In recent months, several surveys have been circulated regarding the U.S. horse industry. The American Horse Council (AHC) wishes to clarify these to avoid confusion and misunderstanding of the data collection methodologies, audiences, and findings. While all the surveys collect and publish data regarding the U.S. horse industry, each survey has different target audiences and different definitions.
AHC Equine Economic Impact Survey
The most comprehensive survey comes from the National Economic Impact of the U.S. Horse Industry conducted by the AHC Foundation which surveys all horse owners and stakeholders in the industry. Typically, this study occurs every five years, and is currently underway through September 29, 2023. The data from this survey is completely anonymous. Conducting an economic impact study creates an awareness of and an interest in the equine industry, helps provide positive relationships, including congressional and media relations, identifies local partners and supporters and offers an opportunity to recognize those relationships, identifies the industry as a player in the local, state and national economy and allows the industry to advertise itself by first identifying its contributions.
This survey differs from the USDA-sponsored National Agriculture Statistic Service census because of the limitations placed on the USDA census. Specialty entities that are being collected through this survey include: carriage operators, equine-assisted therapy groups, equines in academia, racetracks and commissions, and more.
You can find the AHC Equine Economic Impact Survey here: https://horsecouncil.org/economic-impact-study/
USDA, National Animal Health Monitoring System
The USDA, National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) periodically conducts an Equine Needs Assessment Survey to identify key issues and information gaps related to herd health. Currently, NAHMS is doing is in the development stage of the next study and is surveying the equine industry to help shape the study’s objectives. This survey is currently active through October 1, 2023. The full survey will take place in 2026.
USDA, National Agriculture Statistic Service
The USDA, National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS) conducts an agriculture census every five years. This census counts only horses that are on working farms. This definition excludes boarding, training, and riding facilities; as well as any other operation that fails to generate a minimum of $1,000 in sales of equine products, defined as “breeding fees, stud fees, semen or other”. This census misses the majority of the horse population in the United States as well as a majority of the impact horses have on their communities.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) publishes a report on pets called “PetSource”. While horses are defined as “livestock”, the AVMA study does ask owners about all types of animals in their care and thus publishes the number of horses reported and health/veterinary care issues.
AAEP, Equine Network
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) in conjunction with Equine Network publications EquiManagement, The Horse, EQUUS and Horse & Rider just completed a survey of horse owners relating to their experiences with veterinary services and care.
University of Kentucky
Most recently the University of Kentucky has announced an equine health survey for horse owners in the state of Kentucky.
While the number of surveys can seem like overload, it’s important that horse owners and horse-related business owners take the time to complete as many as they can, as each survey can have a positive impact on the equine industry. Having accurate numbers can help support legislation, fund local events and support horses and their owners in a variety of ways.
For more information on the AHC Equine Economic Impact Survey, contact AHC President Julie Broadway: email@example.com.
Contact: Julie Broadway
American Horse Council