Horse owners have continued to spend, despite the recession, according to research from the British Equine Trade Association (BETA). And it’s good news to end a difficult 2009.

Over the past year, 83% of owners have bought tack, 91% horse clothing and 47% have purchased a new saddle. A huge 95% of horse owners have also treated themselves to new clothing.

BETA executive director Claire Williams said: “That owners are still treating themselves so enthusiastically underlines that keeping a horse is a lifestyle choice for which some consumers are prepared to sacrifice other luxuries.”

Even better news is that buyers are still supporting local retailers despite the popularity of eBay and proliferation of online shops.

Compared with BETA’s national equestrian survey of 2006, tack purchases from equestrian retailers have doubled — from 26% to 54%. In contrast, purchases from online shops have increased to only 17% of that market share, from 5% in 2006.

Likewise, internet and mail order of bedding has remained minimal — just 1%, with owners preferring to buy from feed and agricultural merchants.

But owners are turning to the internet to buy rider clothing — with purchases shooting up from 4% in 2006 to 24% this year.

For more, read H&H’s 31 December issue.