New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and New Jersey Equestrian of the Year Jamie Leuenberger kicked off the Month of the Horse on June 1, 2017, with a visit to Concord Stud Farm where they toured the farm and watched a riding demonstration.
Governor Chris Christie signed a proclamation declaring June 2017 the Month of the Horse in New Jersey. The horse also is the official animal of New Jersey as equine-related services add an estimated $3.2 billion annually to the state economy.
“New Jersey has long been known for its diverse equine industry which offers everything from pleasure riding to world-class horse shows and horse racing,” said Secretary Fisher. “This month, we celebrate our State Animal, the horse, by highlighting this important segment of New Jersey’s economy.”
Leuenberger, who recently completed her sophomore year at The College of New Jersey, was named New Jersey Equestrian of the Year by the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board in January. Her duties include representing the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board and attending functions hosted by the Board.
“For me, being involved in horses is everything,” Leuenberger said. “I know a lot more about dealing with people and dealing with success and failure. It’s taught me about not giving up, and to keep on working on the little stuff every day and that eventually pays off. It’s important that the state takes the time to recognize what the horse industry means to the economy and people here.”
Concord Stud Farm is where David and Robin Meirs and their family have lived for 38 years and they have spent that time building and creating a top Standardbred breeding and foaling facility. Their oldest daughter, Julie, is active in the daily operation of the farm. Concord Stud Farm is comprised of the 249 acres in Cream Ridge and 136 acres in East Windsor and 125 acres in Littlestown, Pa.
“We take great pride in what we have been able to accomplish here.” David Meirs said. “It is such an honor that we were asked to host the Department of Agriculture’s Month of the Horse kick-off event and have Secretary Fisher at this celebration.”
The farm uses ecologically sound practices, which include using fly wasps to combat the fly population and sheep and goats for weed control. The Meirs family takes pride in breeding, raising and selling successful racehorses in the Standardbred industry.
There are approximately 42,500 horses in New Jersey with 96,000 acres devoted solely to the equine industry.
New Jersey has many top equine centers, facilities, and events. The Equine Science Center at Rutgers University, a valuable resource for everything equine in the Garden State, is dedicated to better horse care through research and education. The United States Equestrian Foundation headquartered in Gladstone funds programs that train and support top athletes and horses to compete at the Olympics, World Championships, Pan American Games and other top international competitions. The Horse Park of New Jersey at Stone Tavern in Allentown is a world-class equestrian destination, attracting equine enthusiasts of every discipline. And, the Gloucester County Dream Park is a state-of-the-art equestrian complex created to provide opportunities for horse owners to participate in shows and competitions and for the public to experience horse events firsthand.
To learn more about New Jersey’s equine industry, visit www.jerseyequine.nj.gov.