by Denis Blake for AQHA

There is not much that the economic decline has not touched during the past five years, from housing to employment, and from Wall Street to Main Street.

The impact on the American Quarter Horse industry has been significant, as breeding activity has declined dramatically. At first glance, some of the numbers are alarming, like the fact that registrations have declined 33 percent from 2008 to 2011 – and will be down again in 2012. But just as with any tough situation, there are potential opportunties for those who take a risk, and according to many in the industry, better times could be coming soon.

As the economy has shown recent signs of strength and indicators point to a brighter financial future, many hoped that the declining foal crop had hit bottom in 2011 and would bounce back up, or at least level out, in 2012. However, that is not the case.

“Last year, I would have sworn we were getting close to the bottom, but when we got the stallion breeding reports in this year, it’s just not there,” says Trent Taylor, AQHA’s treasurer and director of operations.

Total registrations came in at 91,074 for 2011, a drop of 9.2 percent from 100,322 in 2010. For 2012, Trent is predicting a similar, or even slightly larger, decline to around 81,000. 

That’s the bad news. The good news is that demand for Quarter Horses, especially at the upper level, appears to have remained strong across all disciplines, and with a relative shortage of horses coming due to the reduced foal crops, the value of those top-tier horses could increase.

Read the rest of what Trent and other Quarter Horse show industry experts have to say in the May issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.

How has the economy affected the racing side of our industry? Read “By the Numbers: On the Horizon” in the April issue of the Q-Racing Journal online at

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