National Economic Impact Study
  Jay Hickey - President, American Horse Council

Ogden Mills Phipps: A business that thrives is one that adapts well to change. There have been many changes in the legislative area this year, and Jay Hickey, Greg Avioli and Greg Means are going to be with us talking about these important items. Jay, would you be first?

Jay Hickey: Good morning, everyone, and I want to thank Dinny for having me here and thank him for the opportunity to address The Jockey Club Round Table again.

In late June, the American Horse Council released its study on The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry on the United States at a press conference in Washington, D.C., complete with members of Congress and horses in front of the White House.

Deloitte Consulting did the study, and it was completed with major funding from The Jockey Club, NTRA-Breeders' Cup, the American Quarter Horse Association, Keeneland and the organizations listed on the slide. We thank all of these associations for their support.

We also thank the many individuals, some in this room, who contributed to the study. We couldn't have done it without that economic support.

A steering committee was formed to oversee the project and included representatives from The Jockey Club, NTRA, AQHA and the U.S. Equestrian Federation. And I can tell you that they did much more work than they thought they would do, and we thank them for that.

This was a very large undertaking. Deloitte began with membership lists from 80 horse organizations totaling more than 1 million individuals. They "cleansed and validated" the lists, invited 400,000 owners and service providers to participate, and received 28,000 surveys filed electronically. That is a 400% increase over the number of participants in our 1996 study.

In addition, Deloitte sent surveys to nearly every racetrack and off-track betting parlor, hundreds of large breeding farms and training facilities, and over 4,500 horse shows.

The result is the most comprehensive economic study ever done on the horse industry. It describes an industry that involves agriculture, sport, gambling, entertainment, recreation, and is all built on the agri-business of breeding and training horses.

Sometimes even within the industry, many of us don't always recognize the other segments of the industry and the horse world and how they are interrelated. This study shows how important each segment is and how each compliments the other. For example, more Thoroughbreds, or Thoroughbred crosses, are used in showing, recreation and other activities than in racing. These other sectors provide markets for Thoroughbreds and second or third careers for our race horses. They are a source of new owners and new fans for the sport. And they are very important in providing added support to the many legislative initiatives that we are faced with in Washington, D.C., some of which you will hear about shortly.

The study shows that the horse industry, in all its segments, including racing, showing, recreation and other activities:

  • Involves 9.2 million horses, including 1.3 million Thoroughbreds.
  • Includes nearly 2 million owners.
  • Pays approximately $1.9 billion in taxes each year to all levels of government.
  • Contributes $40 billion a year in direct economic impact, an important figure, and $102 billion in total economic impact.
  • Supports 453,000 jobs directly and 1.4 million in total.
  • By itself, racing contributes $11 billion directly to the economy and $26 billion in total.
  • It supports 146,000 jobs directly and 384,000 in all.
  • Horse breeding by itself provides an annual impact of $4.5 billion and $12 billion in total impact.

These are just some of the findings of the study.

It also went into 15 "breakout states." The industries in those states provided additional funding for this focus, and we know that the information will be very helpful as they deal with their state legislatures and the media.

A new part of the study provided by Deloitte was an estimate of the horse population in each of the 50 states. Texas leads with 1 million, California is second with 700,000 and Florida third with 500,000. But, importantly, 45 out of the 50 states have at least 20,000 horses.

This study was undertaken to provide fresh statistics. It will be a great asset in educating the public, the media, the press, and federal, state and local officials, about how important the horse industry is. This is just the type of information, particularly the economic impact and the jobs, that gets the attention of elected officials. Perhaps Senator Mitch McConnell, a great supporter and a great friend of the horse industry, said it best when he noted, "This study confirms what many in Congress already knew: That the American horse industry is a vital contributor to the U.S. economy while bringing pleasure and recreation to millions of people."

And now for a commercial break, if anyone wants a copy of the national study, complete with colored pictures this time, just give a call to the American Horse Council. We'd be pleased to get you one.

[AHC at 202-296-4031 or]

We are very excited about the study. We believe it will be helpful in many, many areas important to the horse industry. Thank you for supporting it and thank you particularly if you participated in it.

And now to provide some additional perspective on the industry's efforts in the nation's capital is Greg Avioli, executive vice president of legislative and corporate planning for the NTRA, and someone that I enjoy very much working with.

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