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Research reveals Serpentine Jarrahdale as WA’s equine capital

New research has revealed the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale to be Western Australia’s equine capital..

29 August 2018
Research reveals Serpentine Jarrahdale as WAs equine capital

New research has revealed the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale to be Western Australia’s equine capital, with the industry’s economic value to local equine businesses totalling $168 million.

More than 400 equine events are hosted in the shire annually, attracting over 43,000 riders, 54,000 horses and 75,000 spectators. The estimated value of equine events alone to the local economy is $12 million.

Research by independent consultants was used to inform the Shire’s draft Equine Strategy 2018, which was adopted by Council this week and highlights the industry’s true scale and diversity.

It found equine activities fell into four categories – racing, equestrian, leisure and trail riding, and stabling of retired and companion horses. Key findings were:

  • The Shire is home to 3,876 registered horses - more than any other WA Local Government area;
  • The Shire has twice the number of registered racing horses (harness and Thoroughbred) than the next largest Local Government area, making it easily WA’s biggest racing hub;
  • Around 30% of the state’s active Standardbred (harness) horses are stabled in the Shire;
  • The Shire is home to the second largest number of registered equestrian and pony club members, and the third highest number of polocrosse members;
  • A further 4,500 unregistered horses kept for leisure or as companion animals are stabled in the Shire.

The Shire’s draft Equine Strategy supports investment in, and development of, the local equine industry by:   

  • Strengthening the Shire’s identity and reputation as WA’s leading equine region;
  • Supporting and enhancing the diversity of equine activities in the Shire;
  • Planning and protecting key equine assets and improving facilities;
  • Creating partnerships and advancing economic development.

Shire President Cr Michelle Rich said there was a clear need for Serpentine Jarrahdale to adopt its own vision for the preservation and growth of the area’s proud equine heritage.

“This strategy reflects the important role the equine industry plays locally, and highlights the fact the Shire is by far the largest equine centre in WA,” Cr Rich said.

“Not only is the industry a huge part of the local economy, it’s also a major part of our local identity.

“We’re fortunate to have easy access to bush riding trails, training facilities such as the Byford Trotting Complex, the state’s largest polo club and equestrian and pony clubs. There are over 80 local businesses directly linked to the equine industry and on top of this we have 4,500 much-loved horses stabled as leisure horses or companion animals.

“This not only underscores the industry’s importance to the community, but also highlights the need for greater State Government investment in equine related facilities and activities.  

“We’re committed to working with State Government and regional stakeholders to ensure the industry remains strong, and is able to take advantage of any and all opportunities that lie ahead.”

The draft Equine Strategy 2018 also identified five opportunities to further develop the Shire’s equine industry. These include:

  • Equine Business Network - to encourage collaboration between local equine businesses;
  • Equine festival - an annual equine event to showcase and celebrate all things equine;
  • Equine tourism - development of equine tourism opportunities in the Shire;
  • Equine education and skills training - establishment of a Centre of Excellence to offer training for equine-related skills.
  • Equine branding and positioning - development and active promotion of the Shire’s equine brand.

Cr Rich said each opportunity would be carefully examined in consultation with industry participants and the wider community.