Economic impact of the horse industry in Ocala / Marion County

Did you know? There are 500,000 horses in Florida, more than 60 percent of which are involved in showing and recreation.
Did you know? There are 500,000 horses in Florida, more than 60 percent of which are involved in showing and recreation.

A study completed by Sports Management Research Institute in California shows that the annual economic impact of the equine industry in Ocala Marion County, Florida, is a whopping $2.62 billion and delivers exciting recommendations for all involved in every aspect of the local horse industry.

Overall Ocala / Marion County Impact

  • $2.62 billion in industry revenues
  • $1.60 billion in value-added contributions to Gross Domestic Product
  • 19,209 people employed in full- and part-time industry-related jobs
  • 15 to 18 The impact represents 15-18 percent of the overall Marion County economy in 2012.

HITS Economic Impact on Ocala / Marion County

  • $94.0 million = Total industry revenue impact
  • $60.4 million = Total value added (GDP) impact
  • 1,300 jobs = Total employment impact

Ocala Breeders Sales Economic Impact

  • 3,100+horses were sold at OBS during the calendar year 2014
  • $142 million = A record total of more than a 20 percent increase in gross sales compared to 2013
  • 42 states and 18 countries represented buyers from Japan, Korea, Qatar.
  • –Japanese 20 horses for over $4 million
  • –Korean 147 horses for over $4.4 million
  • –Qatar 8 horses for over $2.3 including one sold for $1.6 million. This purchase tied for the highest price for a two year old in training in North America with all three top sales occurring at OBS.

What everyone in the Ocala horse industry needs to know

The equine industry offers a sizable impact on the Ocala economy, thus future efforts should be focused upon assuring continued support of the Ocala Horse Industry.

“Sometimes we may not see that (impact) directly … but it’s part of what makes us unique. Part of the fabric of our story is being the Horse Capital of the World.”

–Kevin Sheilley, President & CEO, Ocala / Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership

With 2/3 of visitors reporting a “more favorable” impression of the Ocala region as a result of their experiences during 2014 OBS/HITS events, and more than 80 percent indicating they plan to return to Ocala the following year, these measures should continue to be documented and opportunities for increased business or tourism opportunities explored.

The reported positive impressions of the community provide impetus for future large-scale equine events and it is important that community leaders understand their importance.

With the typical OBS/HITS attendees having a larger than average discretionary income, local industries which are significantly impacted by equine-related activities need to focus marketing and service delivery that caters to this unique visitor.

By all measures, the Ocala/Marion County equine industry is a powerful contributor to the local economy.

–SMRI Ocala / Marion County Equine Economic Impact Study

Focusing on social media and innovation to motivate equine visitors to visit more often, for longer periods and spend more could be significant to the Ocala economy.

Stay tuned, data lovers

In the coming months, results of the next National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Equine Study, which focuses only on the thoroughbred industry and is completed every 10 years, will be released. The last study was completed in 2005.