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During the past 30 years, the region’s horse racing industry has faced many challenges including the advent of casino gambling, an increasingly popular state lottery, the 2001 closure of Garden State Park, the loss of racing days at Atlantic City Racetrack and declining audiences at live races due to simulcasting and other reasons. To compensate, states neighboring New Jersey have combined different wagering technologies with horse racing. Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York already have implemented either slot machines or video lottery terminals at tracks in their states.  These efforts are attracting larger racetrack audiences and increasing purses for horses competing at those tracks.  

Based on the most recent data, New Jersey’s equine industry, composed predominately of pleasure breeds, accounts for an estimated 176,000 total acres of farmland, 96,000 of which are directly related to equine operations and 78,000 devoted to pasture and hay production.  The 2007 Equine Industry Study by Rutgers University shows $4 billion in equine related assets with $582 million of that value the value of the animals.  The industry has a total economic impact of $1.1 billion annually.    

As part of its efforts to support the equine industry, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers numerous disease control programs to help keep horses healthy. The Department is a leader in the research on West Nile Virus and its work has been used throughout the world to develop programs that address the disease.

New breeder programs have been established for standardbreds and thoroughbreds.  The Equine Science center continues its research, and the NJ Equine Advisory Board continues to bolster promotion and education efforts that stimulate interest, attract new owners, and create career opportunities in the equine industry.

As one of the most progressive equine states New Jersey offers racing as well as riding trails, rodeos, active 4-H and handicapped riding programs as well as many horse shows and competitions. 

The Horse Park of New Jersey continues to grow and has become one of the largest equestrian venues in the Eastern United States.  In 2007 the Horse park hosted one hundred and twenty-one days of activities as well as the Garden State Standardbred Sale and three international events highlighted by the Jersey Fresh CCI**/CCI*** (Contours Complete International) three day event which then served as a final selection trial for the 2008 Pan American Equestrian Games where the team was the Gold Medal winner.      


8.1 Ensure Horse Health

61) STRATEGY - Work with horse owners to assure awareness of disease threats and animal safety.  Continue working to protect the health of horses from the immediate threat of devastating and economically damaging diseases.

62) STRATEGY – Work with Rutgers University to continue development of a state-of-the-art research facility for its Equine Science Center.  As an example the cost-effective techniques for nutrient and waste management ensuring compatible co-existence of horse farms in urban and suburban environments, developed by the Equine Science Center, is also proving be critical to other livestock industries.

8.2 Promote the Industry

63) STRATEGY - Work to implement the recommendations of the Department’s “Focus on New Jersey’s Horse Racing Industry” report and seek to augment purse values, increase track attendance, and improve the industry’s supportive infrastructure.     

64) STRATEGY – Continue to host Olympic caliber events, training clinics, horse shows, festivals, industry meetings and auction sales, and to promote the state’s many quality venues and prestige events.

65) STRATEGY Continue to improve the New Jersey equine website highlighting the sectors of New Jersey’s Equine Industry activities.  The website will improve coordination of all equine activities in the state and feature schedules of events, horseback riding trails and other industry related activities. 

66) STRATEGY - Bolster promotion and education of the pleasure horse and racing industries to increase interest and work to stimulate new owners and create career opportunities.  Re-design the New Jersey All Breed Horse Show to bring new people into the program and make it more user-friendly for owners and breeders of pleasure horses statewide

67) STRATEGY Continue working with youth programs to establish new 4-H clubs to expand the interest in standard bred racing and work with computer based programs for the Boy Scouts Horsemanship and Animal Science Badges and for the Girl Scouts including Horse Fan, Horse Sense, and Horse Rider.  

68) STRATEGY – The Jersey bred logo will be promoted and work will continue on strengthening the Jersey Bred brand and logo.

8.3 Improve Right to Farm Protection

69) STRATEGY – Promote and create general awareness of the development of Equine AMP (Agricultural Management Practices), which was adopted by the State Agriculture Development Committee in 2008, to allow for increased right-to-farm protection for New Jersey’s equine industry.