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2022 Kentucky Equine Survey FAQs

Q: Why does the Commonwealth need another industry survey and what information will it provide?
A: The last state-wide equine study was completed in 2012 – that was the first survey of its kind to be completed since 1977. This follow-up survey will provide a statewide study of all breed of horses in Kentucky. Results will:

  • Quantify the number of equine and equine operations at the county level
  • Provide important business planning data
  • Provide vital information for disease surveillance
  • Keep policy makers informed and engaged proactively
  • Inform workforce development
  • Identify emerging markets on which businesses can capitalize
  • Enable the industry to nimbly adapt to a changing market

Q: What questions will the survey answer?


  • How many horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys are in Kentucky?
  • What equine breeds are in Kentucky?
  • Where are Kentucky’s equines located on a county-by-county basis?
  • Are there clusters of horse populations?
  • What equine breed and use distributions exist geographically?
  • What is the primary use of horses and other equines in Kentucky?
  • How many commercial breeders are there, and in which counties are they located?
  • How many commercial trainers, instructors, and boarding facilities are there?
  • What is the total value of the equines in Kentucky?
  • What is the value of the services provided by the equine industry (i.e., sales, breeding, training, instructing, boarding, showing, etc.)
  • What is the profitability of commercial operations?
  • Which areas of the state can support growth in the equine industry?
  • Which part of the state can support additional supplementary equine services, based on the number of equines located there?

Q: What are the benefits of this survey?
A: All Kentuckians will benefit from the information this survey provides.

The benefits of this project are not limited to horse owners. As an economic cluster, accurate and detailed information about Kentucky’s equine industry will also benefit the state’s tourism industry and attraction as a high-quality place to live, providing incentives for attracting new ancillary businesses to Kentucky, and enable existing ancillary businesses to expand or change their business models and products based on defined industry needs.

The non-financial benefits contribute to the long-term success and sustainability of Kentucky’s unique horse industry and affiliated signature equine symbolism for the Commonwealth. Some of these initial non-financial benefits include:

  • Identifying opportunities for profitability in the intermediate and long term
  • Providing sound information to inform policy decisions
  • Providing data for equine-related business plans
  • Providing critical horse population/epidemiological data for monitoring disease outbreaks
  • Providing data to direct the Cooperative Extension Service efforts in relevant research and educational programs statewide
  • Providing a benchmark to measure future changes in the industry.

From a broader perspective, the results of this study will enable the industry to identify and capitalize on emerging markets, create a business framework that leverages every county’s individual equine-related resources, increase demand for Kentucky-bred and/or trained horses of any breed and, ultimately, increase horse farm profitability.

Q: Where can I find results of the study once it’s published?
A: and

Q: Where can I find the 2012 Equine Survey?

Q: I remember recently completing  USDA study. Why do we need another?
A: The USDA defines a farm as a place that generates at least $1,000 in cash receipts annually through the sale of products. While some equine operations fit this definition, neither boarding facilities nor recreational farms qualify using this definition. In fact, at least in Kentucky, the USDA Census of Agriculture estimates appear to underestimate the number of horses by about 50 percent.

Q: Who are the primary participants in this study?
A: The Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director (Sarah Coleman); University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs personnel (Dr. C. Jill Stowe, Dr. James MacLeod, Danielle Jostes and Holly Wiemers); and the National Agricultural Statistics Services (David Knopf, Barry Adams).

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