Summary of our market study

Since 2020, the French equine market has shown signs of stabilization after a period of decline that saw a 30% drop in the number of breeders and a 25% drop in foal births. The industry generated sales of 11.2 billion euros, with horseracing accounting for 87% of total financial flows. The United States was the leading producer of thoroughbred racehorses, while France ranked 6th with 5,500 thoroughbreds. The sports and leisure sector experienced a peak in demand, followed by a decline and then stabilization. The number of licensees in France fell by 11%, indicating a decline in participation in equestrian sports. Draft horses and horsemeat contribute less significantly to the industry, with demand for draft horses and horsemeat consumption both on a downward trajectory.

The number of horses in France remained relatively stable at 1.09 million. Despite the fall in the number of breeders, the number of breeding operations increased, suggesting a potential revival of the sector. Artificial insemination was the predominant breeding method, with significant variation in methods depending on breed. The market structure includes various oversight parent companies such as France Galop, Le Trot, SHF, SFET and Interbev Equins, each responsible for different segments of the sector.

Overall, the market is poised for potential growth, but remains closely linked to the performance of sub-sectors, notably horse racing, which generate a substantial share of industry revenues.

A comprehensive analysis of equine market trends in France

In recent years, France has witnessed a significant transformation of its equine industry, resulting from substantial reforms, particularly affecting the traditional National Stud system. These reforms have led to a market that has contracted, but is now showing signs of stabilization and potential for rejuvenation. An in-depth look at the market reveals the key trends impacting breeders and the industry's various sub-sectors. The equine industry encompasses the racing, sport-leisure, draft horse and horsemeat categories, each contributing differently to overall market dynamics.

Racing was a dominant force, accounting for around 87% of industry sales, underlining the significant role of horse racing in the French equestrian economy. Despite racing's dominance, the sector faced challenges, marked by a slight dip highlighted by a 10.4% reduction in financial flows from racing. Betting trends demonstrate a continuing appetite for betting on racing, despite a gradual decline in betting volumes.

The number of horse-riding licensees shows a modest decline over a six-year period, falling by 11%. Nevertheless, the sport retains its position as the fourth most popular national sport. This sector mainly comprises disciplines such as show jumping, dressage and eventing, with the majority of competition participants engaging at club and amateur level.

Demand for working horses rose, reflecting successful promotional efforts. Despite this, production and demand for working equines - including draught horses, land horses and donkeys - have shown stable trends at around 4,300 draught horses and between 2,000 and 2,500 land horses and donkeys per year in recent years. The horsemeat segment is in sharp decline, accounting for just 1.3% of industry sales. This downward trend is pronounced in both consumption and slaughter volumes. Despite this general trend, regional preferences, such as sustained consumption in the Hauts-de-France region, illustrate the influence of tradition on demand.

Key players shaping the equine market landscape

  • France Galop and Le Trot: The pillars of the racing industry

France Galop's main mission is to encourage the breeding of purebred racehorses and the development of horseracing in France. It exerts considerable influence on the racing landscape by assuming legal, disciplinary and financial responsibilities.

On the other hand, Le Trot focuses on the world of trotting and demonstrates an unwavering commitment to promoting breeding practices and improving trotting discipline. It has put in place policies, including breeding control measures and incentives to ensure the quality and sustainability of the trotting population.

  • Société Hippique Française (SHF): Breeding sport and leisure horses

The SHF looks after the sport and leisure horse segment, focusing its efforts on preserving the quality of young sport horses and ponies. By organizing competition circuits and complying with the rules on value enhancement, the SHF ensures that sport and leisure horses benefit from an environment conducive to their development. In collaboration with the Fédération française d'équitation (FFE), the SHF facilitates the development and importance of riding as a sport in France.

  • Société Française des Équidés de Travail (SFET): Champions of working equines

Dedicated to the promotion of working horses, SFET defends the breeding, training and marketing of these hardy equines. Representing a diverse range of 24 breeds, SFET conducts promotional activities and development programs that highlight the use and adaptability of workhorses in contemporary contexts.

  • Interbev Equins: The voice of the equine meat industry

Although representing a smaller and shrinking sector, Interbev Equins acts as the guarantor of interests linked to horse breeding and the commercial aspects of the horsemeat industry. Working closely with FranceAgrimer, Interbev Equins is responsible for protecting this traditional market segment, ensuring that standards and common interests are taken into account and defended.

Together, these organizations form a comprehensive support network for the myriad segments of the dynamic French equine industry. From racecourses to working and leisure fields, these players define market contours, regulate and promote the equine industry to foster growth, innovation and tradition in balance.

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  • Last update : 05/10/2021
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

A breeder is the owner of at least one mare, which he or she brings to stud. The breeder monitors and cares for the broodmares throughout the breeding cycle, and provides the initial education of young foals destined for development and/or marketing. Breeders are often required to engage in other activities, such as breaking-in, transporting horses, brokerage, promoting young horses in competition or instructing riders, to supplement their breeding income.

Historically, horse breeding was the responsibility of the Haras Nationaux, which played a supervisory role with the aim of maintaining and improving the quality of equestrian horses in France. Offered at reduced rates, stud services were provided by a hundred or so stallions made available annually to mare owners. The initial aim was to provide horses for the French cavalry, which in turn served the French army. at the end of the XIXᵉ century, the Haras nationaux supplied horses for equestrian disciplines, and since the second half of the XXᵉ century, equestrian sports and leisure have been added.

In the early 2000s, the Haras and their ownership by the State were much debated, marking the beginning of reforms for the equine sector: some State-owned stud farms began to be put up for sale; State management of stallions was also called into question, as the State gradually withdrew from this function, and public calibration drew to a close, causing upheaval. In 2010, the Haras Nationaux came to an end, merging with the École Nationale d'Equitation to form the Institut Français du Cheval et de l'Equitation (Ifce). At the end of 2014, it was official: the State sold all its stallions, marking the end of public stallion breeding, which had to be gradually offset by private stallion breeding.many small breeders were unable to pay the stud fees and had to close down their businesses.

These reforms have had a major impact on the equine industry: the number of breeders fell by 30% between 2009 and 2019, and the number of foal births followed suit, dropping by 25% between 2009 and 2016. From 2016 to 2019, however, the number of breeders stabilized, falling by just 0.6% a year, and from 2017 to 2019, the number of births even returned to growth, still very slight, but at 2.3% a year.

The equine breeding sector has been turned upside down by the reforms concerning the National Studs, entities that had been established and reigned over the sector for centuries. This break-up is still recent, the sector is changing and is still in a period of transition, but the figures are stabilizing and show that the sector has lost some of its power, but is nonetheless an attractive sector, ready to take off again.

Breeders are producers in the equine industry, which is divided into 4 categories: racing, sport-leisure, working and meat. Breeders are highly dependent on the activity of each of these sub-sectors, the most important of which is horse racing, generating 87% of the sector's sales in 2019. Racing has suffered greatly from the health crisis, but is slowly regaining its strength, as shown by PMU's results, which should reach 93% of usual results by the end of the year, according to the CEO's October 20210 estimates. Like the equestrian sector, the other activities of the equine industry are also gradually recovering from the health crisis.

1.2 France takes its place in the global marketplace

Main breeds of sport horses produced World, ****, in thousands of births Source: ****

In ****, the most produced horse breed in the world, with ** thousand births, was the Purebred Spanish (***) was the *ᵉ most-produced breed in **** with *,*** births. The *ᵉ breed is a French breed, the Selle Français, a breed selected for show ...

1.3 Horse racing, France's leading equine industry

The equine industry :

Sales trends in the equine industry France, ****- ****, in billions of euros Source: ****

In ****, the equine industry generated sales worth **.* billion euros, and although this figure is in line with that of **** and ****, it is still lower than that seen around the years **** - ****, which was worth around ...

1.4 International trade: French exports on the rise

worldwide :

Horse exporters World, ****, in percent Source: ****

In ****, horse exports were worth $*.** billion, and the leading horse exporters were China, the UK and Ireland; France occupying *ᵉ place in the ranking. There is no dominant country since China, the leading exporter, does not even account for a fifth of the horse export ...

1.5 Impact Covid: a hard-hit equine sector that's bouncing back

Closure of establishments open to the public, ban on gatherings, confinement of the population, etc. The Covid-** crisis disrupted the entire equine industry

Sales growth in April France, **** - ****, in percent Source: ****

at the request of the French Ministry of Agriculture, IFCE published a study in May **** to assess the economic ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Horse racing: business down slightly

Racing accounted for **% of equine sales in ****. There are three types of horse racing: obstacle (***) and trotting.

Source: ****

The number of races, the number of starters and the number of horses have not changed much since ****, but they are down slightly (***). In ****, France was the *ᵉ country to organize the most flat ...

2.2 Sport, leisure and work

Sport and leisure riding:

The "sport" segment includes equidae used partly or solely for competition. The "leisure" segment includes equidae intended for multi-purpose non-competitive activities and outdoor riding.

Trends in demand for sport horses and ponies France, **** - ****, in numbers Source: ****

Over the *-year period from **** to ****, demand peaked in ****, for ...

2.3 Working horses and horsemeat

Working horses:

The French draught horse herd, estimated at *,***,*** in ****, fell to ***,*** in ****: it was impossible for these horses to cope with motorization. From the ****s to the ****s, production was boosted by a new use for draught horses: butchery, but from **** to **** production fell again, representing less than **% of equine ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Market structure of the equine sector, essential for the breeding market

To understand the market structure of horse breeders, it is important to look at the market structure of the equine industry as a whole:

Source: ****

The industry is divided into * sub-sectors: racing, sport-leisure, working and meat. These sub-sectors are supervised by the parent companies, which play a very important role. They ...

3.2 Production


Growth in the number of horses France, **** - ****, in millions Source: ****

The number of equidae in France is relatively stable, with an average of *.** million horses on French territory between **** and ****.

The French trotter has been the most-produced breed in France for ** years, but the institution of Le Trot has ...

3.3 Distribution: auctions are the talk of the town

Auctions for racehorses and sport horses:Breeders entrust their horses to organizations responsible for organizing auctions to sell their horses, reaping a commission in the process. By ****, an average of *,*** to *,*** equines a year will be auctioned in France, and over **% of these will be racehorses[***].

Auction sales turnover France, ****, in ...

3.4 Players

France galop :

Premium ranking of galloper breedersFrance, ****, in euros

Source: ****


Premium rankings for trotter breedersFrance, ****, in euros

Source: ****

A breeder of trotters is considered to be a breeder who has had a "Trotteur Français" horse from their breeding operation run in France.


SFET does not rank its breeders, ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Equine breeds

Source: ****

There are two other types of horse:

AnOrigine Constatée (***) horse is a foal from an approved stallion with a declared mating, but whose crossbreeding is not recognized by a studbook. A horse of Unregistered Origin (***) when it has no certified, recognized origins and is not registered in a stud-book. ...

4.2 Sales prices for horses

For sport-leisure :

Price of sport-leisure equines by type of horseFrance, ****, in euros

Source: ****

Equidae purchased for sport-leisure activities come in a variety of types and breeds. In ****, average prices for sport horses, small horses and ponies are up on **** (***).

Prices of sport-leisure equines by activityFrance, ****, in euros

evolution of the average ...

4.3 An age-dependent offer

"Foals" is the name given to colts and fillies in the year of their birth, until weaning (***) or December **st. The following year, they become yearlings.

Sport horses:

Sport horses sold at auctionFrance, ****, in euros

*-year-old sport horses sell for higher prices, but it's the *-year-olds that sell the most. ...

4.4 For all prices

The different breeding techniques:

Free mating: mating in freedom, without intervention, practiced in a herd, without individual choice of mating; Hand-breeding: mating between a mare (***) and a chosen stallion held in hand by a stallion keeper; Artificial insemination of fresh semen: semen is collected from a dummy. These doses of semen ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Equine identification

Equine identification:

Since October *, ****, identification on French territory has been compulsory, whether the horse was born or imported. An equine is identified with :

An electronic carrier an identification document, including a record of the horse's natural markings a SIRE* number, attesting to its registration in the central file

You can check ...

5.2 Other regulations

Environmental regulations:Livestock farming is subject to the Règlement Sanitaire Départemental (***), which lays down distance rules for the siting of livestock buildings and the storage and spreading of animal waste.

Equine transport:Horse professionals must have a certificate to transport horses, the Captav (***), as well as atransporter's authorization issued ...

6 Positioning the players


  • Guy Pariente Holding
  • Wertheimer & Frère
  • Franklin Finance S.A.
  • Jean Claude SEROUL
  • Haras de Saint-Voir
  • Mme Benoit Gabeur
  • Mme Henri Devin
  • Mme Catherine Coiffier
  • Jean-Philippe DUBOIS
  • Écurie des CHARMES
  • Écurie Quick Star
  • Arquana
  • France Galop
  • Cheval Liberté - Nancy Cheval
  • Haras de Vendée

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Balance sheet for the domestic market
  • Export market review
  • Breakdown of equine sales
  • Sales trends in the equine industry
  • Top 10 thoroughbred breeders worldwide
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Latest news

France Galop aims to revive horse racing. - 27/03/2024
  • - Increase in the number of racehorse owners: +600 over the last three years to 5,800.
  • - Number of spectators at France Galop's five racecourses: 400,000 last year, up 6%.
  • - PMU sales: 10 billion euros, of which 7 billion generated by horse betting.
  • - Number of PMU points: 14,000.
  • - Economic sector: 10,000 direct jobs in the gallop racing industry, 233 racecourses in France, compared with 55 in the UK.
Vendée: Stud farms and equestrian tourism - 15/09/2023
  • The Haras de la Vendée is a 4.5-hectare historic site dedicated to the horse.
  • The Haras was opened in 1846 at the request of King Louis Philippe.
  • Today, it is an equestrian and tourist institution owned by the département.
  • The Haras de la Vendée gave birth to a military breed: the Vendéen half-blood.
  • The institution employs a number of specific horse-related professions, including show riders, a carriage driver and a farrier.
  • The Haras de la Vendée is a vocational training center dedicated to the trade of harness saddler.
  • The stud is one of the most visited tourist sites in the Yonnais region, with almost 90,000 visitors in 2022.
  • The site regularly organizes sporting and cultural events, such as dressage and riding competitions.
Sale of Maisons-Laffitte racecourse to EPF d'Île-de-France - 07/04/2023
  • Maisons-Laffitte racecourse sold to Epfif: March 28, 7.1 million euros
  • Maisons-Laffitte racecourse to close in November 2018
  • Site surface area: 95 hectares
France Galop wants to convert the French to horse racing - 10/03/2023
  • France Galop posted sales of €460 million last year
  • Renovation of Paris Longchamp racecourse in 2018
  • The association organizes 7,000 gallop races in France and 450 events a year
  • Creation of a second event brand for the general public, "France Galop Live".
  • With the help of Paris Society, founded by party king Laurent de Gourcuff, Paris Longchamp has become a trendy address combining racing, street-food and DJ sets
  • The 272 events organized at Paris Longchamp in 2022 generated sales of €12 million

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Guy Pariente Holding
Wertheimer & Frère
Franklin Finance S.A.
Jean Claude SEROUL
Haras de Saint-Voir
Mme Benoit Gabeur
Mme Henri Devin
Mme Catherine Coiffier
Jean-Philippe DUBOIS
Écurie des CHARMES

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