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njda horsePHOTO: Secretary Fisher with Angela Howard and her horse, Lamont.

Ag Secretary Highlights 4-H Equine Clubs

MULLICA HILL, NJ – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher kicked off June as the Month of the Horse in New Jersey on Friday, June 6 by highlighting the state 4-H equine clubs. 

He observed a demonstration by the Gloucester County Equine Science Team at the Gloucester County 4-H Fairgrounds in Mullica Hill, organized by New Jersey Equestrian of the Year Angela Howard, a student at Kingsway Regional High School in Woolwich Township.  

“New Jersey’s equine industry is extremely diverse, providing residents with many ways to interact with our state animal, the horse,” said Secretary Fisher.  “I encourage people to venture out this month and enjoy a horse show or a race at one of our harness racing or thoroughbred tracks, take a trail ride, or drive through the countryside of our state and visit farms and equine operations.”

Angela Howard of Mullica Hill joined 4-H and started riding when she was 6 years old.  In January, she won the Equestrian of the Year competition run by the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board.  As Equestrian of the Year, Howard attends functions hosted by the Equine Advisory Board and represents the Board at functions.

During the presentation for Secretary Fisher, Howard’s equine science team traced the skeletal system of a horse on a live horse and then gave a presentation on horse judging.

“The Equine Science Program develops skills that will last a lifetime, in and out of the ring,” said Howard.  “Through this program I have become an accomplished scholar with communication and presentation skills that will no doubt help me in my future goals.  I want to share this opportunity with younger riders.”

Gloucester County 4-H offers 21 different clubs for youth interested in horses.  Other New Jersey counties also offer 4-H equine clubs, all of which are open to all children whether or not they own a horse.

New Jersey is home to almost 28,000 pleasure horses, show horses, race horses and ponies.  In 1977, to honor the important place horses play in New Jersey’s economy and quality of life, the horse was named the official State Animal.  This is the fifth year Governor Chris Christie has proclaimed June the Month of the Horse in New Jersey.

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 hosts the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event, which has become one of the world’s top eventing competitions.  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.

“In New Jersey, we are lucky to have so many beautiful horses, horse farms and horse organizations you can participate in and benefit from,” said Howard.  “Take time to appreciate and explore the best of what horses have to offer in our state.  After all, our state animal is the horse.”

Here a list of equine events planned during the Month of the Horse: http://www.jerseyequine.nj.gov/equinecal.htm