-- Equestrian Centers - Riding Southern New Jersey
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The horse is the the State Animal of New Jersey as designated by a Joint Resolution approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brendan Byrne in 1977.
The horse's significance in the state's history also is illustrated by the prominent inclusion of a horse's head at the top of the State Seal originally adopted in 1777. Below the horse's head are three plows, signifying the state's agricultural tradition which was dependent on the power of the horse in cultivating fields and hauling wagons and equipment. Into the 1920s, the horse also was the dominant mode of transportation throughout the state.
Based on the most recent survey conducted in 2017 by the US Department of Agriculture, New Jersey had 23,374 horses on farms and ranches (excluding recreational riding and show horses)--the most horses per square mile of any state. The total, however, is sharply down from some 30,000 in 2007, with the decline partly attributed to the lower popularity of racing as it lost support in competition with other leisure activities offering gambling options such as casinos; the state's withdrawal of subsidies for race track purses in 2011; and the high costs of real estate and liability insurance. The state government has attempted to assist the racing industry, allowing on-site off-track gambling on races throughout the country, and in February 2019 Governor Murphy signed a law restoring subsidies of about $20 million over the next five years to boost racing purses.
Horse farms have been impacted by development pressures, with several sold for more profitable uses as housing or other real estate ventures. They also have faced increased operating costs, including taxes and liability insurance, particularly for those which continue to be open to the public for lessons and trail rides. In some cases, county governments have sought to meet the demand for equestrian centers by adding such facilities to their existing park systems and recreational programs.
The US Equestrian Team is based at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone in Somerset County, which is also the site for special equestrian events such as competitions, training demonstrations, pony club camp and community events. Its nonprofit foundation supports the training, coaching, travel and educational needs of athletes and horses in competitions in the US and around the world, including the Olympics, the Pan-American Games and the World Championships.
Resources related to horses in New Jersey include the state Department of Agriculture, which maintains an Equine Advisory Board of representatives of diverse segments of the equine community; the New Jersey Racing Commission, which regulates tracks, trainers, jockeys and other personnel; the New Jersey Horse Council, a nonprofit advocacy and lobbying group incorporated in 1974; and The Horse Park of New Jersey, an 185-acre equestrian facility in Allentown which hosts many events and competitions.
* US Department of Agriculture, Equine Census 2017
* Jersey's packed with people. Turns out, it's got a ton of horses too, 2/2018, NJ.com
* Cape May County