New study looks to understand impact of equine economy in South Carolina  

A horse is a horse of course, but horses are also an economic force. A recent American Horse Council study finds that the U.S. equine industry is responsible for about $122 billion in economic impact and 1.74 million jobs on a full-time basis, that generate $79 billion in total salaries, wages, and benefits. How much of that is felt in South Carolina? And how much is felt in Camden and Kershaw County.

That’s the question University of South Carolina researchers will answer in a new study funded by the SC Department of Agriculture that will show how each segment of the equine industry contributes to the economy, as well as to the rich cultural fabric of South Carolina. The data will be used to inform future policy and business discussions.

According to Suzi Sale, city tourism and economic development director, the data will be compiled via survey of horse owners and/or every member of the equine sector throughout the city and county, as elsewhere in the state.

Simon Hudson, endowed chair and director of the Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development, will lead the new project.

“The equine industry is a dynamic blend of tourism, entertainment and cultural heritage that plays a critical role in South Carolina’s identity and economy, so we are excited to have a strong team of specialized experts working together on this project,” Hudson says. 

“The last statewide study of South Carolina’s equine sector was conducted 14 years ago,” Hudson added, “so the new study will play an important role in showing how much the industry has grown and how much it means to the state in 2018.”  In Florida, for example, the equine economic impact has risen by 33% in  the last decade.

“If you are involved in the equine sector – in any capacity, the research team needs to hear from you,” says Sale. “Their online survey will only take 5-10 minutes to complete, participation is completely voluntary, and your answers will be anonymous.”  

To take the survey, go to this link: Equine Survey

“We look forward to working with Dr. Hudson, the University of South Carolina's Centers of Economic Excellence Program, and the SC Department of Agriculture on this critical research,” Sale added.

Anyone with questions is encouraged contact Dr. Simon Hudson ( at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.