More Horse Owners Practicing Natural Horsemanship

While dogs and cats may be the most commonly found pets in most U.S. households, the market for horses is growing. Packaged Facts reports that the U.S. equine market is worth at least $23 billion.  The broader use of horses in recreation and the trend toward natural horsemanship are opening new marketing possibilities for equine-​related products.

Packaged Facts analysts point out that the equine market appeals to a specific type of consumer. These consumers are more likely to respond to celebrity pitches made by a rodeo star instead of a movie star.  Researchers have also discovered that horse lovers are active online community members. Successful brands in this segment are encouraging their fans and followers to participate in contests in order to broaden the scope of familiarity with their products.  While dog and cat owners are well-​known for considering pets to be a key part of the family, analysts say the bond between horseback riders and their animals can be even more powerful. The connection between the horse and rider involves constant communication and touch, in ways that are much different than the communication between a dog and its owner.

These days, more horse owners are using their pets in an animal-​assisted therapy (AAT) role. Patients in need of healing are learning how to interact with horses as they develop or refine specific skills include responsibility, problem-​solving, or self-​control.  These types of programs are now being marketed nationwide.

While horse owners represent a niche market for equine-​related products and services, some enthusiasts believe the ‘natural horsemanship’ philosophy represents the best ownership model. These consumers practice gentle training and allow the animals to run in groups out of the barn. While these owners don’t always use vets for typical equine-​related problems, they are open to spending more money on natural foods and herbs and on specialized trims and boots.

AudienceSCAN reports that about 9% of U.S. adults, 64% female, call themselves horseback riders. These consumers are far more likely than average to live in rural areas and to enjoy other outdoor pursuits like camping, hiking, hunting and shooting. 33% of these consumers will also visit a veterinarian in the next year and may be open to product promotions they see in the vet’s office. In the past year, at least 18% of horseback riders have started an online search because of  in-​store advertising they’ve seen.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.


Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.