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

Packaged Facts
August 1, 2009
258 Pages - SKU: LA1600728
Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.
Countries covered: United States

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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.

Additional Information

Market Insights: A Selection From The Report

The Middlemen: Veterinary Supply Companies Servicing Equine Veterinarians

Many equine veterinarians operate out of their trucks, because most need to offer mobile practices. Equine vets do not have office staff and most operate out of their homes. Hence, they need more administrative and marketing support than veterinarians who work for large equine hospitals and clinics. Approximately 90,000 veterinarians actively practice in the United States and the profession is growing annually. However, less than 10% of these have undergone the additional large animal training required to become equine veterinarians.

Packaged Facts learned that only one of the animal health supply companies we spoke to (MWI) offers expanded evening and weekend hours to service the special needs of the equine veterinarian. Only Milburn (Webster) offers a publication that is sent to the equine clients of each participating veterinarian in order to market veterinary products and services to these clients, while offering them news and education.

We briefly profile these supply companies within the report. The largest company, Butler Animal Health, is privately held. PVPL, MWI and Animal Health International are publicly held, and Webster is a division of a publicly held company. Please note that these companies also supply companion animal products, as well as large animal, livestock, and production animal supplies; therefore, estimates for the equine businesses were not specifically broken out.

Over 40% of horse owners rely on their vet for health information

As new vaccines are developed, and wormers become less effective, more horse owners are turning to their veterinarians for help and advice. In April 2009, Intervet sponsored a poll question in The Horse, asking readers who is your Primary source of information on equine health. Over 40% said that their veterinarian is their primary source. Another 34% relied on industry media for information. A total of 874 respondents participated (week ending April 19, 2009.)

From a marketing standpoint, the tens of thousands of service providers, including veterinarians, should be considered strategic partners for relaying product information to equine owners and decision-makers.

In the News

Latest from Packaged Facts Probes Complexities of U.S. Equine Market,
Focusing on Horses and Their Owners During the Recession

New York, August 27, 2009 - There was a time when horse ownership stood as a monument to Americas prosperity. Whether for recreation or by profession, horse owners opened their hearts and wallets, thus creating a strong economy for the U.S. equine industry. And until recently, the multifaceted market grew in spite of itself.

The struggling U.S. and global economy has changed much in the industry. Leading market research publisher Packaged Facts, in its lastest report The U.S. Equine Market: Feed, Health Care and Services for Horses, investigates these recession-induced changes and analyzes the complexities of the many segments within the equine market, including feed, health care products, services, and the diverse population of people who own horses and subsequently sustain the more than $40 billion industry amidst the recession. 

The report is the first to dissect the horse population by functiona factor dramatically impacting a horses life and the amount of money spent on itand examine each segment individually. Horse owners are scrutinized by the riding disciplines they use to define themselves, as well as by the consumable goods and services (i.e., feed, drugs, veterinarians, dentists, and farriers) they employ to care for their horses.

Additionally, the report highlights reasons for optimism regarding the future of the equine industry.

The professionals who compete and breed and train remain indispensable, but there is an equally important segment of horse owners for whom life without horses is not worth living. Their horses may not be shown or bred, but they are considered part of the family and no expense is spared on their behalf, says Packaged Facts Publisher Tatjana Meerman.  Packaged Facts predicts that instead of completely cutting back on the care and feeding of their horse pets, such owners will elect to skip a vacation, and will instead travel with their horse.

Key findings pertaining to the impact of the recession include the widespread herd thinning of even elite breeds such as race and show horses, the prevalence of casual horse owners and riders abandoning their horses in favor of less expensive pursuits, and the increasing number of committed owners who either can no longer afford to keep their equine companions or are cutting back on nonessential services.

The U.S. Equine Market: Feed, Health Care and Services for Horses analyzes the U.S. equine market from several perspectives, including those of the horses and the people who own them. The report examines market trends, key competitors, and horse owner demographics. Also examined are the feed, health care, and services purchased by horse owners. Current and future trends are analyzed with an eye on the present economic situation, including a forecast of the impact the sagging economy will have on the market and what strategies marketers can employ to regain their market share.

About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products.  Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. 


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