The Economic Value of Marin County Equestrian Activities

The proximity to the city of San Francisco, beautiful landscapes, a rural historical heritage, and progressive institutions for land conservation, have made Marin County an attractive place to live. These very conditions have also induced population growth and the location of new electronics industries. With population and industrial growth came competition for land uses and therefore a challenge to the viability of the very conditions that made Marin county so attractive. This is particularly true for the survival of its green spaces and rural cultural heritage. The probability that Marin county can maintain its environmental and cultural character will depend both on institutions established through governance, and the economic choices of its inhabitants. It will also depend both on public interventions and private choices. Important expressions of these private choices have been farming and ranching activities and horseback riding. The existence of farming production and horseback riding are being challenged by increasing land prices and by the competition of alternative outdoor activities. Constraints to horseback riding are gradually manifested through fewer open spaces and trails for horseback riding. The following study demonstrates the relatively high significance of the Marin equestrian economy. As a consequence it makes apparent the role that private choices have played in shaping the landscapes and culture of Marin county. Constraints to the equestrian economy, therefore, have significant effects on horseback riding and horse commercial operations that keep Marin County green and pastoral. These constraints also have significant effects on the business and professional opportunities of those who serve the equestrian sector.