Arkansas Equine Facts

  • Arkansas has an approximate equine population of 160,000 horses.
  • The total impact of the equestrian industry in the state exceeds 3.5 billion dollars annually.
  • 60,000 households in the state own at least one horse.

The equine population in Arkansas is estimated at around 168,000. This total is primarily horses, but also includes small numbers of mules, donkeys and burros.

Extracting from national surveys, the breakout of Arkansas’ equine by primary use shows that:

  • 42% are used for Recreational purposes;
  • 29% for Show Ring Competition purposes;
  • 9% for Horse Racing; and
  • 20 % for Other activities (pleasure, farm work, and as service animals)

A breakout by type of animal indicates that:

  • 36% are quarterhorses
  • 14% are thoroughbreds; and
  • 50% all other breed types

Arkansas is host to three major equine events each year:

  • The State Championship Horse Show attracts some 2000 riders and over 1500 horses – making it the nation’s largest open horse show west of the Mississippi River
  • The Chuckwagon Races held each year in Clinton registers attendance of over 20,000 people and 6,000 horses
  • The Old Fort Days Barrel Futurity held in Ft. Smith is one of the premier barrel racing events in the country with some 800 entries


Other Facts of Note:

  • Various event and activities in the state involving equine range from thoroughbred racing at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs to trail riding at the state’s 30 host sites and organization, club or community shows, parades and festivals numbering in the hundreds annually.
  • Across the state there are some 300 outdoor facilities and 15 indoor arenas suitable for equine events.
  • An estimate 65,000 households in Arkansas own horses or other equine.
  • The average cost of horse ownership is estimated at nearly $3,000 per year.