New Zealand Horse Recreation is surveying horse owners, to complete New Zealand's first study into the value of the equestrian sector. Horse owners and riders from all parts of the country and all walks of life are invited to take part in this major study into the value of the horse to New Zealand's economy.
"We know from overseas studies that the equestrian recreation sector tends to be worth twice that of the racing sector." says NZ Horse Recreation Group Founder, Vivien Dostine. "Here in New Zealand we don't have a Horse Council, or Equestrian Businesses Association, so the value of the horse is not recognised, but we suspected that our horse sector spend would mirror international trends."
A preliminary study validated those suspicions. On average, the first set of respondents spent $13,000 per year on each horse. With an estimated 80,000 recreational horses in the country, this added up to just over one billion dollars in annual spend. "The thoroughbred racing sector boasts around $450 Million in direct economic impact, so our results are on the money, but we would like to expand our survey and validate those preliminary responses." says Ms Dostine. "Even those without their own horse were spending around $3000 per year on lessons and other horse related expenses."
The billion dollar figure may just be the tip of the iceberg, it does not include capital expenditure on big ticket items like horse trucks or property, nor does it calculate indirect impacts from equestrian businesses. Ms Dostine says there is also plenty of room for the sector to grow if local recreation planning includes horses. "Without places to ride there is no way to grow the sport locally, or bring in tourism dollars. New Zealand riders can and do reach the top of the international sporting world, and each time it creates interest in New Zealand sport horses, and in the country as a horse tourism destination, but we have barely scraped the surface of many opportunities."
The aim for the survey is to put some statistical data behind submissions for horse access to public recreation spaces, and to help build business cases for equestrian sports and event centres, and shared recreation trails.
The Equestrian Economy Survey can be found online at NZ Horse Recreation's website www.nzhorseriders.info All horse riders are invited to take part, including those who do not own their own horse.