I hate that people think there is nothing more to my home state than the Turnpike. We have mountains and fields and farms and forests. And the horse plays a big role in the economics of our state, not to mention the large place horses have in our social community. Here’s how the horse became the state animal of New Jersey.
In 1977 Governor Byrne signed into law the official decree for the horse to be the state animal of New Jersey. Michael McCarthy and his fifth grade classmates at Our Lady of Victories School in Harrington Park, plus James Sweetman, an eighth grader from Freehold NJ, were integral in making it happen. It is because of their efforts that the horse is now the State Animal of New Jersey. One reason the horse was promoted was that US Equestrian Team is headquartered here. Governor Byrne also said the following:
“The founding fathers of our state thought so highly of the horse that they included it in our state seal. Today there are 4,654 horse farms in New Jersey, of which 888 raise racing horses. The Horse industry makes a contribution to the preservation of green acres at a time when great demands are being made for the preservation of our land.”
Horses are also part of the official symbols of 10 other states. In Vermont and Massachusetts it is the Morgan, in Alabama it’s the Racking Horse, Idaho has the Appaloosa, in Kentucky and Maryland it’s the Thoroughbred, Tennessee has the Tennessee Walking Horse, North Dakota the Nokota horse, and Missouri uses the Fox Trotter.