Facts about equestrian sports in Germany

The German Equestrian Federation (FN) presents an extensive study on equestrian sports in Germany. As early as 2019, the market research company Ipsos conducted a total of 10,000 interviews for the study, and the figures were available at the beginning of 2020.

The sample was divided into five groups: Active organized equestrians (club members, approx. 350,000 people), active non-organized equestrians (non-club members, approx. 490,000 people), occasional equestrians (the largest group with approx. 1.5 million people), former equestrians (approx. 490,000 people) and potential equestrians (approx. 210,000 people). The study is the second market analysis of its kind. The first one took place in 2001. FN Secretary General Soenke Lauterbach clearly points out the potential of equestrian sports: “If you add the under 14-year-olds, you get an estimated 2.9 million riders in Germany.

The average rider

What the average riders from this group look like was one of the questions of the study. In the group of active, organized equestrian athletes 78% are female and the average age is about 38 years. Active riders look thereby on the average on approximately 14 years experience in the horse haven back, Gelegenheitsreiter on approximately 10 years. At the beginning of their riding careers, 22% of today’s active equestrian athletes were 6 years or younger, 39% started riding at the age of 7 to 12 years. Only one in five of today’s active riders was over 18 years old.

The jump-off rates from the group of former riders are also interesting. About 32% of the alumni gave up equestrian sports when they were 13 to 17 years old, another 25% at the age of 18 to 29 years. Most active equestrian athletes live in towns with less than 100,000 inhabitants (62%). Riders have a gross monthly salary of about 3,500 euros, which is well above the national average. 67% of all active, organized equestrian athletes work full-time, another 15% work part-time. A large part of the equestrian sport is a leisure sport: more precisely 76% of active, organized riders and even 90% of active, non-organized riders. In contrast, tournament sport is their focus for 23% of club members and 8% of active, non-organized riders.

Germany’s horses

Projections of the FN show that there are about 600,000 households in Germany that own horses and that there are about 920,000 households with people who actively or occasionally engage in equestrian sports. Altogether there are 1,247,000 registered horses in private ownership nationwide. With the most popular horse breed the tendency goes to the German riding horse or warm blooded horse: About 38% of the asked ones indicated it as preferred breed. This was followed by German riding ponies with 9% and racehorses with 8%. Every tenth respondent stated that they had no preference.

Preferences differ in the way they are kept: 40% of those questioned keep their horse in a boarding house. This is a significant increase compared to the 2001 study, while private ownership declined. About 44% of actively organized equestrian athletes prefer a single box with an outside window (23%) or a paddock box (21%) for their horse. Among non-organized riders, 37% tend to keep their horses in open stables or active stables.

Equestrian sport as an economic factor

Up-to-date the horse economy in Germany registers an annual total turnover of 6.7 billion euro. Of this 39% is accounted for by keeping costs. Interesting figures for the retail trade are the frequency of active equestrian sports and safety equipment. About 53% of active club members take care of their horse on at least 5 of 7 weekdays. For active, non-organized members this is about 33%, while 27% say they are with their horse three or four times a week and 35% once or twice a week.

As far as equipment for riding is concerned, the authors of the study state that the higher the affinity to equestrian sports, the better the safety equipment. Among active club members, 84% wear a riding helmet, 36% wear a safety vest and another 36% wear back protectors. Riders with an orientation towards equestrian sports used back protectors more often (40%) but wore a helmet less often (69%). The figures for active non-organized and occasional riders were very similar. 79% and 77% wear helmets and 27% wear safety vests and back protectors respectively.

Preferred disciplines

Multiple answers were possible in terms of discipline. Within the group of active, organized riders, 72% are dressage riders, 46% show jumpers and 35% are eventing riders. For active non-organized and occasional riders, dressage and eventing are 60 and 48% dressage and 50% eventing respectively. Riding out is one of the favorite activities in equestrian sports for 65% of occasional riders, 60% of active, non-organized riders and only 48% of active, organized riders.

All facts and figures of the study can be found here: www.pferd-aktuell.de