Horse industry worth £212m to Northern Ireland - report
The horse industry is worth up to £212m a year to Northern Ireland, according to a new government report.
The figure covers revenue earned through breeding, horse therapy and riding lessons and stabling offered by equestrian centres.
Most of the 34,000 horses in Northern Ireland are privately owned by people who use them for recreation, according to the BBC.
They pay around £5,000 a year on average to maintain the animal.
The report was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
It was commissioned to establish the value of the equine industry in Northern Ireland and to consider ideas to develop the sector.
About 3,000 full time jobs are supported by the industry.
Geoff Cannon, the chair of Northern Ireland's Equine Council, said a cross-departmental strategy is needed.
"To engage with central government we needed to show them there was a value to this industry and hence the report," Mr Cannon said.
He called for the same level of government support currently seen in the Republic of Ireland - although the industry here is smaller.
Mr Cannon said there was scope for investment and improvement in what is a "huge sport and leisure industry".
Belfast Telegraph Digital