Riding Discipline Choice Related to Income, Survey Shows

Income plays a significant role in how owners use their horses, according to a recent survey.

The findings are part of the American Horse Publications nationwide online 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.

Dressage appears to be the discipline of choice for the wealthy, as the likelihood a respondent participates in the sport increases as income rises, with only 20% of people with incomes of $50,000 or less taking part, while 35% of those with incomes over $150,000 participate. Conversely, those with the highest incomes are least likely to use their horse for trail riding and natural horsemanship.

Not surprisingly, those with the most money attend the greatest number of competitions, with people making over $150,000 per year averaging seven competitions per year, compared to those earning under $50,000 attending less than four per year.

The economy might be impacting horse show participation, as the highest income earners were also the most likely to report a decrease in competitions attended in 2009, when compared to 2007. However, they were also the most likely to report an increase in competitions attended. Those in the middle income range of $75,000 to $99,999 were also more likely to increase their number of competitions.

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Liz Brown

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