The U.S. Equine Market: Feed, Health Care and Services for Horses

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Published Aug 1, 2009 | 258 Pages | Pub ID: LA1600728

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There are approximately 10.5 million equines in the United States, which are used primarily for recreation and entertainment. These horses are responsible for generating over $40 billion per year in spending.

In this one-of-a-kind report, we examine:

  • The Horses: The life of a horse (and the amount of money spent on it) is dramatically different based upon its function. Unlike the majority of dogs and cats, only 7 million of the nation’s 10.5 million horses are considered “pets” or companion animals. This report is the first to dissect the horse population by function, and examine each segment individually.

  • The People: This report scrutinizes horse owners by riding discipline, so that readers can make informed decisions about advertising and marketing based upon the specific demographics of horse owners. However, in many cases the owner is not the person making feeding and care decision, rather it is the trainer or boarding facility manager. This report explains how marketers can understand and influence these key decision makers.

Equines, regardless of their use and value, have basic ongoing needs and often require special services, which we explore in The U.S. Equine Market: Feed, Health Care and Services for Horses:

  • The report examines the top health products companies, as well as second-tier companies. It also takes a look at two significant product categories—de-worming and ulcer prevention & treatment. Two of the leading parasitologists in the world offer their opinions on what is now considered to be the most critical issue facing horse owners, caretakers, and marketers: ineffective parasite-control products.

  • Equine feeding is examined, starting with the two market leaders, Purina and Nutrena, and then delving into the regional feed mills. This report also examines hay and hay replacement products and their impact on the shrinking grain concentrates market. Opinions from leading equine nutritionists on equine feeding, including supplements, forage, and concentrates are included.

  • Largely unregulated, equine services range from necessary (vaccines and hoof care) to frivolous (acupuncture, massage, chiropractic). Other services, such as equine dentistry, are rapidly becoming mainstream as more owners and trainers recognize the importance of proper toothcare in horses.

Current and future trends are analyzed, with an eye on the current economic situation. With each horse costing upwards of $2,000 per year, on average, to maintain, The U.S. Equine Market: Feed, Health Care and Services for Horses addresses what impact the sagging economy will have upon the equine market, and what strategies marketers can employ to retain, if not expand, their market shares.

Read an excerpt from this report below.

Report Methodology

The information contained in this report was obtained from primary and secondary research spanning nine months. Primary research entailed interviews with market participants and knowledgeable observers in the various segments, as well as interviews with the major (and minor) breed associations and over a dozen rider associations. Packaged Facts also visited feed stores and went to equine events sponsored by healthcare and feed companies. We interviewed equine veterinarians, farriers, dentists, and massage therapists. We even interviewed a couple of horse transporters. We spoke to clinicians, barn managers, trainers, agriculture inspectors, the USDA and agricultural departments on the state level. We even interviewed plant managers at feed mills. In total, almost 100 telephone and in-person interviews were conducted.

Secondary research included information- and data-gathering from relevant consumer business and trade publications including: The Horse,, Feedstuffs, Tack ‘n Togs, EQUUS, Practical Horseman, Horse & Rider, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman, Natural Horse, Equine Wellness, Stable Management, Hay and Forage Grower, GrainNet, Feed Management,, Veterinary Practice News, DVM News, Journal of Veterinary Science, Veterinary Forum, and JAVMA. New product announcements and advertising were of exceptional interest, and readership poll data from online subscribers to The Horse proved to be invaluable as an up-to-the-minute barometer on equine caregivers’ opinions and practices.

We obtained direct-mail pieces from equine veterinarians in an effort to determine what company is mailing what. Extensive reviews of companies’ websites and marketing materials were conducted in order to compile product information.

This report also includes 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey data made available to Packaged Facts on an exclusive basis by the American Pet Products Association (formerly the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, prior to its name change in 2008). The 2009-2010 National Pet Owners’ Survey was expanded to include 280 statistically relevant in-depth interviews with horse owners across the United States. It is the most current and up-to-date survey of its kind, and a must-have for any company involved in equine products and marketing. Brakke Consulting and Fountain AgriCounsel LLC also provided valuable information for use in this report.

We also incorporated information from The American Horse Council’s landmark study, released in 2005.

About the Author

Despite growing up in New York City, Andrea Haller owned a horse as a teenager. After a successful 20-plus year career in market research and consulting, she returned to a life with horses. For the past 15 years she has owned two horse farms, and has been actively involved in many facets of the industry including breeding, boarding and training, and horse transportation. During the past several years she has rehabilitated dozens of unwanted horses.

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