39 Fascinating Horse Statistics (2024 UPDATE)

Many of the following horse statistics will surprise you. Horses suffer a lot—from measures taken to reduce wild horses’ overpopulation to racing industry activities.

Here, you’ll also find some unique horse facts that you probably never knew. We’ll also share information on the first horse-human interactions.

Now that you know the highlights take a look at the rest of the interesting information we’ve gathered.

General Horse Stats

Below, you’ll find horse industry statistics, current population, and the general welfare of these magnificent animals.

Few people think about how big the horse racing industry is. Or the dilemma of the wild horse population in the United States.

The more we discuss these topics, the more light we’ll shine on the potential issues they present. It’ll also allow for more effective solutions and faster implementation.

1. The horse industry contributes $50 billion to the US economy.

(UMN Extension)

The horse industry statistics reveal it also creates 988,000 jobs in the US. This contribution is from the entire horse industry, including recreation and horse care.

The direct economic activity of the horse industry also spills into other industries. Thanks to this spillover, the US horse industry actually contributes $122 billion to the economy and provides 1.7 million jobs.

2. There are 90,000 wild horses in just 10 western US states.


Wild horses facts reveal these numbers are more than triple what government watchers claim they should be—which is 27,000.

And the horses continue to grow in number. When in the wild, wild horses increase their population by 15%–20% yearly if left uncontrolled.

This means that every four to five years, the population in these areas will double. It’s important to note that these numbers don’t include the new foals from 2020, which could be between 14,000 and 18,000 in total.

3. The horse population in the US counts over 7.2 million horses.

(UMN Extension, Horse Council)

The state of Texas has the most horses — 767,100. California comes in second with 534,500 horses, leaving Florida in third place with 387,300, as the data on horse population by state shows.

[visualizer id=”5782″]

There’s quite a variety of activities that the horses are used for. Keeping horses for recreation is the most popular, with 3,141,499 horses.

[visualizer id=”5784″]

Furthermore, show horses come second with 1,224,482. There are also 1,224,482 racehorses and 537,261 workhorses.

(UMN Extension)

As of 2017, there are 2.1 million Quarter Horses and 1.1 million Thoroughbreds. American Quarter Horse facts reveal these numbers put them in first and second place as the most popular breeds in the country.

It’s important to note that the survey didn’t count horses in organizations or Amish communities.

5. Galileo, an Irish stallion, had a market value of $199 million.


Estimating a stallion’s market value is done using the rough rule-of-thumb that the stallion is worth approximately 300 times the stud fee.

Galileo, the legendary Irish stallion, had an estimated $663,000 stud fee. He’s also fathered over 300 foals that became race winners.

The more a stallion wins races, the higher its stud value is. The more times the stud produces race-winning foals, the more his value increases.

6. 23 horses died at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, in just 3 months.


The U.S. statistics on horses reveal that almost 10 horses died weekly on racetracks in 2018. To put it in perspective, that’s more than double the rest of the world of racing.

There’s one upside of the horrible fatalities in California, though. They allowed the PETA Vice President to write up new rules at Santa Anita Park.

They will govern the use of whips and drugs, transforming the track into the most progressive and safest in the country.

7. The most paid for a working horse was $112,500.


Guinness World Records reveal the horse, a 2-year-old Belgian stallion, was sold at an auction in Gifford, Illinois, in 2003. Rather than working the horse, though, its new owners wanted to breed him.

The same happens with many racehorses as well. Recently, a British stallion who won 14 races and proved to be a producer of race-winning foals reached a $220,000 stud fee.

8. Racehorses and the associated death rates reveal that 122 horses died on race tracks in Australia in a single year.


The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses has collected this information between August 2018 and July 2019.

The most common cause for the deaths, at 61 occurrences, were front limb injuries that resulted in the horse being killed. Other reasons included cardiac failure and bleeds, possibly induced by a pulmonary hemorrhage.

Although the figures were comparable to those in previous years, the overall mortality rate is most likely much higher.

Horse Facts You Didn’t Know

Horses are truly unique and amazing animals. These elegant creatures can recognize facial expressions and learn quickly through positive reinforcement. In fact, they often remember their trainer even after years have passed.

Learn more about their character, physical traits, and history.

9. Horses were most likely domesticated about 4,000 years ago by Asian nomads.

(National Geographic)

The horse facts reveal that the animals were a vital part of human society up until the engine was created. And they continue to be honored in many cultures.

National Geographic further shares that today most horses are domestic, while some are still wild. Feral horses are also common. They’re described as horses that were tame once but have been free to roam for generations.

10. A male horse that can reproduce is a stallion.


This means that the horse hasn’t had its testicles removed and is sexually mature to breed. Stallions usually start breeding after three years old. Though many can reproduce as early as one year.

Gelding a horse involves removing its testicles. Thus, male horses who have had this procedure done are called geldings.

11. Horses need 2–3 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

(I Heart Horses)

Facts about horses also reveal they don’t sleep for these two and a half hours all at once. They usually sleep in brief intervals of no more than 20 minutes throughout the day.

Their sleep process comprises slow-wave sleep of five minutes. Then, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep for five minutes. And finishes with slow-wave sleep for another five minutes.

Although horses can sleep standing up, for REM sleep, they must lie down. But, they need no more than one or two hours of REM sleep every few days.

12. Only 25mg of full-spectrum CBD oil is needed for horses to ease their anxiety.

(Equine Wellness Magazine)

Due to horses’ hearts beating 30–35 times a minute, they have a slower metabolism than smaller animals.

That said, the by-weight dosage of medications for horses is lower than other smaller animals like cats and dogs. Rubbing 25mg of CBD oil on a horse’s gums gets the same results in reducing anxiety.

Comparatively, dogs require 0.1 mg per kilogram of their body weight. So using CBD oil for your horse—whether for anxiety or one of the other many issues it’s known to help with—can be very affordable.

13. As of January 1, 2020, the use of CBD for horses in competitions at AQHA-approved shows is no longer allowed.


Horses that compete at any AQHA-approved shows are subjected to testing for:

  • synthetic cannabinoids
  • natural cannabinoids
  • other cannabimimetics.

Any horse that tests positive will be in violation of AQHA Rule VIO401.1.

This rule prohibits using stimulants, tranquilizers, sedatives, and depressants that could affect performance. Any positive test will result in a $2,500 fine, the horse being disqualified, and a three-month suspension.

14. The endangered Przewalski’s breed is showing a comeback in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

(Popular Mechanics)

The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 resulted in high radiation levels. This required the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to be evacuated, returning the area to nature.

Facts about wild horses reveal that scientists first introduced 36 Przewalski’s horses, known to be the last wild horse breed, to the area. Over time, the radiation levels lowered, and interest in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone grew.

A study that started in 2015 revealed that the zone is thriving with animals and helps this nearly extinct wild horse breed.

15. The oldest horse recorded lived to 62 years old.

(Horsey Hooves)

Fun facts about horses show the average life expectancy for horses is between 25 and 30 years. Though some may even live beyond 40. Still, Old Billy hit records by reaching the ripe old age of 62.

Horses aren’t considered adults until the age of four. And until then, females are called fillies, and males are colts.

Once they get older, female horses are called mares, and males are geldings or stallions. Once the horse passes the 15-year-old mark, they’re considered seniors.

16. The Earth has had horses for over 50 million years.

(Live Science)

The data on horse population by country reveals the very first horses have originated in North America. They later spread across Europe and Asia.

The horses that were left in North America then became extinct some 10,000 years ago. But, they were reintroduced much later by European colonists.

Horses are believed to have been first domesticated in Asia between 3000 and 4000 BCE. They were first used for meat and milk. Later on, they became a means of transportation.

17. Horses are measured in “hands.”

(Cowboy Way)

Rather than measuring the height of a horse the usual way, in inches or centimeters, they’re measured in hands. Today, you initially measure horses in inches but then have to convert the results into hands.

One hand measurement is equal to four inches. An example is a 58-inch high mare. To get the hands-based measurement, divide the height by 4, and you’ll get 14.5 hands height.

18. Horses can be bred successfully with zebras and donkeys.

(Messy Beast)

Several equid hybrids include the interbreeding of horses, donkeys, and zebras. Though initially, they were bred experimentally, today, some are interbred commercially.

A hybrid between a zebra and a horse, donkey, ass, or pony is called a zebroid. Those bred with either an ass or donkey are called zebrass.

Often, zebras reared with domestic donkeys or horses, or hand-reared, can become tame and be ridden and led.

19. Baby horses can stand and even trot shortly after birth.

(The Spruce Pets)

Foals stand and walk within two hours after birth due to their survival instincts. It’s at this time that they should be up and nursing. This is crucial to their health, and it’s best to bring in a veterinarian if the foal takes longer.

Furthermore, breeders share that filly foals (females) are faster at getting on their feet than colts. Surprisingly, baby horses can usually gallop within 24 hours.

20. Horses feel best when they have company.


In the wild, horses travel in herds that consist of one or two stallions. They’re accompanied by mares and their foals.

Contrary to what most expect, the leader of the herd is a mare, usually the oldest. She may be weaker than the males and other mares, but she still dominates the herd.

She establishes her dominance over the herd. Not through aggression, but rather her attitude.

The job of the stallion leader in the herd is to protect and reproduce. A herd can have between 2 and 21 horses, with up to about 8 being mares and the rest foals.

21. Horses pick up training faster through positive reinforcement.

(Research Gate, NBC News)

The University of Rennes conducted a study in 2010 with 23 horses. Scientists worked on over 40 actions to test positive reinforcement in their training.

It revealed that horses learned faster and showed fewer “bad” behaviors than those that didn’t receive positive reinforcement. Furthermore, after eight months away from the trainer, the horses remembered the individual and gravitated toward her.

22. There has been no observation of the activity of cribbing in wild horses.

(The Spruce Pets)

Cribbing facts reveal this behavior has many names — aerophagia, crib-biting, or even windsucking. It hasn’t been confirmed, but scientists believe this behavior usually starts due to stress or boredom.

However, there are arguments it could be due to a genetic predisposition.

It causes the horse to suck in a lot of air, resulting in a grunting sound and potential health damage.

The fact that it hasn’t been observed in wild horses reveals that it may have to do with how a horse is maintained. Or its genetics, diet, stress, or temperament. But, the culprit hasn’t been pinpointed yet.

23. Stallions have 4 more teeth than mares.

(Cowgirl Magazine)

Although it’s relatively easy to determine whether a horse is a male or female, you can also do it by counting a horse’s teeth.

So, how many teeth does a horse have? Geldings and stallions can have anywhere between 36 and 44 teeth, while mares have between 36 and 40.

Both sexes have six incisors on the top and bottom of the front of their mouths. These are used for grabbing their food.

In the back of the mouth, they have 12 lower and upper molars for grinding. When they’re young, they have 24 caps, known as milk teeth.

24. A foal is carried 11 months before it’s born.

(Animal Corner)

Foals are usually born in the spring. Mares typically give birth to one horse but can also give birth to twins. Though this is rare, and twins typically don’t make it.

When a mare gives birth, it’s called foaling, and it usually happens either at night or in the early morning.

The mare produces milk for the horse and will usually feed it for several months. Foals usually look rather odd while feeding on grass. They’re born with legs nearly the same length as a full-grown horse, making it difficult for them to reach down.

25. There are about 350 nationally recognized horse breeds.

(Horse FAQs)

Horse breed facts reveal there are also additional 100 pony breeds and approximately 1,400 horse breeds that the national registries haven’t recognized. This number seems impossible.

However, breeding isn’t strictly regulated, so keeping records is hard.

They’re divided into four major groups:

  • Light horses that weigh between 1,000 and 1,300lbs. This category includes Morgans, Saddlebreds, Quarter Horses, Tennessee Walkers, and Thoroughbreds.
  • Heavy horses that weigh about 2,000lbs. The category includes the Shire, Belgian, Percherons, Clydesdales, and other Drafts.
  • Feral horses that are wilder, such as Brumby and Mustang.
  • Ponies that are 14.2 hands tall or less. The category includes Dales, Bosnian, American Shetland, and Dartmoor.

26. There are usually 205 bones in a horse skeleton, but horse facts reveal that this may vary depending on the breed.

(Horse Illustrated)

An example is the Arabian horse breed. Their spinal column has fewer bones, and due to this, they may have only 17 ribs compared to the standard 18.

Furthermore, all horses have 8 “true ribs” connected to the spinal column and sternum. Regardless of their number, the rest of the ribs are “floating” ribs because they don’t reach the sternum.

27. The heart of a thoroughbred horse can weigh up to 22lbs.

(Horse Nation)

Typically, a horse’s heart can weigh 7–9lbs compared to a human’s heart that is just half a pound. However, horses with much heavier hearts have been weighed. One of these exceptions is the famous Secretariat, a thoroughbred.

(Horse Canada)

Scientists initially believed that horses were color blind, which led to this common misconception. Although their vision isn’t like ours, they still have a dichromatic vision or two-color vision.

While humans distinguish colors on three-wavelength vision, horses can see blue and green variations, but they can’t see red. When looking at something red, it appears yellowish or greenish.

However, horses have superior night vision due to having more rods than humans and a reflective membrane.

Horse Abuse Facts

Regardless of their elegance, beauty, and incredible physical abilities, horses are often abused—both on private farms and in the horseracing industry.

Fortunately, many animal welfare organizations focused their attention and groups on this.

Changes are being made, while horse racing has suffered due to the bad reputation from the treatment of their Thoroughbreds.

29. 24 horses experience fatal breakdowns weekly on US racetracks.


It doesn’t include horses the racing industry discards every day because they aren’t profitable anymore.

In 2015, over 250 Thoroughbreds had severe injuries or experienced fatal breakdowns while racing. And that was just in the state of New York.

30. Horses were food before they started being used for riding or carting.


Horse history reveals that during the Ice Age in Europe, horses were prey to humans. Horse remains and hunting weapons findings show that humans hunted them for food before discovering their other uses.

Cave paintings and images carved in bone also reveal that horses may have also played a crucial part in prehistoric man’s rituals. A tradition that continued on in many cultures.

31. Animal testing was done on 10,512 horses in the UK alone in 2019.

(Animal Free Research UK)

Even though the tests affected only 43 horses, it’s frightening to see that with so few horses, 10,512 tests were conducted in total. What’s worse is that this is a 0.8% increase compared to the previous year.

However, the total is still frightening, at 1,729,646 animal testing procedures, affecting millions of animals.

32. During WWI, eight million horses, mules, and donkeys died.


The British Army only had 25,000 horses when the war first broke out. They purchased another 115,000 through the Horse Mobilization Scheme. Throughout the war, between 500 and 1,000 horses traveled to Europe by ships every day.

Many owners humanely put their animals down before they could be shipped out, knowing what was to happen to their horses.

Risks to these creatures included being killed by long-range shelling or single shots, but Clydesdales had it worse. Their deaths were slow, hard, and traumatic due to their use in hauling guns.

33. Sadly, 53,947 horses were exported to Mexico to be slaughtered in 2019.

(The Counter, Horse Nation)

The numbers are horrific, but it’s a decline compared to the previous year. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to find the number of horses exported to Canada in 2019.

But the data from the previous year show that 70,708 horses were exported to Mexico and 10,568 to Canada.

By the end of 2007, the three remaining US slaughter facilities dealing with horse meat shut down. They closed because the USDA no longer received the necessary funding to inspect them.

Beyond the US, horse meat is still eaten in Europe, Russia, and Japan. This has opened doors for live horses to be exported and slaughtered in Canada or Mexico, where the horse meat is then shipped out.

“Kill buyers” export both domestic and wild horses, including retired racehorses.


34. How many Thoroughbred horses are born each year?

It’s challenging to get an exact number, but about 20,000 new foals are born yearly. In high-end Thoroughbred breeding facilities, stallions work hard to cover over a hundred mares during the breeding season.

Although there is still a lot of interest in the sport, its popularity has reduced. And attendance at most tracks is minima. The sport’s management and its policies are partly to blame for the loss in popularity.

However, slot and casino gambling has also helped replace the appeal of horse racing.

36. Why is horse meat banned in the US?

The consumption of horse meat isn’t banned in the United States. However, in 2007, Congress banned funding for the USDA to inspect horse slaughterhouses. This ultimately led to the demise of all horse slaughterhouses by the end of the year.

As there are no slaughterhouses for horse meat, there is little to no horse meat consumption in the US.

37. How many racehorses die a year?

Hundreds of racehorses die every year. Just in 2018, 493 Thoroughbred racehorses died, according to The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database.

It’s important to note that this number doesn’t include retired horses. The retired horses are exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. And some horses are euthanized once they are no longer profitable.

38. What is a filly?

A filly is a young female that hasn’t stopped growing. Once the filly stops growing, it’s called a mare. Although they are sexually mature, they don’t stop growing until they’re four or five years old. And they shouldn’t be bred until then.

39. Are horses color blind?

No, horses aren’t color blind, even though this is a widespread belief. Though they don’t see colors the same way humans do, horses see blue and green variations. However, they can’t see red — it appears greenish or yellowish.


We hope the above has helped shed some light on these incredible and intelligent animals.

Horses have played an essential role in the lives of humans for thousands of years. We hope we can better appreciate them in the future. Thus reducing any inhumane treatment to a minimum.

Please share your thoughts below. Have we missed any horse statistics that you were specifically looking for? Do you have any questions about horses you need help answering?


  1. I really like your writing style, excellent info, thanks for posting :D. “In every affair consider what precedes and what follows, and then undertake it.” by Epictetus.

  2. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you possess any tips concerning how to get placed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Cheers

  3. We are a gaggle of volunteers and opening a whole new scheme inside our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to function on. You’ve done a formidable task and our entire neighborhood can be grateful for your needs.

  4. This post gives clear idea in support of the new viewers of blogging, that actually how to do blogging.

  5. Thanks , I have just been searching for info about this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I have found out till now.

  6. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the other parts of the website is very good.

  7. Every weekend i employed to go to see this website, as i want enjoyment, for the reason that this this website conations actually nice funny stuff too.

  8. Everyone loves it when individuals get together and share thoughts.

    Great website, continue the excellent work!

  9. Thank you for every other informative website. The place else could I
    am getting that type of information written in such an ideal manner?

    I have a undertaking that I’m simply now working on,
    and I have been on the glance out for such info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *