The Popularity of Equestrian Sports in Australia and New Zealand


Australia and New Zealand are major global centers of equestrian sports and culture, with significant popularity of the sport due to the weather, geographical, natural, and historical factors of the region. The country with the highest proportion of horse riders among the nations is Australia (almost 400,000 Australians own horses, which means that horse owners comprise nearly 2% of the Australian population). In New Zealand, 120,000 horses in NZ, of which 40,000 are involved in the racing industry. Both countries rank as the 15th and 24th countries in the world for both horse riders and horses.

New Zealand Equestrian Sports Industry

There are many equestrian sports such as dressage, jumping, endurance riding, horse-riding, and trail riding in New Zealand. The total amount of people that are involved in the equestrian sports industry is estimated to be around 150,000. The industry is a huge contributor to the New Zealand economy. Every year, equestrians spend around $80 million, which is approximately 40% of the country’s total horse industry. As a state with a population of around 4.5 million people, the equestrian industry contributes around $3.25 billion to New Zealand’s economy. In addition, around 85,000 riders are employed in the equestrian industry, which contributes around $1 billion to the total salary income in New Zealand.

Australia Equestrian Sports Industry

Like New Zealand, Australia is also a former British colony, with endurance riding, dressage, jumping, and horse-riding being a part of the equestrian sector. There is an estimate of two hundred fifty thousand people in Australia that are involved in the equestrian industry, which adds up to the equivalent of the New Zealand market. Moreover, there are around 85,000 people employed in the industry, which equates to about $1.7 billion in salary income.

Similar to the New Zealand equestrian industry, the Australian equestrian industry also contributes greatly to the economy of the country. There are around 350 equestrian events in Australia every year. They are held throughout the country on a regular basis. If you adore equestrian sports and follow competitions on a regular basis, then it is good that you check the best online gambling and betting sites at KiwiGambling and OnlineCasinoGo. The two review sites are targeted toward NZ and Australian gamblers, respectively.


How Did Equestrian Come to Australia and New Zealand?

It’s easy to look back and attribute the emergence of the equestrian sport in Australia to the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 and more specifically, the introduction of the Equestrian sport into the Olympic Games. The Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 was a major event not only in Australia but also around the world. And as such, it was viewed by many to be a landmark moment in the development of sports in Australia and internationally.

The government and the nation invested in the development of equestrian sport in Australia for many reasons. As was the case with the introduction of cricket, tennis, and soccer, the government had seen the enormous amount of money to be made from the introduction of new sports into Australia.

With sports such as soccer and tennis not offering as much potential for revenue for the government and the nation as cricket and rugby, the government had less of a vested interest in funding their development. It was the success of equestrian sport in Australia that changed the minds of the nation and the government about their position on investing in equestrian sport.

The success of equestrian sport in Australia and New Zealand at the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 changed the national attitude about the sport. It made it seem to be the most popular sport for the young and the elderly, and it made people sit up and take notice of the possibilities of the sport for Australia and the nation.

A Growing Sport

The equestrian sports in Australia and New Zealand may seem quite popular to many people who check the best online gambling and betting sites before they get started. After all, it is commonly said that the nation of Australia has the most beautiful horses and these animals are in abundance in the nation. The equestrian sports of Australia and New Zealand may also seem popular in part of the world due to the fact that there are a lot of horseback riding centers in the two nations. 


The Australian equestrian industry is a healthy and growing sector, with a broad spectrum of competition ranging from show jumping and dressage to endurance riding and sports show dressage. The same refers to New Zealand, where equestrian competition is gaining popularity with a number of different events available to horse owners and riders. 

Australian Horse Riding

In Australia, the number of horses and riders participating in these sports is growing. The very same can be said about New Zealand, where the horse population is approximately half the size of Australia’s horse population. The sports of Show Jumping, Eventing, Endurance, and Dressage are more or less the same as they are in Australia. Of course, there are some differences in the organization of events in the two countries. However, they are quite insignificant. 

Equestrian sports are popular in Australia for a variety of reasons. These include their accessibility (with events often being held in locations close to private housing and workplaces), the cost, and ease of access to participation. Other reasons are the ability to train for these sports without a large expense as they are generally done on privately owned land and the fact that horses are the ideal form of transport for a range of recreational activities. They are also a popular sport for children, which is not as true of cycling and running, which are also the main sports for youth.

The growth of the equestrian industry in Australia has been steady over the last few decades, with a significant increase in the numbers of horses and riders registered with the Australian Equestrian Federation in the past 15 years. In 2000, over 30,000 horses were registered in Australia, compared to about 25,000 in 1988. The number of registered competitors has also grown steadily over the last decade, with their number reaching 28,000 in 2000.  This increased interest in equestrian competition in Australia is also evident in the increase in horse and rider numbers recorded in competition events held in Australia and New Zealand over the last ten years.

It is important to appreciate that equestrian competition is just one part of the equestrian sports industry in Australia. Equine health, therapy, rehabilitation, sport, and leisure are also growing industries in Australia. In the last ten years, the Australian sport and recreation industry has grown by approximately $1.3 billion per annum. Equestrian competition is a significant part of this, accounting for over $70 million, or 5.8% of this figure. More horses and more riders will mean more competition will be held in Australia and New Zealand in the years ahead.


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Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse Ba Hons Marketing Management email:

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