As a large, economically diverse industry, the Arkansas horse industry contributes significantly to the Arkansas economy. Horse owners, industry suppliers, racetrack, horse shows, other competitions, recreational riders and other industry segments all generate discrete economic activity contributing to the industry’s vibrancy. The spending generated with the horse industry and the subsequent spending between co-dependent industries contribute hundreds of jobs and 65 million dollars to the economy on an annual basis.
Arkansas horse industry reaches into the far corners of all 75 counties. The horse industry impact is generated from the smallest of the rural communities to the largest of our cities. Arkansas has over 2500 equine events annually. We have to the two largest equine events in the United States during the Labor Day week end with Arkansas Open Horse Show in Little Rock with over 2145 horses, the annual Chuckwagon races in Clinton with over 6500 horses and mules. Arkansas also has one of the largest barrel racing futurities, Old Fort Days Futurity in Fort Smith, with over 800 horses. Recreational riding is the largest growing activity in the state at this time. The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission’s Equine Verifiers program helps to support these activities through their educational program helping provide 2000 qualified verifiers to support these activities.
Arkansas has over 300 outdoor arenas and 20 indoor arenas. Arkansas State University, Southern Arkansas University, and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville have indoor arenas. The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has an equine degree program. Within the last year we now have an Equine Specialist added to the University of Arkansas Extension Service Staff. We also have seven bed and breakfast equine accommodations within the state and 25 trail ride hosts.
The American Horse Council Foundation estimates that our equine population will normally generate at least 40,000 equine related jobs within the state. The equine industry continues to grow in Arkansas as noted on impact section attached to this document.