I had the misfortune of growing up in Detroit, where the only horses were under the hoods of cars...............save one. There was an alley that ran behind my grandmother's house and once a week the 'sheeny'. would come by. ..I am not certain what the term meant, although to my contemporary ear, it sounds like an ethnic or racist slur. The sheeny drove his horse drawn wagon behind the houses, looking for stuff to (what we call now) recycle. I remember him to be a small swarthy white man and his horse to be a old grey horse. I had an ear for hoofbeats and the minute I heard them I'd be out the door, no matter the weather, running to pet the horse. It drove my parents crazy but...when you're born horse crazy, you do what you have to satisfy the addiction.
still horse crazy after all these years...................
A fun fact I share on some of our tours.....back in 1895.....they say there were 25 million horses in our country....today....it is estimated we have a little over 4 million horses. In 1895......they say there were 250,000 horses on the streets of New York City in any 24 hour period and they use to throw most of the manure into the surrounding rivers. When they were leaving the horse drawn era and moving to horseless carriages.......they said the new horseless carriages would be the "solution to pollution!" That was their theory anyways!
Although the number of horses has dropped significantly since the late 1800s, it's a bit higher than the numbers you had, a bit of twice that number 9.4M. Horses have been part of my life from before I could walk and my vocation for 30+ years. Here are some interesting statistics
I had been involved in the very expensive show horse industry where the wealthiest spent a lot of money and created millions of full time jobs both directly and indirectly in the equine industry. I saw two major down turns when the tax laws were changed in the late 90s and again in 2007 when the wealthiest of the wealthy dialed in back in advance of the crash, they saw it coming. Much criticism has been put on "luxury spending" such as horse, yachts, expensive cars, expensive hunting dogs.....with that luxury spending comes a lot of jobs. In our area of "Horse Country" in North Texas it meant money in the pockets of restaurants, gift shops, florist shops, truck/trailer makers, truck/trailer detailers , saddle/tack makers, hay growers, feed mills, ranch hands, accountants, grocery stores, barn & fence builders, cabinet makers, home builders, etc......much/most of it is gone.
Horses fever should be added to the list of addictions.