Sport horses worth €708m to economy
MORE than 6,000 sport horses worth €26m were exported out of Ireland last year, new research from UCD and Horse Sport Ireland has revealed.
This latest snapshot of the non-thoroughbred equestrian industry shows that the Irish Sport Horse contributes more than €708m to the Irish economy every year.
The UCD report found that the Irish sport horse industry employed more than 11,400 people full time but more than 47,000 people were involved in the sector in total.
Ireland's horse population increased dramatically for a number of years from 2005 onwards but has since levelled off.
This levelling off is due to a combination of a reduction in foaling rates and an increase in equine slaughter rates.
The proportion of the horse population accounted for by thoroughbred horses has fallen from a high of 44pc in 2005 to 35pc in 2011.
In contrast, sport horses now make up approximately two-thirds of the horse population in Ireland, equating to around 124,000 sport horses.
Breeding is the largest sector of the equestrian industry and accounts for a total expenditure of €226m annually.