Early Evidence of the Economic Effects of COVID-19 on the Horse Show Industry in 2020.
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The COVID-19 pandemic affected the economic status of all sectors of the global economy including the horse show industry. Reporting the impact of COVID-19 on in-person horse shows and an early assessment of its impact on the economy was the objective of this study. A Qualtrics survey instrument was disseminated to horse showparticipants through social media pages and email (n=251). A majority of respondents were females (95.6%) representing a cross-section of the United States (84.0%). Participants reported planning to attend an average of 9.7 (SD=7.15) in-person horse shows in 2020 but were unable to attend an average of 4.17 (SD=3.11) due to COVID-19 restrictions. Participants reported spending a mean of $991 (SD=$648.26) per show on horse show-related expenses, or $9,609 annually. The American Horse Council (2018) reported that 1,227,986 horses comprise the competition sector, with each horse owner showing 1.57 horses. This participation generates $7.5B in expenses annually. The reduced attendance at in-person shows resulted in a decrease in annual expenditures, suggesting economic losses of $3.23 billion. The quantified direct effects were used in the IMPLAN input-output model to estimate the total economic impact. The reduced attendance resulted in a reduction of $7.2 billion, and a reduction of approximately 50,000 jobs within the horse show industry. Additionally, the industry's contribution to GDP (value added) was reduced by $3.95 billion. Early assessments of the economic impact associated with a reduction of in-person horse showing is vital to understanding the long-term implications for the industry.