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People love and respect horses for various reasons. The equine industry is massive, multi-faceted and popular throughout the world. Whether horses are used for recreation, work and/or entertainment, the market is filled with various types of breeds, trainers, riders, suppliers, associations, showplaces, sports, parks and spectators. Research has proven that horses make a tremendous impact on the national, state and local economy.
A horse is bathed in preparation for the 137th Kentucky Derby. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
According to an economic study that was conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP for the American Horse Council Foundation in 2005, “the horse industry has a $102 billion impact on the U.S. economy and it pays $1.9 billion in taxes to all levels of government. There are 9.2 million horses in the United States and 2 million people own horses. Additionally, 4.6 million Americans are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers." Retrieved June 19, 2011 from http://www.horsecouncil.org/nationaleconomics.php
In the state of Florida, "the horse industry generates a $6.5 billion economic impact. It combines the primarily rural activities of breeding, raising and training horses with the more urban activities of operating racetracks, off-track betting parlors, horse shows, polo, rodeos and other equine recreational pursuits." (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services brochure, The Florida Horse Industry/Florida Home of Champions). Retrieved June 19, 2011 from http://www.florida-agriculture.com/pubs/pubform/pdf/Florida_Horse_Industry_Brochure.pdf
Gainesville is located approx. forty miles from the city of Ocala which is known as the "Horse Capital of the World" due to the fact that it has more horses and ponies then any other county in the nation. (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services brochure, The Florida Horse Industry/Florida Home of Champions).
According to the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce, "the equine industry in Marion County receives $507,000,000 and employs 12,000 workers (15% of the labor force)." Retrieved June 19, 2011 from http://www.ocalacc.com/ocala_florida/templates/Live-Work-and-Play.aspx?articleid=42&zoneid=7
Despite all of the quantifiable data, some equestrians believe that horses are an investment that provides an immeasurable return.