IV. Demographic Characteristics of Horse Ownership and Use in Connecticut
The objectives of the horse owner survey
were to obtain information related to broad characteristics of horse ownership
and to investigate the types, values, and uses of horses owned by Connecticut
households. The survey was pre-tested.
A total of 1,061 owner surveys were mailed out and 366 (34.5%) of these
were completed. Of the people surveyed, 83% owned at least one horse at
the time and were able to respond to the subsequent questions in the survey.
The survey results indicate that Connecticut's
horse owning population has the following general characteristic
- Most of the horse owning population
has individual ownership (71.6%) as opposed to joint or business
- The vast majority of horse owners (88%
) are females.
- The age distribution of horse owners
is reported in Figure
4-1. The average age of the horse owner is about 45 years.
- The average length of time a person
had owned a horse was 18.61 years.
- The predominant primary occupation of
horse owners could be classified as professional (since Manager/Engineer/Scientist/Teacher
and Secretary/Assistant categories account for 64.2% of respondents).
- Figure 4-2 shows the geographical location
of horses in Connecticut based on our sample. There is no direct
relationship between horse numbers and human population density.
Litchfield, with the highest number of horses, is the most rural
of all Connecticut counties with a population density of 198 persons
per square mile (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). On the other hand,
Windham is the next most rural county after Litchfield (with a
population density of 213 persons per square mile), yet it is
has the least number of horses in our sample.
- Horse ownership in Connecticut is best
described as a personal recreational activity. Respondents were
asked to rate the reasons for owning a horse on a scale of 1 (least
important) to 5 (most important). Respondents could choose more
than one response. Figure 4-3 summarizes the results. The first
bar corresponds to companionship. About 71% rated this as the
most important reason for owning a horse, while 18% considered
it the second most important reason. Similarly, the second bar
shows that personal and family use and recreation is considered
most important by 67%.
- The most common uses of horses in our
sample are companionship (71%) and recreation (67%). Many other
states in the U.S. display a similar pattern. Also, the national
averages reported in the 2005 American Horse Council study are
consistent with these results.
- The average annual household income
of our respondents is about $100,000. The largest income group
is that of $50,000 - $74,999 (22% of horse owners) and the majority
are in the income range 50,000-99,999 (50% of horse owners). Note
that average annual income per household in Connecticut is approximately
$61,000, which suggests that horse ownership in Connecticut is
associated with middle to higher incomes.
- The average number of horses per owner
is 2. Horses appear to be owned primarily by households with 2
people, while the average number of people living in the household
Respondents were asked for the sex and age
of their horse(s), use characteristics (including manure handling and
helmet use), and market value of horse-related assets. Results are summarized
- Geldings (54%) and mares (43%) account
for most of the horses in our sample. The average age of horses
owned was 14, with most horses ranging in age from 6 to 18.
- Over half (53%) of horse owners in
Connecticut do not board their horses. In that case horses are
kept on privately owned land. The average area of land used for
this purpose is 13 acres of which respondents own an average of
7 acres and lease the rest. Owners primarily keep their horse
on pasture (38%) or a combination of stall and pasture (37%).
About 19% of horses in Connecticut are kept in stalls only.
- Almost 67% of the owners indicated
that they have sufficient access to greenways and trails to ride
their horses while the rest feel that they need more greenways
and trails in Connecticut. Most respondents believe that the increasing
development in open space is threatening natural trails and greenways.
- The predominant method of manure handling
is spreading on fields (37%) either before or after composting.
- Two-thirds of horse owners wear a helmet
while riding a horse but only 37% of horse owners wear a helmet
while driving a horse. However, the number of horse owners who
would require others to wear helmets riding or driving is higher
than the number of horse owners who wear helmets while engaged
in the same activity.
- Data obtained on market value estimates
for horse-related assets (as of 2002) is shown in Table 4-1. Land
and buildings were the highest valued assets on average.
- Data were also obtained on the use
of horses as a source of income in various categories for horse
owners, including a breakdown of horse related expenses. Only
about 15% of respondents indicate income generation from their
horses and the average of the amounts reported is $5,054. The
average of total expenses, on the other hand, is $12,375.
Table 4-1: Fair Market Value (FMV) for