We’re just down the hall from some of the greatest horse magazines in the country. Every month the edit team from Horse&Rider puts together a fantastic issue packed with helpful training and health care tips.
And now, Juli S Thorson, Horse&Rider’s editor and associate publisher wants to ask you:
Just Between Us, What Rings True for You?
If there’s anything I love to get my hands on, it’s results from a solid survey of our horse industry. We don’t get nearly enough of this kind of information, and as a result, live in a horse world guided largely by personal opinion and anecdotal evidence. That makes for many misguided leadership moves that can take a long time to correct.
That’s why I’m happy to share highlights from an industry-wide survey conducted earlier this year by American Horse Publications, the professional group for equine-related media (americanhorsepubs.org). I’ll be curious to learn whether you see any of the following at work in your own segment of the equi-orbit–and whether any of the stats surprise you.
The Big Issues
One intent of the survey was to identify respondents’ top issues of concern. The biggest, cited by just under 56 percent, was the matter of unwanted horses and what to do with them. After that came increased costs of horsekeeping; overbreeding; uneducated horse owners; loss of trails and riding areas; and lack of slaughter option.
Of interest: The younger the respondent, the more likely he or she was to cite overbreeding and owner ignorance as the top issues.
Concern over both these issues decreased by age. The increase in horsekeeping costs is more important to those on both coasts than to those in the mid-part of the country, yet those in the middle tend to have less income.
Results of the AHP survey indicate that if you intend to sell or otherwise disperse horses, your best market exists with the young.
The biggest age group expecting to have more horses next year than last, at over 30 percent, is that of 18 to 24 (the same group most concerned with overbreeding.) The group least likely to add more horses to the feed bill next year, at just over 10 percent, are those 65 and over.
The survey also showed evidence of an increase in competitive outings from 2011 to 2012, and an expectation of continued increase in 2013. Two groups are driving most of the increase: those in the two younger age groups, 18 to 24 and 25 to 44; and those whose annual household income is over $125,000. Number of competitions per year is increasing across income groups but decreasing across age groups.
This piece of info leaves me scratching my head. It’s safe to say that few people under 25 produce a $125K annual income on their own. So are the 18- to 24-year-olds being funded by well-off parents and counting that income as their own? Or, are they finding ways to compete that, compared to traditional showing, cost less than a song? And are the traditional show venues——never cheap, and more costly all the time——now supported, in the large, by a shrinking group of older but wealthier people?
More to Ponder
- Other survey results you may find of great interest, as I did, include these:
- Just under half of respondents reported a household income of $75K or less, and the other half reported more, with close to 13 percent bringing home at least $150K. Respondents whose HHI is under $50K are more likely to live in middle America than elsewhere—–specifically, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin.
- Over a third of respondents, 35 percent, reported having been given a free horse.
- Those in the lower income brackets (under $50K/year, and $50K to $75K) are more likely than to have been given a horse than those who earn more per year.
- Even though unwanted horses and overbreeding were among the top-three biggest issues to survey respondents, less than 20 percent identified lack of cohesive horse-industry marketing as an issue.
Can’t wait to hear what you think.