BETA survey

BETA National Equestrian survey 2011

In 1995 BETA conducted the first independent study of equestrianism in Great Britain, which was then updated and expanded upon in 1999 and 2006. These reports determined the number of riders, horse owners and horses owned amongst the general public and also examined the professional sector in detail. In addition, information was gathered on areas such as riding habits, expenditure, equestrian publications and business characteristics.

The 2011 National Equestrian Survey highlights new spending patterns and changing trends over the past five years. It uses accurate statistics and reliable estimates to present a clear picture of the British equestrian sector. Headline findings include:

  • An estimated 3.5 million people in Britain have ridden during 2010-11. Although this is 19 per cent less than in 2005-6, it is 1.1 million more than in 1998-9.
  • There is increased interest in riding for pleasure, schooling, riding lessons, competition both affiliated and non-affiliated and hunting.
  • About 1.6 million people ride at least once a month, up from 1.4 million in 1998-9 but considerably lower than 2005-6 estimates of 2.1 million.
  • Forty-eight per cent of regular riders are aged 24 and under, but significant growth has appeared among those aged 45 and over.
  • The seasonality of riding has changed, with 98 per cent riding all year round, whereas the figure was only 61 per cent in 1995-6.
  • The main reason given for stopping riding is that it is too expensive a change from 2005-6, when a loss of interest was cited.
  • Forty-two per cent of ex-riders 1.3 million said they planned to ride again in the future.
  • There are an estimated 900,000 privately owned horses and 451,000 horse owners in Britain. This figure rises to just below 1 million when the 88,000 horses owned by the professional sector are added.
  • It is estimated that direct expenditure for the upkeep and care of horses stands at 2.8 billion 3,105 per horse, per annum compared with 2.6 billion in 2005-6.
  • Other costs involved in owning a horse are estimated at 557 million a year, including 191 million spent on footwear and 129 million on riding hats and body protectors.
  • The gross output of the equestrian sector is valued at 3.8 billion a year, lower than previously but reflecting the shrinking consumer market caused by the economic downturn. It is still, however, an extremely large figure in its own right, boosted significantly when other equine-related activities such as racing (an estimated 3.7 billion) and major equestrian events (an estimated 6 million) are factored in.

For more information go to BETA's website

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