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Saddle Up For Adventure!

Jersey Is For Horse Lovers

Article by Don Seaman

Photography by Jessica Andersen Photography (

Originally published in Wayne Lifestyle

It only took the Garden State 190 years to designate the horse as our state animal.

In 1977, grade-schoolers in Harrington Park and Freehold petitioned the state legislature to make New Jersey’s love of horses official. It’s only fair — not only are we the most densely populated state in terms of people, we also hold that record for horses. Statistically, there are four horses for every square mile in our state. 

Now if you consider that Jersey also has more of its area covered in paved roadways than any other state you’ll understand why you don’t see horses everywhere. But when you find them, you’ll see why they’re so beloved.

“Horses are a safe haven, a respite from the stress of this crazy world we have created for ourselves,”  - Suzanne Marshall, owner of Patewood Farm 

For most people, the closest they’ll come to horse riding is on a trail ride for a special date. But there’s far more than that to this industry which brings in $3.2 billion to the state’s economy each year.

Because of all of the care and attention that horses require, this is more of a lifestyle than a hobby, explains Suzanne Marshall, Patewood Farm in Blairstown. “The ‘horse life’ is a very active, healthy lifestyle. It keeps us crazy horse people young and teaches young people about responsibility, self-reliance, and discipline.”

But before you run down to the used horse shop to help your teen become more responsible, keep in mind that the average monthly cost to own a horse is anywhere between $1,200-$1,500 — and that’s not including the cost of buying one.

But horses can do so much more than help ordinary kids grow into responsible adults. A growing segment of the horse industry is in therapeutic riding, which can help those people who have physical or emotional developmental issues, PTSD, or are in drug and alcohol rehab programs. In addition to private lessons and boarding, The North Jersey Equestrian Center in Pompton Plains offers therapeutic riding with a certified instructor.

Far and away, the largest part of people who casually go to a horse farm are those looking for trail rides. Many offer events such as nighttime rides, including cookouts and bonfires. Some like Echo Lake Stables in Newfoundland go even further. Echo Lake offers a summer camp for kids where they can learn all about horses in a very hands-on way. They come in as a rank amateur and leave trotting around like crazy, according to Kathy Leaver of Echo Lake Stables.

No matter if you’re just looking for a casual trail ride or want to jump right into a life with horses, there are plenty of opportunities for “equine therapy” locally and all across the state. As Suzanne explains, “Whether you want the glamor of competition or the comradery of trail riding – horses and the lifestyle that revolves around horses is exciting and endlessly fascinating!”