Quick Facts

Horses, and Equestrian Sport and Recreation in New Zealand

New Zealand Stats

  • 120,000+ horses in NZ
  • 80,000+ are recreational or sport horses
  • 2-3% population regularly ride
  • Equestrian is in the top 25 sports for women
  • 5-6% pop ride at least once per year.


  • Ave riding horse is approx 500kg
  • approx 60% of horse owners, own 2-5 horses
  • Horses first arrived in NZ - Dec 1814
  • Accurate horse numbers are not kept by Statistics NZ

Equestrian Sport and Recreation

Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) is the official national body for competitive equestrian sports

Horses, Manure and Human Health

Horse Manure is not a risk to human health. There are no known toxic effects on humans due to the exposure to horse


  1. Common equine parasites are not pathogenic to man.
  2. Generally speaking, horse guts do not contain the 120 viruses and constituents of concern in human, dog and cat faeces (carnivores and omnivores)
  3. Most viruses with zoonotic potential (animals infecting humans) are not found in horse wastes.

Media Coverage of the Equine Sector

Equine Dentist Warwick Behrns spends his days working on the mouths of horses, donkeys and sometimes even zebras.

Archive of Equine items on Radio New Zealand National

Equine Based Therapy

Riding for the Disabled - Radio NZ National

Turning Lives Around - Radio NZ National, Country Life: 180 degrees Trust

Horse Trekking and Riding

Equestrian Tourism is more than just commercial horse trekking. But if horses are stopped from using public spaces, that certainly affects the businesses of many horse trekking operators.

Horses in the City

Horses in the City ... not just a rural activity, some of most densely populated cities in the world have more horse access, programs and recreation than here in NZ.

In New Zealand the number of regular adult horse riders in Auckland is slightly higher than in other regions according to SportNZ surveys.

Is Auckland really so big we can't have horses in our city??



New York