"This is a wonderful day for New Jersey's
equine enthusiasts," Brown said. "This new grandstand is an important
step in the Horse Park's development as a first rate equine exhibition
and competition facility." The new 60' by 170' grandstand is adjacent
to the east show ring at the Horse Park and replaces the open-sided
canvas tent which formerly sheltered spectators. The grandstand will
seat nearly 300 spectators and provide an area for the vendors who
attend equine events. The 147-acre Horse Park of New Jersey is the
result of a unique public-private partnership. The land was purchased
by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection with Green
Acres Funds while the New Jersey Department of Agriculture continues
to oversee the development of the Park. The state's equine industry
and private-not-for-profit groups worked together to design the Park
which is operated, under contract with NJDA, by the Horse Park of
New Jersey at Stone Tavern, Inc., a not-for-profit educational organization.
Park trustees and hundreds of volunteers have donated over 100,000
hours to beautification and fund-raising efforts since the Park opened
in 1983. New Jersey offers a tremendous diversity of equestrian activity
which extends well beyond the Park. The horse, the official state
animal, has played a key role in New Jersey history and has assured
itself a thriving future in the Garden State. New Jersey is home
to 7,100 facilities, 60,000 horses representing more than 60 breeds,
and 120,000 scenic acres of open space dedicated to the equine industry.
In addition, there are three carriage driving associations; active
breeding and showing of Arabians (3,300) and Quarter Horses (10,000),
two of the most popular and versatile horse breeds in the country;
numerous rental horseback riding stables throughout all 21 counties;
14 state and county parks allowing horseback riding; and the Cowtown
Rodeo, which brings the thrills of the Old West rodeo to thousands
of fans each year.
The New Jersey horse industry directly
employs over 10,000 people in addition to the veterinarians, farriers,
jockeys, trainers, grooms, tack shops, feed and bedding producers,
farmers and thousands of others who work within its infrastructure.
Equine owners and operations annually contribute over $600 million
to the state's economy. Equine-related assets are valued at over
$4.1 billion of which $725 million is the value of the horses alone.