Horses are amazing athletes and wonderful companions, but they are also a significant investment of both time and money. The American Horse Council estimates there are 9.2 million horses in the United States, and 1 percent to 1.5 percent of these horses are unwanted, roughly 92,000 to 138,000. This estimation is based on previous numbers of horses that have been sent to processing annually, but the total number of unwanted horses is likely greater than this estimate (American Horse Council, 2005).
An unwanted horse is defined as (Unwanted Horse Coalition, 2005):
- Fails to meet their owner's expectations
Other factors contributing to the number of unwanted horses include rising feed costs, lack of financial resources due to a failing economy, indiscriminate breeding and closure of U.S. processing facilities.
For more information on unwanted horses and responsible horse ownership, visit the following pages.