The horse sector represents a multi-billion-dollar industry around the world and is rapidly increasing its contribution to the global economy.
The U.S. accounts for a high proportion of the global horse industry, with nearly 2 million people owning horses. Its business created about $50 billion in direct economic impact in 2017. In France, equitation is recognized by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an Intangible World Heritage. The French Equestrian Federation generates about $14 billion each year.
China as well is saddling up its horse sector. The country has the second-highest number of riders in the world, after the U.S. By the end of 2019, it owned 3.6 million horses. The value of its horse sector reached $1.5 billion the same year, with a growth rate of 30 percent.
China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the General Administration of Sport have unveiled a fresh development plan for China's horse industry, aiming to boost the sector and the livelihood of horse breeders.
The five-year development plan focuses on the breeding sector, equestrian sports, and horse-racing events. It mandates the welfare of the animals and the classification of racing events in line with international standards.
"The new policies will have a positive impact on the horse breeding sector, and promote tourism, related real estate projects, and horse-racing events. They will boost the economy and meet the needs of the market," said Yang Zhongning, an investment consultant at Industrial Securities.
The new plan calls for the introduction of additional trainers and managers and the expansion of professional equestrian clubs by 2025. It encourages the industry to build more high-quality training bases, increase the number of national events, and upgrade the entire sector chain.
"Introducing more foreign professionals will promote the sport in China. Equestrian clubs and schools need high-quality venues and enough space for horse barns. Policy support from the government will bring in more players, and the sport will be available to more people," said Mason Lee, owner of Green Valley Riding Club.