Animal Aid background notes on pet horses and ponies

Posted on the 18th September 2007

The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) conducted the National Equine Survey, the results of which were published in 2006.


  • The survey showed that there are a total of 1.35 million horses in Britain. This includes horses kept by private owners and professional establishments.
  • Of that 1.35 million, 1.2 million horses are owned by 721,500 households in a non-professional capacity. This indicates that the majority of horses are being used for pleasure.
  • The survey shows that horse riders and owners spend around £4 billion per year on what is an increasingly popular leisure activity.
  • Many horses are sold privately through advertising websites for anything from a few hundred to several thousand pounds.
  • Ponies will be bought for children learning to ride and will usually be sold on once the child has outgrown the horse or has given up riding.
  • The basic cost of keeping a horse or pony could exceed £4,000 per year – a high price for a horse or pony who is no longer wanted.
  • Euthanasia and carcass disposal costs around £500, whereas the owner would receive money from a slaughterhouse for their horse to be killed and sold as horsemeat.
  • While people taking on a pet, such as a cat or dog, usually intend to keep the animal for life, horses are often purchased with a view to selling them on once their usefulness has passed.

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