The drive to the farm where I go for adaptive riding lessons is breathtaking. As I was driving yesterday through bucolic scenes of horse farms, rolling hills, old growth trees that looked like black spidery creatures against a gray winter sky, I imagined anyone seeing what I saw might not believe they were in the state of New Jersey.
If you’ve been to New Jersey, it’s likely you saw the view of Newark from the air or the airport in the middle of a highly industrialized area. Maybe this is how you picture New Jersey:
If you do, you are somewhat correct. New Jersey is the most densely populated state with 1210 people per square mile. This is in comparison for example to Texas with 109.9 people per square mile, or Alaska with 1 person per square mile.
While New Jersey is home to many large pharmaceutical companies, heavy manufacturing, and other industry that tends to not look so pretty, it is called the Garden State for its agriculture. The origin of the term acording to www.njmonthly.com:
In 1876 Abraham Browning, an attorney, politician, and the owner of Cherry Hill Farm, which gave its name to the town that now stands in its place, coined the term, comparing New Jersey, two-thirds of which was rolling farmland, to a big barrel, open on both ends, from which Pennsylvanians and New Yorkers gobbled up the state’s agricultural bounty.
It is perhaps a lesser known fact that the state animal is the horse.
I live near Somerset County which is where Jackie Kennedy kept a weekend place for her horses in Bedminster. She is said to have shopped at Beval’s Saddlery, a fixture in Gladstone for 63 years. I purchased the bag I use for my riding supplies at Beval’s. Their doors were closed in 2018 for nonpayment of rent.
I’ve been fortunate to have attended events at USET in Gladstone. I drive by this magnificent, historic facility on the way to the farm:
Somerset County Continues as Heart of New Jersey's Horse Country with Upcoming Major Events
Although New Jersey is known as the Garden State, it might be called The Horse State. In 1977, the horse was designated…
With every turn on the way to the farm, I am astounded by the beauty of the horse country here in New Jersey. Even the miles and miles of fences on the farms are surprisingly gorgeous!