Study: Horse industry's economic impact grows in Maryland

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

An American Horse Council survey and study conducted last year shows that the total economic of the horse industry in Maryland increased 38% between 2017 and 2022 from $2.1 billion to $2.9 billion.

The horse industry’s direct contribution to the state’s gross domestic product grew by 40.5% between 2017 to 2022. Maryland’s horse industry is responsible for more than 28,000 jobs with total wages of more than $1.24 billion.

Maryland was one of the breakout states in the AHC economic impact report developed from the survey.

Other statistics from the survey and report include: Maryland is home to more than 717,000 horse-enthusiast households, or about 30% of the population, with a total horse population estimate of more than 94,000. Thoroughbreds are the most populous breed with more than 37,000 residing in Maryland.

The industry directly employs 21,800 people, with a direct economic impact of $1.05 billion. The direct impact provides an additional $713 million in added value to the economy and nearly 6,600 jobs, along with $841 million in direct labor income and $407 million in indirect and induced income.

Thoroughbreds generate total economic impact of $664 million and support more than 8,000 jobs, according to the statistics.

The Thoroughbred racing sector supports nearly 8,900 direct jobs and $341 million in direct value to the Maryland economy. The direct impact drives another $215 million in added value to the economy and almost 2,100 jobs from indirect and induced effects.

The Standardbred racing sector supports about 2,900 direct jobs and adds $107 million in direct value to the Maryland economy. The direct impact triggers another $70 million in added value and about 700 jobs from indirect and induced effects.

Based on household surveys used for the report, the Maryland equine population—along with the 37,000 Thoroughbreds—includes 15,700 Standardbreds, 12,500 Quarter Horses and 27,300 equines of other breeds.

Maryland is also home to 29 animal welfare organizations, 58 licensed stables that report offering rescue or sanctuary services, and 12 equine-related associations with a total economic output of more than $24.8 million.

The AHC report on the overall equine industry in the United States had total value added of $177 billion in 2023, up from $122 billion in 2017. More than 2.2 million jobs were linked directly and indirectly to the equine sector. The total horse population of 6.6 million in 2023 was down from 7.2 million in 2017, but the AHC noted that is “only a slight consideration when compared to the growing numbers in jobs and expenditures.”

The guiding purpose of the survey and resulting economic impact study is “to demonstrate the value of the equine industry in the national and state economies by analyzing the direct, indirect, and inducted economic impacts of horse ownership, recreation and equine-related services.”

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