A horse owner's age is a major predictor in how involved they will be in the horse industry, according to a new survey.

The findings are part of the American Horse Publications online nationwide survey, conducted from Oct. 15, 2009, to Jan. 31, 2010, which resulted in more than 11,000 responses. The survey is the largest ever of its kind for the United States.

Respondents aged 45 and older report owning the greatest number of horses, with those owners older than 65 having, on average, more than six equines. Not surprisingly, as income levels increase, so does horse ownership, with people with an annual income of $150,000 or more owning six or more horses.

"People who are older tend to have the financial ability and the time to own horses as they begin to retire and their children start to leave the house," said Bridget Harrison, director of communications for the American Horse Council, a national association that represents the horse industry in Washington, DC.

Younger horse people (those ages 18-34) are the most likely to experience a change in their participation in horse competitions, whether that be an increase or decrease. Demands of this life stage most likely account for this result as well, as people in this age bracket tend to be establishing themselves in careers and families.

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Liz Brown

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