SEOUL, March 6 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of horseback riders and the facilities to accommodate them are on the rise due to policies bolstering the equine industry.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs stated on March 6 that last year’s regular horseback riding population stood at 49,312, a 3.9 percent increase from the previous year.
Regular horseback riders are defined as people who frequently ride, such as those who own saddle horses, equestrian trainees, and individuals employed in the equine industry.
The near 4 percent growth represents a drop in year-on-year growth in the recent past.
The population of regular horseback riders broke the 40,000 barrier in 2014, and subsequently increased by 5.9 percent and 10.5 percent in ensuing years to reach 47,471 in 2016.
The reason for the slowed growth in new committed horseback riders has been attributed to the activity’s tarnished image from equestrian Chung Yoo-ra, one of the figures of interest tied to the 2016 South Korean political scandal.
Meanwhile, the number of casual riders also increased, going up by 0.9 percent to 899,402 from 2016 to 2017.
In total, 948,714 hobbyists and devotees went riding last year.
The government had from 2012 to 2016 carried out an equine industry growth plan with the goal of raising horseback riding facilities to 500.
With 33 new additions last year bringing the total number to 512, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs declared that it had reached its target.
South Korea was home to 27,210 horses last year. Of these, 42.1 percent were saddle horses and 26.8 percent were race animals, while 3.2 percent were being raised for meat.
By late 2016, the economic impact of the equine industry was calculated to be 3.4 trillion won, for 0.3 percent year-on-year growth.
The government since 2017 has initiated the second step of its five-year plan to promote the equine industry.
Lina Jang (email@example.com)