay vets fees each year.
- Tackling Disease: The horse racing industry contributes around £750,000 per year to central funding aimed at preventing and controlling infectious diseases.
- Thriving Businesses: There are more than 19,000 businesses providing employment for at least 28,500 people on a full time basis. Access to the countryside is key for these businesses – for many the Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials provide over half of their annual turnover.
- Creative Input: There are nearly 100 specialist equestrian magazines servicing the market, covering specific disciplines (British Dressage), services, (Trainer Magazine) and general activities (Horse & Rider)
- Exports: The UK equestrian exports industry has seen huge growth in recent years – estimated to be around 30-50%.
See the BHIC document: The Size and Scope of the British Horse Sector
Download the latest economic impact survey of British horseracing.
The Henley centre report of research on the horse industry in Great Britain 2003. This 107 page report commissioned by DEFRA and the BHIC aimed to establish a base-line for the industry and a sizing of the industry given available data sources. It also investigated predominant strategic issues for the industry over the next ten years which were crucial in the first stages of drawing up the Horse Industry Strategy and Action Plan (PDF, 1MB). You may also view the press release.
‡ BHB data Download the full Henley Report (PDF, 0.8MB)