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18 UK Horse Statistics that Every Animal Love Should Know in 2022

Lindsey Lawson

This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

The horse industry in the United Kingdom is composed of all activities and sports based on the possession, ownership, and use of horses whether for leisure, professional, or competition. The industry also includes suppliers of horse-related goods and services for these activities. This sector is vital to the economy of the UK and generates over £4 billion in economic value each year.

While popularity over the last decade waned, surveys conducted in 2019 showed promise in the recovery of the industry. But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, so did the certainty for the industry.

We have taken a look at the numbers gathered by the leading organizations in the United Kingdom’s horse industry and compiled a list of some statistics that horse lovers should know.

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The 18 Most Interesting UK Horse Statistics

  1. There are 374,000 horse-owning households in the United Kingdom.
  2. There are an estimated 847,000 horses that reside in the United Kingdom.
  3. Only 0.3 % of the population in the United Kingdom own horses and/or ponies.
  4. There are 27 million people in Britain that have expressed interest in the equestrian industry.
  5. In the UK, the average age of a horse is 13 years old.
  6. There are 5 million British households with at least one ex-horserider.
  7. 74% of UK riders are female.
  8. There was an increase from 2015 to 2019 in the number of people who rode a horse at least once per year.
  9. Around 55% of riders have taken at least one break from riding in their lifetime.
  10. Lack of access to horses and riding facilities cause 22% of riders to stop pursuing the sport.
  11. The average UK horse rider rides 5 times per week.
  12. £4.7 billion is the economic value of the equestrian sector in the UK.
  13. The number of people participating in equestrian sports in England has been declining steadily since 2009.
  14. The number of horse races in the UK dropped from 10,085 to 7,874 from 2019 to 2020.
  15. The number of horses in training to race per year has remained between 22,000 and 23,500 for 5 years in a row.
  16. Out of 91,360 horses participating in races in 2017, 167 died as a result of race-related injuries.
  17. 4,229 road traffic incidents involving horses have been reported since 2010.
  18. England has 117,250 miles of recorded public rights of way, only 22% are available to horse riders.

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Horse Ownership in the UK

Freasian horse with rider
Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

1. There are 374,000 horse-owning households in the United Kingdom.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

According to surveys completed by the British Equestrian Trade Association, there are approximately 374,000 households in the United Kingdom that own horses.


2. There are an estimated 847,000 horses that reside in the United Kingdom.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

As of 2019, there are around 847,000 horses that reside in the United Kingdom, compared to its 67+ million human inhabitants.


3. Only 0.3 % of the population in the United Kingdom own horses and/or ponies.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

While the horse industry is popular in the UK, if you balance out the numbers, only 0.3% of the entire population of the United Kingdom owns horses and/or ponies. After all, there is a lot of care and cost involved in horse ownership and not everyone has access to property that is well suited for horses.


4. 27 million people in Britain have expressed interest in the equestrian industry.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

Within the past 2 years, 27 million people in the United Kingdom have expressed interest in the equestrian industry whether it be related to leisure or competition.


5. In the UK, the average age of a horse is 13 years old.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

Surveys conducted among UK horse owners have identified the average age of horses in the country is approximately 13 years.

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Horse Riding in the UK

Jock riding an Appaloosa horse
Image Credit: sojourn-, Pixabay

6. There are 5 million British households with at least one ex-horserider.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

With a culture entrenched in horse riding, surveys show that there are 5 million households within Great Britain that house at least one person that was a horse rider at some point in their lives.


7. 74% of UK riders are female.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

Surprisingly, nearly three-quarters of horse riders in the United Kingdom are female. It’s no secret that ladies in the UK love their horses, but it turns out that modern-day riders are made up of many more women than men.


8. There was an increase from 2015 to 2019 in the number of people who have ridden a horse at least once per year.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

In 2015, surveys showed that 2.7 million people in the UK had ridden horses at least once in the calendar year. This number increased to 3 million as of 2019 according to the BETA.

horse riders_No-longer-here_Pixabay
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

9. Around 55% of riders have taken at least one break from riding in their lifetime.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

BETA conducted surveys that yielded results stating that 55% of horse riders have taken at least one break from riding in their lifetime. These breaks in riding come due to a wide variety of reasons including health, finances, and time constraints.


10. Lack of access to horses and riding facilities cause 22% of riders to stop pursuing the sport.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

It’s common knowledge that most people do not have the appropriate property or structures needed to house and care for horses, let alone train and prepare for competitive equestrian sports. Within the past few years, the lack of access to horses and appropriate riding facilities stopped 22% of competitive riders from returning to their hobby.


11. The average UK horse rider rides 3.5 times per week.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

According to BETA, the average frequency of horse riding in the United Kingdom was 3.5 times per week with an average riding time of 52 minutes.

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Equestrian Sports in the UK

horse jockey
Image Credit: 8167078, Pixabay

12. £4.7 billion is the economic value of the equestrian sector in the UK.

(British Equestrian Trade Association)

BETA explains that the economic value of the equestrian industry in the UK comes in at £4.7 billion, including consumer spending across a wide variety of goods and services per year. This has increased since 2015.


13. The number of people participating in equestrian sports in England has been declining steadily since 2009.

(Statista, Equestrian Sports in the United Kingdom)

While still very popular, participation in equestrian sports in England has been in a steady decline according to Statista. As of 2009, 425,900 people participated in equestrian sports compared to the 352,900 that were recorded in 2016.


14. The number of horse races in the UK dropped from 10,085 to 7,874 from 2019 to 2020.

(Statista, Equestrian Sports in the United Kingdom)

It may come as no surprise that the number of total horse races drastically dropped from 2019 to 2020. According to BHA, the number of races conducted in 2019 was 10,085 compared to only 7,874 in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We shall see what kind of recovery is available for racing for 2021.


15. The number of horses in training to race per year has remained between 22,000 and 23,500 for 5 years in a row.

(British Horse Racing Authority)

Statistics gathered by the BHA have shown that the number of racehorses in training has remained steadily between 22,000 and 23,500 from 2016 to 2020. The number was 22,767 in 2016 and 23,357 in 2020.

Related Read: Top 15 Most Famous Racehorses Of All Time (With Pictures)


16. Out of 91,360 horses participating in races in 2017, 167 died as a result of race-related injuries.

(British Horse Racing Authority)

An unfortunate part of competitive horse racing is the injuries and fatalities involved. The BHA is upfront about the number of fatalities that are recorded due to race-related injuries each year.

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Horses and Roadways Information and Statistics

Dressagehorse
Image credit by: Pixabay

17. 4,229 road traffic incidents involving horses have been reported since 2010.

(The British Horse Society)

The British Horse Society has released some interesting numbers regarding horse-related roadways injuries in the country. A total of 4,229 incidents have been reported since 2010. Of those incidents, there were 43 human fatalities, 315 horse fatalities, and 945 injuries. A staggering 73% of these incidents occurred due to vehicles passing horses too closely or at a high rate of speed.


18. England has 117,250 miles of recorded public rights of way, only 22% are available to horse riders.

(The British Horse Society, Equestrian Access and Public Bridleways)

England has 117,250 miles of recorded public rights of way, according to the British Horse Society, and 22% of those miles are bridleway or byway and 5% are byway. Bridleway means available to horse riders, and byway includes carriage drivers. Meanwhile, Wales has 20,500 miles of recorded public rights of way with 21% bridleway or byway, and only 6% byway.

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Frequently Asked Questions About UK Horse Statistics

HorseBack Riding Sport
Image Credit: clarencealford, Pixabay

1. Are UK horse riders deterred from riding due to safety concerns?

Yes, 44% of riders in the UK that ride once per week or less have stated they would ride more frequently if they felt they had access to safer bridleways for road riding.

2. What happens when race-related horse fatalities occur?

The British Horse Association has advised that there are protocols for these tragic incidents. All injuries and fatalities that are a direct result of racing are recorded and monitored by BHA officials and veterinary officers to reduce injury and fatality rates. The data gathered allows for an assessment of the situations the injuries and fatalities occur, allowing safety measures to be implemented to try and prevent further occurrences.

3. Is there optimism for the recovery of the UK horse industry after the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The horse industry provides £4 billion annually for the economy and the recovery of this industry is important for the overall economy and many people working within the industry. According to the BHA, the industry was starting to see promise in 2019 from a steady decline in the previous years. The impact of the pandemic has been rough but there are measures in place to speed up the recovery of the industry while implementing proper safety protocols.

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Conclusion

While horses remain very popular in the United Kingdom, there is some uncertainty in the industry since 2020. It may take some time for recovery, as the entire world and all industries have suffered a heavy hit. We must await the data to see how much recovery can be expected.

Regardless, the United Kingdom is very transparent about data across the entire industry and there is so much to learn, especially if you are a horse-lover.


Sources


Featured Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

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Lindsey Lawson

I am a wife, mother, nature enthusiast, animal lover, and business major. I was born and raised in Ohio but now live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We share our home with a German Shepherd, several snakes, tarantulas, and a couple rescue cats.  My husband and I enjoy traveling the US with our kids and photographing wildlife. My passion is to educate others on the importance of proper animal care, with an emphasis on reptiles and exotics since their care requirements can be much more complex. I am also a huge advocate for bully breeds. I feel most at home in the forest either on horseback or in hiking boots.