WHAT ARE HORSES?
A horse is a solid-hoofed, four legged, plant-eating mammal with
flowing mane and tail. A female horse is called a mare; the male a
stallion. The young are called foals. A filly is a young female
horse, a colt is a young male horse and a gelding is a castrated male horse. In BC, horses can be
divided into four main groups: race horses, sport horses,
recreational horses and work/guide horses.
WHERE ARE HORSES LOCATED IN BC?
Horses can be found throughout the province. There are higher
horse populations in the Lower Mainland (26%), Thompson/Okanagan
(22%), and Vancouver Island (15%).
HOW MANY HORSES ARE THERE?
In BC, there are approximately 13,700 horse farms and 95,000 horses. This is roughly 42,750 recreational horses, 22,800 Sport Horses and approximately 14,500 each of Race and Work/Guide horses.
HOW ARE HORSES PRODUCED?
horses are located on small to mid-sized farms from 5 to 70 acres in size. Horse
producers maintain breeding stock in order to produce young horses
to be sold. Some large ranches still have stallions that roam free
with mares and "range breed"; however, most breeding is done
using pre-arranged mating (either live cover or artificial insemination). Breeders who raise horses will maintain
the necessary facilities to feed and properly care for their
animals. When young animals are old enough, the breeder sells them,
often to people who keep horses for recreation or show purposes.
Individual horse owners generally supply their animals with
proper stabling, feed and grooming. In many instances, these owners
may not have these facilities on their own property and therefore
board their horses at local stables.
WHAT DO HORSES LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE THEM?
People use horses for endurance/competitive trail or pleasure riding.
There is a growing guide and packing industry in BC. Horses are used
to perform work on ranches and in selective forestry. You can also
watch sport horses at equestrian shows, such as dressage, jumping or
three-day eventing, or watch race horses at the race track. Horses are also used in the tourism industry for carriage tours or, for the health and well-being of humans with physical and mental challenges through therapeutic riding services.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE HORSES LEAVE THE FARM?
People who want to buy horses can contact a breeder or or horse farm directly or
attend an auction. There are local live horse markets in BC, Alberta
and Washington State. Horses are also available from many different rescue or adoption societies that take horses that are unable to race, or from owners who can no longer keep their horses, and find new homes for them.
Fresh meat from old/unwanted animals is sold in European and Japanese
markets or used domestically in the pet food industry or sold to zoos for feed (for lions, tigers, etc).
WHAT CHALLENGES DO HORSE PRODUCERS FACE?
The market for horses is driven by the end use. A lack of access
to safe riding areas and adequate facilities for show and race
horses can reduce the market value of horses. The horse producer,
like other livestock producers, faces high input costs and uncertain
markets. The value of an animal also depends on how the horse is
conformed and what its athletic performance/potential is.
WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING HORSES?
- Horse breeder
- Horse jockey
- Farrier (horseshoer) or bare foot trimmer
- Stable owners and workers
- Horse trainers
- Trail guides
Interesting Fact About Horses:
The horse industry is a large segment of BC agriculture. It
is labour intensive and contributes approximately 7200 full-time equivalent jobs and $740 million to the provincial economy.
- Contacts and other resources:
- BC Agiculture - Horse
- Horse Council BC