A very timely email crossed my desk as I was preparing to analyze the North American portion of the 2014 Fell Pony Society Stud Book. Apparently I am not alone in enjoying looking at numbers and trends. Debbie Fuentes, registrar of the Arabian Horse Association and an employee of AHA for twenty years, annually collects and curates data from thirteen American breed registries. Similar to my annual analysis, Fuentes looks at trends over the past decade regarding registration numbers, transfers of ownership and membership. (1)
In addition to Arabians, Fuentes gathers data about Quarter Horses, Paints, Appaloosas, Standardbreds, Tennessee Walking Horses, Miniature Horses, Morgans, Pintos, Ponies of the Americas, Saddlebreds, Thoroughbreds, and Paso Finos. According to a 2005 study by the American Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service, just more than half the equines in the U.S. are registered with some breed association. (2)
Fuentes made the following observations after her collection of 2014 data:
- there are a large number of twenty-year-old horses right now because 1995 had a peak in registrations
- the Great Recession caused registration numbers to fall to half of their pre-recession highs
- 2014 saw a slight increase in registrations overall, with some registries posting gains, such as the Quarter Horse up 12%, and some posting declines, such as the Tennessee Walkers, declining 33%.
- Memberships dropped for all associations
- “Level is the new normal,” with Fuentes adding, “I would be very pleased to see more (registries) remain flat, rather than experiencing another drastic decline.” (3)
If you are interested in reading my observations of trends based on the 2014 Fell Pony Society Stud Book, make sure you are on the mailing list for Fell Pony News from Willowtrail Farm (click here to sign up.)
- Anderson, Michelle N. “The Ups and Downs of U.S. Horse Registrations,” article #36601at thehorse.com
- Same as #1
- Same as #1
My observations on Fell Ponies are collected in the book Fell Ponies: Observations on the Breed, the Breed Standard, and Breeding, available internationally by clicking here.