Texas survey seeks answers on impact of horse industry


Texas horse owners are being asked to complete an online survey, the findings of which will guide policies and industry direction in the state.

It is the first major economic impact study of the state’s horse industry in more than a decade.

The survey asks about horse ownership, participation in horse-related activities, boarding facilities, and horse-related spending.

Owners of businesses that serve horse owners, such as feed stores, training facilities, farriers, and veterinarians, are also invited to take part.

“The purpose of this study is to gather information about respondents’ horses and facilities, demographics, participation in the industry, horse-related expenditures and economic impacts,” said Dr James Heird, executive professor and coordinator of the equine initiative at Texas A&M University in College Station.

“Results of this study will be used by industry representatives, the Texas Department of Agriculture and other policy makers to respond to current needs of the state’s horse owners and related businesses.”

The survey will run until May 1. Participants must be aged at least 18.

The Texas Department of Agriculture along with industry professionals are sponsoring the study through the Texas A&M Equine Initiative to identify trends and issues in the Texas equine industry and to document the industry’s contribution to the state economy.

Studies by other researchers in 1998 and 2005 found that Texas was home to more horses than any other US state and the horse industry was an important contributor to the state’s economy.

The current study will reflect changes within the industry and the statewide economy over the past 20 years.

Heird said a 2005 American Horse Council Foundation study found that Texas ranked first among US states in the number of horses, and that the Texas horse industry had a direct economic impact of $US3 billion and an overall economic impact of $US5.2 billion.

A comprehensive economic impact study on Texas’ equine industry has not been done since 2005, prompting a new survey to collect the most recent information, according to survey organizers.

The survey can be accessed here.

• Also in Texas, Brazos Valley horse owners and enthusiasts are encouraged to attend the Keeping a Happy, Healthy Horse program scheduled for March 22 at the Thomas G. Hildebrand ‘56 Equine Complex on the Texas A&M University campus. The program is hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Brazos Extension Horse Committee.

The workshop will begin with registration at 5.30pm, followed by a dinner at 6pm and speaker sessions at 6.30pm. There is no cost to attend if the RSVP is received by March 18 by calling 979-823-0129. Thereafter, a $US10 late registration fee will be charged at the door.

Topics include caring for the aging horse, mule and donkey training and care, packing and camping with your equine, and how the AgriLife Extension county office can help.

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