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NZ Research and Statistics

Research and Statistical data are sorely needed for the equine sector, and recreational equestrians in particular to show their size and value to the country.  

Horse Riders - Sport

  • 3% of New Zealand young people (including 1% of boys and 6% of girls), and 5% of New Zealand adults (4% of all men and 6% of women) have participated in equestrian sports at least once in the past 12 months; 2% of adults participate regularly (i.e. in the past four weeks).
  • Two-thirds of adult equestrians (65%) are women; over half (56%) are aged under 35 years of age.
  • Just over seven out of ten adult equestrians (71%) participate in equestrian sports outdoors in a natural setting, with 36% participating in equestrian sports outdoors at a track or course, and 18% doing so at their homes.

source: SPARC - Equestrian Facts Brochure  

South Auckland map of Equine Properties - Enterprise Franklin

Horse Numbers

Statistics New Zealand does not record the number of horses in the country.  The data held by StatsNZ only reflects horses on farms (that are GST registered).

StatsNZ shows around 60,000 horses in NZ

Agribase Biosecurity Database

After the Australian Equine Influenza outbreak MAF (MPI) outsourced the creation of an equine biosecurity database.  

Agribase's biosecurity database revealed that  instead of 60,000 horses reported by Statistics NZ there were 120,000 horses.  40,000 of those are racehorses, the remainder (80,000) are recreational or sport horses. 

This database is also assumed to be an underestimate, as it has done very little to contact the average recreational or sport horse owner.   It is also very expensive to view the data, even though the company collects it for free. 

UPDATE: Agribase has now been replaced by yet another database for farms.  FarmsOnline.  I am currently trying to gain access to stats on horses from this database. 

I have also made a submission (supported by NZ Veterinary Assoc) to have animal numbers included in the next Census (2018).


Value of the Equine Sector

Annual Expenditure
On average survey respondents so far spend just under  $13,000 per year per horse (excluding large capital expenses).  80,000 x $13,000 = 1 billion dollars of annual economic input from recreational horse owners.  

This figure does not include capital expenses, export of horses, or downstream economic inputs from businesses. 
The biggest single expenditure is on feeding\housing (grazing fees or livery), however when similar expenses are categorised - travel (vehicle expenses and maintenance), recreation and education costs are the biggest category averaging just under $5,000 per year per horse.

Equestrian Events

Horse Of the Year (HOY)

Hawkes Bay
Space Used
100 acres
6 days
Equestrian Disciplines
Trade Sites
Visitors to Hawkes Bay
32 000 (1500 from Australia)
HoY Spectators
70 000
Income returned to region
Regional GDP Impact



The first ever EquiDays event was held in 2011

Over 12,000 visitors attended the 3 day event. A great success that will be repeated in 2012.