By Tania Millen
According to a report commissioned by Equestrian Canada and completed by Wilton Consulting Group and Serecon in 2023, Canadians spent over $8.3 billion on buildings, fences, equipment, feed, bedding, veterinary and farrier care, travel, tack, insurance and other products and services for their horses in 2022. That included over $1.1 billion on feed, $900 million on travel and $850 million in veterinary care. Overall, Canada’s horse industry provided more than $8.69 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product in 2022.
This is good news for businesses seeking new markets or trying to tailor products and services to horse industry clientele. The following findings can help, too.
Those who completed the project’s online survey were primarily women (89%), tended to have higher incomes than most Canadians, and were well educated (53% had a bachelor degree or more). Of those surveyed, 69% were recreational participants and 61% were amateur competitors. The cost of purchasing a recreational horse averaged $14,417 across Canada while sport horses averaged $21,201 for amateur competitors, $32,690 for professionals and $56,840 for elite riders. It cost an average of $15,270 to keep one horse in Canada, in 2022.
This hard data can assist businesses in tailoring marketing efforts. Understanding where clientele reside and their riding preferences can further assist.
In 2022, Alberta was Canada’s horse capital, housing 37% of the country’s more than half-million equines. Ontario (25%) and Saskatchewan (13%) had the next-largest herds. Almost one-third (28%) of Canada’s horses are primarily used for recreation, one quarter are used for amateur sport, and 19% are working animals. Over one-third of Canada’s horses (36%) are used for amateur, professional or elite sports.
In 2022, almost three-quarters (73%) of Canadian horse owners had a horse trailer. Recreational participants travelled over 5,000 kilometres on average while elite sport participants from some provinces travelled over 30,000 kilometres in 2022. Of the more than $662 million that equestrian participants spent at equestrian events and competitions in 2022, 95% was spent on food and accommodation while attending events. The report subsequently found that equine sport venues drive rural Canadian economies.
All of that suggests there are opportunities to provide feed, travel and veterinary-related products and services—plus many others—to well-heeled women riding recreationally and at amateur sport levels across Canada. Those aren’t the only opportunities. But they’re a starting point for equestrian-related businesses seeking to understand the Canadian horse industry marketplace.
For additional information or help targeting desired clientele, please contact Horse Community Journals Inc.
Horse Community Journals Inc. proudly serves all sectors of Canada’s horse community by publishing original, award-winning, high-calibre news and investigative journalism. Titles include Canadian Horse Journal, Canada’s Equine Guide, HORSEJournals.com, The Hoofbeat E-Newsletter.