West Virginians involved in the horse industry are participating in a research study being conducted by West Virginia University on the impact the industry has on the state’s economy.

Last week, the WVU Extension Service mailed nearly 2,500 questionnaires to horse owners, veterinarians, feed and supply store owners, boarding stable owners and others in the industry.

“It is important for people to return the surveys because the state’s equine industry, which has quietly grown into a major economic industry, has not been studied before,”said Jean Woloshuk, WVU Extension specialist.

The study will analyze the direct and indirect economic impact the industry has throughout West Virginia in terms of employment, taxes, sales, tourism and quality of life of horse owners and enthusiasts.

The study will also gather information about equine industry operations, horse owners and horse breeds in the state. In addition to WVU Extension, the study’s sponsors are the West Virginia Legislature, the West Virginia Horse Council Inc. and WVU ’s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences. The legislature provided $25,000 to conduct the study.