Irish Horse Businesses exhibit strong growth

The Irish Equine Industry is on the up according to a new government report. In just five years annual economic contribution has increased by 15.25%, to €816 million.

Encouragingly, most of this growth benefits the rural villages and towns of the island. For example, over 60% of the nation’s 14,830 active breeders are in the Western and South-western counties. The income they generate is vital to these local economies. They are a world away from the Dublin offices of Amazon and Google.

Here is a summary of key facts, lifted from the report:

  • There are 14,057 full-time job equivalents in the Irish sport horse industry.
  • A total of 5,527 sport horses to the value of €48 million were exported in 2016, with net exports amounting to €43 million.
  • The current sport horse population is estimated at 135,715 animals in Ireland.
  • The competition sector accounted for €168 million expenditure in the sport horse sector.

The report contains an interesting quote from University College Dublin Professor Alan Fahey. He states:

‘In a time of economic uncertainty due to Brexit, the Irish sport horse industry provides the government with an excellent opportunity to yield a high return for their investment and increase employment in rural Ireland’.

Such optimism in in stark contrast to the warnings of Joe Keeling, the chairman of Horse Racing Ireland. In September 2017 he cautioned that the if the UK does not get a trade deal with the EU, the Irish Equine Industry will be ‘decimated’, due to its close links with Britain.

If this latest report is anything to go by, the industry is the best prepared it has ever been for such an eventuality. Combined Equine exports in 2015 & 2016 amounted to €24.8m. Amazingly, this was equal to the previous five years combined. Although the number of horses sold at Irish auctions decreased by 20% between 2011-16, their mean value rose by 60%. Thus, breeders are operating at a level of higher quality and less quantity, with profits up by 28%.

It is clear that the Irish Equine Industry will face challenges due to Brexit. However strong growth and consumer confidence has not yet been hampered by the result of the referendum. Equine Businesses in Ireland are therefore strong and ready to face such a shock.

Click here to download the full report from the Horse Sport Ireland website.  For more equine industry statistics, visit our industry stats page here

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