Participate in the 2017 Economic Impact Study for the United States Horse Industry

Survey for National Study to be distributed via online link


(Washington, DC)– The American Horse Council Foundation (AHCF) is pleased to announce that the survey link for the National Economic Impact Study will be released on June 5th. The survey link will be available until August 1st.

“The National Survey link will initially be distributed through equine organizations such as the American Quarter Horse Association, United States Equestrian Federation, Certified Horsemanship Association, American Paint Horse Association, and more,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “We hope everyone that receives the survey link will participate. This is an opportunity to showcase how important the vast equine industry is to the United States economy, and the more horse owners, breeders, riders, trainers, racetracks, shows, rodeos and other industry suppliers that participate, the better the data will be that is included in the final results.”

The 2017 Economic Impact Study will contain expanded demographics with youth participation and additional segments of the industry, including Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies, Equine Sanctuaries and Rescues, Equine Academic Programs, and Equine Youth Organizations.  Representatives of these institutions and organizations, along with Equine Competition Organizers, will be receiving targeted and individualized surveys.  The main survey is designed to capture the impact of individual horse owners (whether commercial or recreational) and industry suppliers of equine-related goods and services.  A separate data request is being sent directly to Racetracks, OTBs, and Advanced Deposit Wagering businesses.

The surveys were designed by the Innovation Group and a supporting team of equine industry experts.  They were further vetted by key industry stakeholders as well as a Steering Committee composed of AHC staff and five outside experts.

The 2005 Economic Impact Study established that the horse industry in all its segments, including racing, showing, and recreation, had a $39 billion effect on the US economy, involved more than 4 million Americans and 9.2 million horses, and supported 1.4 million full-time jobs.  The study provided invaluable demographic data and insights into professions and other industries that are impacted by equine ownership, as well as proved to be extremely helpful to the industry’s efforts in documenting its size, diversity and economic importance to public officials, the press, and other media. Now more than ever, it’s important for the equine industry to have access to data from all segments to ensure the most comprehensive, impactful portrait possible of our diverse and long-standing industry.

If you are a member of an equine association, please be on the lookout for an email containing the link to the take the National Survey. If you are not a member of an equine association, or did not receive the survey link after June 15th and would like to participate, please email to receive the link. Please note, all personal information collected in the survey will be confidential and will not be distributed.

We thank you in advance for participating in this incredibly important update to the Economic Impact Study! If you have any questions, please contact the AHC directly at

AHC to Begin Data Collection for 2017 Economic Impact Survey

Survey will be accessible via online link

(Washington,DC)- The American Horse Council (AHC) is pleased to announce that data collection for the 2017 Economic Impact Study is set to begin on April 1, 2017.

“We are incredibly grateful for the pledges we received from generous equine organizations to fund both the National study as well as several state and segment breakouts,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “Due to the generosity of these organizations, we are able to begin the data collection for the study. However, we are still short of our goal amount, and are hoping to receive pledges to officially put us over our goal amount.”

For Individuals or Organizations wishing to contribute towards the goal amount for the National Study, please visit the AHC website here, or contact the AHC at “No pledge amount is too small,” said Ms. Broadway, “we know that the industry is eagerly awaiting the results of this study, so we are hoping to find those last few pledges to put us over the edge and get the study completed as soon as possible.”

The survey will be tailored to individual segments and distributed via an online link, and the AHC encourages those in the industry to share the link as much as possible. “We want to be able to ensure we are getting as much of the industry as possible taking this survey,” said Ms. Broadway.  “Especially since we have expanded the study to include participants under 18, and the equine welfare and sanctuary segments.”

In addition to the National Economic Impact Study, twelve states have elected to secure a breakout for their respective states: Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, California, Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. If any state is still interested in securing a breakout, they MUST contact the AHC by no later than March 22.

“The Innovation Group is looking forward to collecting data from all segments to ensure the most comprehensive, impactful portrait possible of this diverse and long-standing industry,” said Tom Zitt, Executive Director of The Innovation Group. “Just as all pledges are welcome, all segments of the industry are encouraged to submit data.”

If you have any questions about the Study, please contact the AHC directly.

Recent Juvenile Sale Cycle Points to Up Year for 2017

Recent Juvenile Sale Cycle Points to Up Year for 2017
Photo: Keeneland Photos

In 2015-16, pinhookers were more selective in their yearling purchases, buying fewer for higher prices

Successful pinhookers are like long-term stock investors. They set their spending limits, buy as much quality as they can afford, and stick to the basic principles that identify performance potential in young Thoroughbreds.

Also like stock investors, they are savvy to market cycles and recognize when to stretch on their yearling purchases and when to be conservative.

The overall return on investments for yearling to juvenile pinhooks since 2012 shows a steady rise and fall that seems to mirror a collectively inescapable part of human nature. When the market is up, optimism drives more spending. Collectively pinhookers with fatter wallets invested more in their yearlings—either buying more expensive yearlings and/or buying more horses—only to later face a juvenile market that didn’t share their optimism, according to recent history.

In 2012, the 2-year-old market enjoyed its second consecutive rise in ROI, albeit a modest 4% increase (25% ROI compared with 21% in 2011), as the Thoroughbred market recovered from the aftermath of the Great Recession. Buoyed by two consecutive years of growth, pinhookers stretched more on their yearling purchases, spending 14.2% more on average. They were rewarded in 2013 by a robust juvenile market in which the average price rose 15.4%, the percentage of profitable yearlings rose to 49% from 41%, and pinhooks generated a 33% ROI as a whole.

The pinhook market reacted by taking another big swing with its yearling purchases. The $44,421 average pinhook yearling price heading into the 2014 market was 14.6% higher than the previous year. One metric did indicate the 2014 juvenile market would not be as solid as what 2013 delivered: a slowing in the rate growth for the average 2-year-old price. The juvenile average price between 2011 and 2012 rose 23.6%. Between 2012 and 2013, the increase was 15.4%.

More yearlings bought at a higher average price were offered in 2014 and the juvenile market reacted by generating a 17% ROI, nearly half of what it was in 2013. The percentage of profitable horses dropped to 40% from 49% and the overall average 2-year-old price dipped 3.2%.

In 2015, pinhookers bought fewer horses but spent 8.5% more on average, reacting to the greater attention being paid on the top of the market. The ROI rose to 28%. For 2016, pinookers took a similar strategy, buying fewer yearlings but spending another 2.6% more on average. The supply and demand balance tipped back, however, the ROI fell to 21% and profitable purchases were down to 41% from 46%.

If pinhookers followed their instincts after the 2-year-old sales and were more conservative with their yearling purchases, then the juvenile market of 2017 should be another up year with a return to around 45% profitability and an ROI of around 30%.

2016 Economic Indicators: A Positive Outlook


Average daily wagering on Thoroughbred races in the United States rose 2.4% in 2016 while the number of races continues tracking downward. The trend downward in races is expected to continue as three years of foal crops that have bottomed out at around 20,500 since 2014 start maturing to racing age.

The increase in average daily handle during 2016 was not as high as the 5.8% seen between 2014 and 2015, but the decline in live races slowed to a more modest 1.7% decline compared to a 5.65% drop reported between 2014 and 2015.

As the decline in races slowed, so too did the drop in puses paid. In 2016 U.S. purses totaled more than $1.08 billion, down 0.9% from $1.09 billion in 2015. Purses dropped 1.6% between 2014 and 2015. Average purses paid per race day in 2016 rose 0.9% to $232,114. The number of total race days dropped by 85 last year to 4,669, a decline of nearly 1.8%.

In all, the more modest year-over-year changes in the racing and wagering economic indicators were viewed positively by industry leaders.

“The 2016 wagering and purse report suggests that Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. has stabilized from the worldwide economic recession of a few years back,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

“A declining foal crop has challenged the industry to adapt by reducing races and race days and also encouraged innovation,” Waldrop continued. “It is noteworthy that handle increased in 2016 despite 85 fewer race days. Undoubtedly, these results also reflect the fact that our champions such as California Chrome  BeholderTepin, and Songbird, as well as a talented cast of 3-year-old stars headed by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, continued to race through the Breeders’ Cup in November.”

As for the year ahead, Waldrop said proposed regulation changes by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service affecting the withholding and reporting on pari-mutuel wagers could significantly impact handle in 2017.

“By modernizing tax withholding and reporting to reflect the true cost of a wager, especially exotic wagers, more money will now remain in the hands of our customers who will re-bet most of those dollars for the benefit of all,” Waldrop said. “It’s an important fix that the NTRA has spent years advocating for and will have a positive impact on overall pari-mutuel handle from the moment it’s implemented.”

KEEP Conference: Facilitate Horse Encounters

By , BloodHorse Daily


With the continued urbanization of the United States, speakers at the first Kentucky Equine Education Project industry conference Oct. 18 in Lexington said it’s more important than ever for industry participants to reach out to the general public to help facilitate a connection to horses.

“We sometimes forget that while we get to see horses every day, the vast majority of the world does not,” said Price Bell of Mill Ridge Farm and Nicoma Bloodstock. “They want to see how horses live, how they are cared for each day.”

Bell, who participated on a panel discussing growth opportunities for the industry at the two-day conference, is the board president of Horse Country Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides tours of Central Kentucky Thoroughbred farms.

KEEP works to promote horse industry awareness in Kentucky.

Bell noted that the original economic engine for horse racing, pari-mutuel wagering, faces more and more competition. He said it’s important for the industry to create new experiences for customers. He said the thing that makes racing unique compared with other gaming is the horse, and providing access to horses at tracks and farms can create unique experiences that will create new fans.

“Our consumer has changed a lot in my lifetime. Now that you can bet on anything, people want an experience. They want to touch a horse, they want a nice place to go for the races,” Bell said. “The horse is the differentiator… Demands of the horse racing consumer have dramatically changed from a sort of betting commodity to an experience. We need to drive more experience-based exposure to the horse for people.”

Bell said it’s hugely important to fans that the horse is treated well during its racing career and will be treated well after it’s retired. Bell said bringing people into contact with horses and allowing them to see first-hand how well they are treated can help when animal rights groups assail the sport.

“I believe in promoting transparency and promoting horses. The more you bring people into your barns, it helps affect the conversation,” Bell said. “Through social media, initiatives like Horse Country that celebrate the horse, its care, and its love; it can help change the conversation.”

Kentucky commissioner of agriculture Ryan Quarles, also participating on the panel, said strides have been made in educating legislators about the breeding industry. He said more of them understand that the backbone of the industry are family-owned farms. But he encouraged farm owners to continue to reach out to lawmakers and invite them to see the operations first-hand.

Quarles, a Republican who was elected in November 2015, said he is committed to working with the equine industry.

“Over the years Agriculture has had a limited relationship with the equine industry,” Quarles said. “I want to change that. I believe we need a more active role. You are going to have to educate me and the Department of Agriculture, because of that limited previous interaction.”

March Economic Indicators: U.S. Wagering Up Slightly; Purses, Race Days Decline

by  | 04.05.2016 | 12:57pm


Total wagering increased in the U.S. in March, while purses, race days and starts were down slightly from their 2015 levels, according to economic indicators released Tuesday by Equibase.

Wagering in the U.S. was up 0.85% in 2016 as compared with the same month last year. Year-to-date figures were also up, 3.07%

Purses for March 2016 showed a decline, down 4.90% as compared with 2015, while year-to-date they were also down, 2.60%.

The number of race days decreased this year, down 9.04%, compared to March 2015. Year-to-date, race days dropped 7.43%.

The number of races in the U.S. also declined, down 8.47%; year-to-date figures showed a decline of 5.82%.

Lastly, the number of starts in March 2016 showed a decline, down 6.72%; year-to-date figures were also down, 4.05%.

Charts Courtesy Equibase

March 2016 vs. March 2015
Indicator March 2016 March 2015 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $854,900,215  $847,700,697 +0.85%
U.S. Purses $72,038,600  $75,750,051 -4.90%
U.S. Race Days 302  332 -9.04%
U.S. Races 2,603  2,844 -8.47%
U.S. Starts 20,520  21,998 -6.72%
YTD 2016 vs. YTD 2015
Indicator YTD 2016 YTD 2015 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $2,498,295,980  $2,423,926,336 +3.07%
U.S. Purses $197,361,190  $202,632,295 -2.60%
U.S. Race Days  847 915 -7.43%
U.S. Races  7,282  7,732 -5.82%
U.S. Starts  59,628  62,142 -4.05%
* Includes worldwide commingled wagering on U.S. races.