How Many Horses are in the United States – Statistics & Analysis

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 01/21/23 •  5 min read

Horses are fascinating animals that contributed greatly to modern civilization in the United States. Many years back, they were used for various activities like farm work, transportation, delivery, hunting, and fighting in wars, among others.

Horses have played an important role in the culture and the history of the United States. 

Are you curious about how many horses are in the United States? Getting the right answer to this question is not as easy as it looks. There are three main organizations that provide data on the horse population in the United States, and their results vary.

These organizations include the American Horse Council Foundation, the American Veterinary Association, and the US Department of Agriculture.

Let’s have a look at the latest research!

horse statistics

U.S. horse population quick facts

How many horses are there in the united states?

Getting an exact figure on the horse population can be tough.

Here is why!

The three major organizations that gather and publish data on the horse population in the US have different numbers.

And the good news? The American Horse Council has combined all its data to provide a comprehensive and reliable report on the latest horse population.

Let’s dig into AHC findings!

According to AHN horse statistics in 2017, the United States has 7,246,835 commercial and recreational horses. Below is a breakdown of the US horse population depending on the activity.

Horse activityNumber of horsesHorse percentage
Recreational horses3,141,44943%
Show horses1,227,98617%
Racing & Racehorse breeding1,224,48217%
Amish Institutionally Owned156,4302%
Total Horses7,246,835    100%

Which state has the highest number of horses?

According to data collected by the American Horse Council in 2017, the state with the highest number of horses is Texas. It is followed by California and Florida. 

The table below explains the horse population per state. It covers the top 3 states with the highest population and the top 3 states with the lowest horse population.

RankingStateNumber of horses
#1 HighestTexas767,100
#2 HighestCalifornia534,500
#3 HighestFlorida387,100
#1 LowestRhodes Island2,600
#2 LowestHawaii6,100
#3 LowestDelaware8,000
Total Horses 7,246,835

How many horse breeds are there in America?

According to the US Equestrian, there are 11 recognized horse breeds and 18 disciplines. The most popular horse breeds in the U.S. are the American quarter horse and Thoroughbreds.

Apart from the quarter horse, other popular horse breeds include Tennessee Walker, Mustangs, Arabian, American Paint Horse, Shetland, Friesian, and Morgan among others.

How many wild horses are there?

According to the Bureau of Land Management, the wild horse population is approximately 90,000 wild horses and burros living in the Western United States. The wild horses in the American West roam freely in public rangelands and they cannot be moved from public land to places where they are not free-roaming.

The wild American horses move in herds together and are always directed by an older mare. Almost half of the wild horse population is in Nevada. The rest of the wild horses are in other places like:

Wild horses in the United States are protected by the American Wild Horse Campaign, a nonprofit organization. It protects iconic wild horses and burros and ensures they roam freely on public lands.

What about unwanted horses?

An unwanted horse is a horse that the owner no longer wants to keep because for different reasons. It could be a horse owner who cannot afford to feed him any longer, a dangerous horse, a horse with lameness, or an injured or ill horse that an owner doesn’t want to have.

The United States has approximately 200,000 unwanted horses annually.

What happens to unwanted horses? Some are lucky enough to find new homes, others go to equine rescue and some owners request a vet to euthanize them. For others, they are abandoned and abused and the rest go to humane horse slaughter.

Horse meat is not safe for human consumption in the US because they are given many toxic substances which are unregulated before slaughter.

What about unwanted horses?

The Impact of the horse industry on the American Economy

The horse industry in the United States is diverse, and it contributes considerably to the economy.

According to a study carried out in 2017 by the American Horse Council Federation, the horse industry contributes approximately $122 billion to the US economy and provides up to 1.7 million jobs.

Interestingly, the horse industry provides more employment opportunities to people than other sectors like radio & television broadcast, rail, petroleum, and tobacco industries.

Frequently asked questions

Approximately how many horses are there in the united states?

There are approximately 7.25 million horses.

How many households in the United States have horses?

The United States households have approximately 1.6 million horses.

What type of horse should I get?

If you are searching for a horse on the market, there are several things you should consider. For instance, do you want a pony or horse, your riding experience, and the type of riding you intend to do? 


Horses are an integral part of the US economy, and their population is increasing with time. They have been part of human life for many years and people still appreciate them up to date. That is why you find almost 31% of households in the United States have a horse enthusiast.

I have given you a roundup of the horse population in the United States and the impact of the horse industry on the US economy.

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Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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