You might not be aware of it, but we are currently celebrating the Month of the Horse in New Jersey!

It turns out the horse is not only the official animal of the Garden State — with four horses for every square mile — but it’s also an important component of economic activity.

“We know that it’s in the billions, it’s been approximated at about $3.2 billion annually to the state," said state Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher.

The Agriculture Department estimates there are approximately 42,500 horses in New Jersey, with 96,000 acres devoted solely to the equine industry.

“We have thoroughbred operations, standardbred operations, people that just ride for enjoyment. We even have therapy horses that work with those with disabilities," Fisher said.

“Breeding operations are, of course, important for the racing industry, but also for those that just show horses," he said.

He pointed out there are many equestrian destinations in the Garden State, including the Horse Park of New Jersey at Stone Tavern, the Gloucester County Dream Park and courses at Centenary College in Warren County.

Fisher also noted the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University is dedicated to the care of horses through research and education.

The United States Equestrian Foundation, which is headquartered in Gladstone, trains and supports top riders and horses entered in competitions around the world, including the Olympics, the World Championships and the Pan American Games.

Horse breeding employs tens of thousands of Garden State residents.

“And in addition to that, these horse farms are on rolling, beautiful acres, which helps preserve our open space, and people really enjoy that," he said.

 

You can learn more about New Jersey’s equine industry by visiting www.jerseyequine.nj.gov.

Also on New Jersey 101.5:

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com