Neely Heidorn | 10/22/2010 12:11:20 AM
The horse industry is an important component of the agricultural economy of Louisiana. In 2009, 203,159 horses were owned by an estimated 48,883 people, a slight (2 percent) increase from 2008. The horse industry has three sectors – 30 percent of it involves racing, 15 percent show or competition and 55 percent recreational horse owners.
The race horse industry was made up of 1,438 breeders who own 13,800 mares that produced 10,385 foals that were sold in 2009 for $83 million. A total of 304 breeders own 1,456 stallions that were bred to 13,924 mares, generating income from stud fees of $34.8 million. The total gross farm income generated from race horse production was $117.8 million.
An additional 2,585 race horse owners owned 15,330 race horses in training or on the track with a gross farm value of $183.9 million. The gross farm value of the entire race sector (owners and breeder activities) of the horse industry in 2009 was $301.7 million. This was up 9 percent from 2008 and could be associated with the race industry's improved incentive fund program, which has promoted more breeding of horses and horses being trained by owners within Louisiana.
The show and competition horse industry (horse shows, barrel racing, cutting, roping, team penning and others) is composed of 2,994 breeders who own 9,287 mares which produced 6,353 foals that were sold for $25.4 million. These breeders own 1,115 stallions which bred to 5,547 mares, generating $8.3 million in income from stud fees. The total income generated from show and competition horse production was $33.7 million.
Another 4,770 owners compete on their 13,478 horses, which had a gross farm value of $67.4 million. The total gross farm value of the show and competition sector of the horse industry was $101.1 million. This total was down 9 percent from last year and could be the result of higher fuel and feed cost experienced during 2009.
A large portion of the horse industry was recreational. The horse has been used for comfort, exercise and enjoyment for quite some time. Approximately 30 percent (10,350) of the recreational horse owners bred 24,498 mares and sold 14,201 foals in 2009 for $21.3 million. These horse enthusiasts owned 2,633 stallions, which were bred to 9,014 mares generating income from stud fees of $4.5 million. The total income from production in the recreational horse industry was $25.8 million in 2009. Another 26,442 recreational horse owners have 62,111 horses valued at $93.1 million. The total economic contribution of the recreational horse industry is $118.9 million.
A total of 203,159 horses are owned by 48,883 people in Louisiana. These horses had a gross farm value of $521.6 million in 2009. The average horse owner spends about $4,000 annually on feed, tack, equipment, veterinary supplies and medicines. This results in an estimated expenditure of $828 million on horses and a total economic impact of $1.95 billion.
In addition to the value of horses produced and maintained in Louisiana, the activities of the horse industry generate a tremendous cash flow for the state. The four racetracks employ 3,000 people and generate expenditures of $1 billion each year. The show and competition industry conducts an estimated 500 activities per year and generates $20 million in expenditures. With the value of horses, expenditures on horses and the activities in which they engage, the economic impact of the horse industry is estimated at $2.4 billion per year. This value coincides with a recent study by the American Horse Council that estimated the Louisiana horse industry generated $2.45 billion per year in economic impact.