A survey of Kentucky's equine industry harnessed big numbers to back up the state's bragging rights as the world's horse capital. Kentucky is home to around 242,400 horses, according to new data released Wednesday.
From June to October of last year, researchers with the National Agricultural Statistics Service counted equines across the state, ranging from thoroughbreds at large farms to ponies in people’s backyards.
Dr. Jill Stowe, a professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky, says the project marks the first comprehensive survey of Kentucky’s horses since 1977.
“The data that we have right now even is useful for our elected officials in policy decisions. It’s useful for business owner or entrepreneurs who are trying to write business plans and they need to know what demand is like in their area," said Dr. Stowe. "And with this information we have that.”
The value of horses in Kentucky is estimated at around $6.3 billion, with other equine-related assets totaling more than $17 billion. An economic impact report of Kentucky’s horse industry is expected to be completed later this year.