While survey respondents indicated a very small (0.4%) decline in horse ownership between 2005 and 2015, a sample of breed association registries showed a larger decline of 13.6% on average.
Association memberships were down an even steeper 18.7%. Similarly, the U.S. Census of Agriculture recorded a 9.8% decline in horse inventories between 2007 and 2012, the latest available census.
Relatively steady horse ownership among survey respondents is likely a result of current horse owners being more likely to participate in the survey than former horse owners. It is also possible that extremely avid horse enthusiasts, who were unlikely to give up their horses, were more likely to respond.
Deloitte estimated 2005 Texas horse numbers at 978,800. Using the average registry decline of 13.6%, the 2015 horse population was estimated at 845,900, a decline of 132,900 horses in a 10-year period. Using the smaller USDA contraction rate of 9.8%, the 2015 horse population could be estimated at 882,900, providing a population range (Figure 4).