Horse Activities

Dynamic growth


Thanks to international organisations representing racing and and sport, the figures on the number of events is quite precise at a racing and International (FEI) level : 78 000 races a year and 10 000 national sporting events a year. However, this only represents in the sports horse sector the top elite and does not take into account the hundreds of smaller competitions being held every week throughout Europe in very many regions.


This dynamism of the horse activities is also shown by some figures representing the growth of this sector: as an example, the number of horse riders has grown +5%/year.


While total revenues from farming have fallen around 60% from their peak income level in 1995 - market dynamics in agriculture and leisure are expected to amplify this further in future years, making the equestrian, horse racing and betting sector an important contributor for regional growth and a dynamic sector of interest for EU future economic development.

The Punchestown Racing festival in Ireland attracts around 100,000 spectators a year and generates 43 million euros worth for the local economy and 2000 part-time jobs. This is just one race meeting of over 37,000 races held in the EU every year

The wider impact of the horse


Moreover, the horse industry is also made up of innovative companies, education programs, research and various sorts of specific activities from horses used in towns and for agricultural work to therapeutic uses (Hippotherapy).


The horse sector also supports a large range of ancilliary companies and jobs: from farriers and veterinarians, to saddlery and leather makers, farmers who produce the hay and grain, specialist feed companies, horse livery services, stable and arena building companies and many more.


Horse events also contribute to the tourism of many areas, either bringing in significant crowds to watch events, or through the promotion of equestrian tourism – often in inaccessible rural areas, bringing much needed employment opportunities.

One example of combining ecological conservation and with tourism within national parks and areas of special scientific interest is the part-EU funded Lake Papeproject in the remote region of south-west Latvia along the Baltic coast close to the border with Lithuania where a key feature of the project was the re-introduction of wild horses to help maintain important grasslands.
Another example is in Romania in the Carpathians where a scheme a scheme is being set up to support local communities within the nature conservation policy of protected areas by developing ecotourism products focused on horse-riding tourism
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