There are about 5,000 individual horses racing in the US with the annual US Equine Industry Convention being held annually from April to November. For example, in 2010 (the most recent year available), the number was 19,067; this represents a total worldwide attendance of 7,937. The most recent year for which USHPC data are available is 2010, with 5,738 USHPC attendances (up from 4,934 attendance in 2009), representing an average attendance of 9,828/race.
The National Horse Racing Calendar, issued to the National Horse Racing Foundation (NRFRF) on July 1, 2010, indicates the number of races for that year, based on what the National Horse Racing Foundation has stated about the size of the US horse racing industry in the past (which is not currently known).
For example, in 2007, there were 11 races reported and in 2008, there were 14 races listed. In 2013, there were 18 races included (and in 2014 there were 17 races listed). The NRFRF will probably change the dates to take into account a growing industry of horses that are not traditionally reported on the calendar, which may require a different listing of USHPC races.
How big is the US horse racing industry?
According to a USHPC study published in the January 2010 issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science:
“Each year approximately 2.8 million horses are exposed to the stress of racing under human-directed pressure. Most of these horses enter the racing industry in small amounts, but several thousand may be involved in a large-scale racing operation. As such 1,200 horses racing in total, or roughly one quarter of U.S. horses racing, are employed for sport or entertainment purposes, and many of the others are trained and employed as race horses. As of the first quarter of 2013, approximately 3.2 million horses were involved in race operations in the United States.
“Horse racing represents only a portion of the annual industry expenditure associated with the activity.”
The USHPC data listed above is consistent with the 2008 NSF study that showed the US horse racing industry was $4.2 billion USD in 2008.
Is the American horse industry a “significant” industry?
Yes. According to USHPC statistics released in 2007, there were over 5.6 million (2.9%) horses in competition at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and at the 2008 Pan Am Games in
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