U.S. Horseback Riders

Part
01
of four
Part
01

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.

Residence

  • 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.

AGE RANGE

  • 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.

GENDER BREAKDOWN

  • 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.

INCOME RANGE

  • 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

RESEARCH STRATEGY

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.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

U.S. Horseback Riders: English-style Riding Demographics

There is no evidence that information exists in the public domain to create a demographic profile of English-style horse riders in the United States. As per an investigation of publicly available studies and reports pertinent to the horse-riding industry specific to riding types and the riders that choose them, only data related to horse owners as a whole was available in the public domain. There is nothing specific to the demographics of riders of English-style riders. Thus, the research revealed that in the US, 35% of horse owners take part in competitive riding while 65% of them ride for fun with about 70% of them leaving in rural areas of less than 50,000 people. Also, 3 out of 4 riders in the US are female, and about 8% of horse riders in the United States consider themselves disabled in some way.

HELPFUL RESEARCH FINDINGS

  • According to a report by Ride With Equo, there were 9.2 million horses in the US used for recreational and commercial purposes in 2017.
  • Among the total number of horses in the US in 2017, 3.9 million were used for recreational purposes, 2.72 million for showing, 1.75 million for other activities, which included farm work, polo, rodeo, police work, and others, while about 840 thousand were used for racing, as per a report by Ride With Equo.
  • As per Ride With Equo's report, the states with the highest number of horses in the US are Texas, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. This information is an indication that horse riders in the United States may be more resident in these areas.
  • As of 2017, there were 2 million horse owners in the US with a median annual income of $60,000 and between the age range of 38 – 45.
  • According to a report by Karina Brez Jewelry, 35% of horse owners take part in competitive riding while 65% of them ride for fun.
  • As per a report by Karina Brez Jewelry, 3 out of 4 riders in the US are female, and about 8% of horse riders in the United States consider themselves disabled in some way.
  • According to Top50 Ranches' report, many riders consider the English saddle to be the most comfortable place in the world.
  • About 70% of horse owners in the United States leave in rural areas of less than 50,000 people, according to a report by The Equestrian Channel. This information indicates that horse owners in the US that also ride are likely to leave in rural areas, too.
  • In the United States, the overall horse industry contributes about $50 billion to the country's economy, as well as 988,394 jobs and $38 billion in direct salaries, wages, and benefits, as per a study by the American Horse Council.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

To identify studies and reports with insights into the demographic profile of English-style riders in the US, we began by researching relevant horse association domains, as well as research websites such as the American Horse Council, Statista, Equine Business Association, The Equestrian Channel, and others. This investigation revealed studies by the American Horse Council and Equine Business Association with insights into the economic impact of the horse industry in the US. Unfortunately, there was no data specific to the demographics of English-style riders or types of riders in the US available in the public domain by these directories.

Therefore, we proceeded to examine reports by relevant media and horse-riding focused portals in the US with the hope of locating reports highlighting English-style riders or communities of English-style riders in the United States. Also, we investigated Facebook and LinkedIn, hoping to identify any online community or group of English-style riders in the US. Still, there was no information pertinent to the demographic data of English-style riders in the US; neither was there info in the public domain revealing any community of English-style riders. Thus, there was no info for creating a possible demographic profile of English-style riders. However, this research revealed reports by Ride With Equo, Karina Brez Jewelry, and The Equestrian Channel that provided horse owners' statistics in the US, as well as some data pertinent to horse riders. Also, we located a report by Top50 Ranches, which observed that riders consider English saddle to be most comfortable in the World.

Next, we switched strategies to find a list of horse riders in the US hoping to investigate them individually in search of their preferred riding styles. This time, we located a report by US Equestrian listing the top riders in the US such as Beezie Madden, Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, McLain Ward, and others. However, when we investigated the websites and social media accounts of these individuals, there was no info about their riding styles. As per our research, they only highlighted their biographies and the awards they have won, which were not relevant to this request. Hence, due to the lack of reports or surveys in the public domain with hard data relevant to the demographic of people who like ride horse English-style in the US, provided some info found from the research, as a proxy for the required information. Please, note that the report by Karina Brez Jewelry was published in 2016, which is beyond Wonder's Standard two-year research timeline, but we included it in this report due to the lack of information relevant to this request in the public domain.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

U.S. Horseback Riders: Western-style Riding Market Size

There is no information on the market size of Western Style horseback riding available in the public domain nor was there sufficient data available from which to estimate this figure. Below is an overview of the information that was available.

Helpful Findings

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts a Census every 5 years through the National Agricultural Statistics Service division. According to the Census, in the U.S. horse industry in 2015 48% of horse owners rode Western Style. This demographic usually competes in barrel racing, pleasure, and trail events.
  • The total number of recreational and commercial horses in the U.S. is estimated to be 9.2 million, according to a study commissioned by the American Horse Council Foundation and conducted by the Barents Group. Of this total, 3.91 million horses are used for recreation, 2.72 million for showing, 1.75 million for other activities (farm work, rodeo, polo, police work), and 840,000 for racing.
  • Approximately two million Americans are horse owners and 7.1 million Americans are connected to the industry either as owners, service providers, employees, or volunteers.
  • The horse industry has a greater impact on the American economy "than motion picture services, railroad transportation, furniture and fixture manufacturing, and cigarettes."
  • According to the 2018 American Horse Publications Equine Industry Survey, the cost of horse-keeping is increasing for horse owners/managers in different areas. Three areas in which the cost has increased the most are veterinary services, labor costs, and animal health products.
  • These costs differ to some extent depending on the geographical location, which suggests that awareness is needed for management concerns nationwide.
  • The equine industry, which is now valued at $122 billion, "is a growing segment of the U.S. economy" and provides work to 1.74 million people.
  • According to the 2017 Economic Impact Study of the U.S. Horse Industry, a total of $79 billion in salaries is generated from the "care, business, and recreation surrounding the 7.2 million horses." The research provided in this study was conducted by the American Horse Council (AHC) Federation and The Innovation Group.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To determine the market size of Western Style horseback riding in the U.S., we first searched through U.S. horse industry development portals for surveys, reports, and studies that could provide readily available data on the market size or data that could be used to calculate it. We searched through sources such as Economics — American Horse Council, Animal Agriculture, the American Miniature Horse Association, the National Barrel Horse Association, Horse Authority. In these sources, we were hoping to find the market size bifurcated to Western Style horseback riding. These sources, however, only covered the history of the horse industry in the U.S., irrelevant facts and figures, the cost of horse keeping, and the demographics of horse owners including the percentage of those who ride Western Style. Two paywalled reports were also found which are mentioned in the findings.

Next, we searched through national and regional news publications and articles for relevant data. We searched through industry publications (such as the American Horse Publications (AHP)) and media releases (such as American Morgan Horse Association, Aberdeen American News, Horse and Country TV, The Horse, U.S. Equestrian Magazine, and AQHA publications). However, these sources provided information such as the healthcare of American horses, events held, food for horses, awards, nothing relevant to this request.

From the first strategy, we noted that 48% of horse owners in the U.S. ride Western Style. We searched for an estimate of the market size and the number of horse riders in the U.S. With this data we would determine the number of horse riders doing Western Style riding (number of western-style horse riders in the U.S. = percentage of Western Style horse riders x number of horse riders). Next, we planned to determine the average spending per horse rider. To determine this figure, we planned to divide the total market size of horse riding in the U.S. by the total number of horse riders in the U.S. Last, we planned to determine the market size for Western Style horseback riding by step multiplying the average spending per horse rider with the number of Western Style horse riders in the US (total market size = average spending per horse rider × number of Western Style horse riders in the U.S.). This strategy did not work out as planned because of the unavailability of data on the market size of horse riding.

For all the data required for the calculations, we searched for reports, surveys, and published articles from industry-related data portals (such as the Maryland Horse Show Association, the American Connemara Pony Society, American Hackney Horse Society, American Morgan Horse Association, Inc, American Road Horse & Pony Association, American Saddlebred Horse Association), industry-related magazines (such as Horse & Rider Magazine, Sidelines Magazine, Practical Horseman Magazine, Equestrian Living Magazine, Horse & Style Magazine), and news sites (such as the NY Daily, the LA Times, ABC, WGNTV, Blood-Horse, Paulick Report, Thorough Wiz) as these had most of the information covered on American horse industry overall. After thoroughly checking these and similar sources, we were unable to find any of the information required for the triangulation.

It is likely that the market is considered a very small part of the overall equine industry and therefore not further considered for surveys or reports.

Part
04
of four
Part
04

U.S. Horseback Riders: English-style Riding Market Size

There were 1.8 million horse owners in the United States in 2015. About 25% of English horse riders are between the age of 18 and 34, 16% are between 35 and 54, and 14% are above the age of 55.

HORSE RIDING — THE UNITED STATES

  • English style saddle — The English style saddle has better contact with the horse’s back. It is lighter and gives the horse better movement. The cost of the saddle is approximately $500.
  • English style bridle — An English style bridle has a headpiece, a browband, a throat latch, a cheek piece, a bit, a noseband, and reins. The average cost of English style bridle is $100.
  • English style saddle pad- A English style saddle pad is smaller than the western and has a rounded shape to it. The pad costs approximately $90.
  • In 2016 there were 9.2 million horses in the United States.
  • There are 4.6 million Americans who are actively involved in horse riding in some way.
  • English-style horseback riding is more dangerous than any other style of horseback riding.
  • In a household, 34% of horse owners earn less than $50,000 per year.
  • 70% of horse owners are looking for ways to cut the costs of maintenance needs for their herd. This is due to increased household costs, higher hay costs, and other socioeconomic factors.
  • According to the American Horse Council Foundation, in 2017, there was an estimate of 2 million horse owners and 9.2 million horses in the United States.

YOUR RESEARCH TEAM APPLIED THE FOLLOWING STRATEGY:

We started our research by looking at the previous request in this project to make sure we are focusing on the right market. The brief revealed that in the US, 35% of horse owners take part in competitive riding while 65% of them ride for fun and about 70% of them live in rural areas with less than 50,000 people. However, we were unable to locate data regarding the demographic profile of English-style riders. As a consequence, the average spends on English-style horse products was unavailable as well.

Subsequently, we searched various horse industry sources such as animalagriculture, ridewithequo, and marshfieldclinic to identify the market size. The idea was to check the number of English-style horse riders and their particular spending in this category. The reports enumerated horse owners demographic profile and the age wise bifurcation of these riders. But there was no recent information available regarding the said subject. Thus, the total number of riders could not be determined due to the unavailability of the break down of English-style and western-style riders.

Further, we looked through various equestrian magazines such as Your Rider, Horse and Rider, Blood Horse, The Trail Rider, and equestrian related blogs such as karinabrez, thehorse, and equisearch. The sources provided data on the types of horse breeds, English and western Training, and horses in general. However, the spending by an English-style rider and the number of English-style riders in the US was unavailable.

Next, we tried to triangulate the market size by looking through sources such as animals.mom.me, brainline, finishlinehorse, and everydayhorsing. The idea was to first find the number of horse riders in the US and then check for the percentage of English-style horseback riding and western-style horseback riding. The sources mentioned there are 9.2 million horses in the United States and approximately 2 million horse owners in the United States in the year 2016. But, we were unable to find what we were looking for. Thus, this strategy could not be further used for calculation.

Later, we tried another triangulation approach by finding the amount typically spent by English-style horseback riders on different horse and riding products. But, this search attempt proved to be futile because we only found extraneous information. However, they have been included in the findings.

Following this, we decided to broaden our search and looked for state wise English-style riders. As per Ride With Equo's report, the states with the highest number of horses in the US are Texas, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. This information is an indication that horse riders in the United States may be more resident in these areas. Nevertheless, the information was not specific to English-style horseback riders.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "There is an estimated 2 million horse owners in the United States and a total of 7.1 million Americans are involved in the industry as owners, service providers, employees and volunteers."
Quotes
  • "Over 70% of horse owners live in communities of 50,000 or less."
Quotes
  • "For many riders, an English saddle is the most comfortable place in the world, but if those who have also tried riding cowboy-style on a dude ranch vacation will know that no English saddle compares to the ‘armchair’ of a western saddle, with its large, comfortable seat and oversized stirrups."
From Part 04
Quotes
  • "In English riding, the reins are held with both hands, giving more control of the horse at the bit. With this style, you will need to learn the rise and trot, or post to the trot, which involves a period of slight suspension for the rider during this bouncy gait, where the horse is moving from one pair of diagonal legs to the other"
Quotes
  • "Huntseat is a style of English riding that has its origins in the sport of fox hunting. Many English riders start their riding education by riding huntseat and then progress to a more complicated or specialized discipline. The huntseat saddle is known as an all-purpose English saddle because lower-level riders can try to succeed at multiple events using this generic piece of equipment. "
  • "Dressage is an English riding discipline that takes place completely on the flat. Dressage has its own saddle, which encourages the rider to maintain a longer leg and deeper seat. Dressage saddles are never used in jumping"
  • "Eventing is a combination of three different riding disciplines: cross-country jumping, show jumping and dressage."
Quotes
  • "There are 9.2 million horses in the United States alone according to information provided by The Equestrian Channel."
  • "These horse riding statistics also show that there are 4.6 million Americans who are actively involved in the industry in some way."
  • "The average US owner actually owns 4-5 horses and this creates a direct economic impact of nearly $40 billion every year. "
  • "34% of horse owners earn less than $50,000 per year as a household. Only 1 in 4 horse owners actually earn more than $100,000 in income every year. Just 13% report a household income that is above $150,000"
  • "1 million horse owners in the United States earns between $25,000-$75,000 every year. More than 2.7 million horses in the US are owned for showing purposes. About 850,000 horses are dedicated to the racing industry, while another 1.7 million horses are used for farming, ranching, or sporting events."
Quotes
  • "The proportion of horse owners 18-34 has declined 15% from 2009 to 2013: 18-34 Year olds - 25% English 35-54 Year olds - 16% English 55 Years plus - 14% English"
  • "16% ride English-style -Most often compete in hunter and dressage events"
Quotes
  • "Panella told HorseChannel.com riders could correct their bad seating posture and improve balance with an exercise derived from an English-riding technique called riding in the two-point position"
  • "English riding is defined by small saddles and a lack of stirrups which give riders more contact with the horse’s back"
Quotes
  • "There is an estimated 2 million horse owners in the United States and a total of 7.1 million Americans are involved in the industry as owners, service providers, employees and volunteers."
Quotes
  • "English style saddle - The English style saddle has better contact with the horse’s back, it is lighter and gives the horse better movement. The cost of saddle can not be found for less than $500."
  • "English style bridle - An English style bridle has a headpiece, a browband, a throatlatch, a cheek piece , a bit, a noseband and reins. A decent English style bridle will cost $100."
  • "English style saddle pad- A English style saddle pad is smaller than the western and has a rounded shape to it. it is often made from polyester or other synthetic material. An organic pad will cost $90."