U.S. Horseback Riders: Western-style Riding Demographics
There appears to be a lack of quantitative information in the public domain specifically relating to Western-style horseback riders in the United States. An extensive search for publicly available, industry-specific studies and reports was done to provide data directly relating to Western-style, but there were several areas where only qualitative data were available, or data relating to both English and Western-style combined as detailed below.
- In a 2018 survey, a higher percentage of respondents from the western side of the U.S. reported participating in mainly Western disciplines.
- Entering "Western riding" into Google Trends shows that over the last two years this topic has been searched for most often in Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Ohio, corroborating the previous point.
- This information was only available in terms of horse owners within the equestrian industry as a whole, with the 2018 survey indicating that 70.5% of horse owners are over 45.
- In 2018, 92.6% of all horse owners surveyed were female.
- High-level Western-style rodeo competitions are mostly dominated by men.
- However, the list of winners from the 2018 Interscholastic Equestrian Association Western National Finals implies (from the large proportion of female names) that school-age girls are well able to win in Western-style riding competitions.
- Although this data was unavailable for Western-style riders specifically, a 2018 survey report revealed that those in the highest income bracket, that is over $150,000 per annum, owned the most horses on average.
News Sources regarding HORSES AND HORSE PRODUCTS
- The number one bestselling equestrian magazine on Amazon is Young Rider, which covers both Western and English riding styles.
- Horse & Rider is the number two best-selling equestrian magazine on Amazon and focuses on Western riding.
- Horse Illustrated is the number four best-selling equestrian magazine on Amazon and discusses training horses in both the Western and English styles.
TYPES OF HORSEBACK RIDING ACTIVITIES
- Cutting, reining, rodeo, and roping were listed as Western disciplines in a 2018 survey.
- In a 2014 survey, those who rode Western-style reported that they most often competed in barrel racing, pleasure, and trail events.
To identify studies which might have offered clear data on Western-style horseback riding in the U.S., we searched industry-specific associations, including the American Horse Council and the Western section of the United States Equestrian Federation. We found a 2017 National Equine Economic Impact Study which could contain relevant information but it was behind a paywall. We also found a 2018 American Horse Publications (AHP) Equine Industry Survey which provided insights into the entire equestrian industry rather than the Western-specific element. Using Google Trends to track searches over the past two years on the topic "Western riding" enabled us to back up the comment made in this survey about the location of Western riders within the U.S. as being based in the western part of the U.S. Much of the data in the survey related to owners rather than riders, and we have assumed those figures as proxies for percentages of those participating in Western-style riding.
The next approach was to find lists of Western-riding competition winners hoping to use the data to create a clearer demographic picture. Although we found both examples of girls dominating at the 2018 IEA Western national finals and evidence that it is predominantly men who enter and win adult rodeo events, we found no hard data related to the requested information.
To determine where this population get their news for horses and horse products relating to Western-style riding, we search for related blogs, expert analysis, and articles. No relevant information was available. Hence, we proceeded to search for Amazon's bestselling equestrian magazines as those most purchased and read by horse lovers. We then searched the description of the top four magazines to establish whether they covered Western as well as English riding.