TRENTON, N.J. – In a unanimous vote today, the Assembly passed a bill (A4800) sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, to commemorate the state animal on a special license plate to support the health and well-being of horses as well as therapeutic riding programs for veterans and individuals with special needs.
“The monies generated from the sale of this license plate will not only help our beautiful state animal, the horse, but also people with special needs and veterans who benefit from therapeutic riding programs,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “Working with a horse is proven to help people improve both mentally and psychically.”
New Jersey has more horses per capita than any other state in the nation. Horses are used for racing, breeding, showing, horseback riding and, more recently, therapy for children and adults with special needs as well as veterans.
Therapeutic riding is an equine-assisted activity that improves a person’s balance, flexibility, coordination, and muscle strength. People benefit cognitively, physically, emotionally and socially. For military veterans, it helps reduce post-traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms. The therapy has also shown to be effective for people with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, learning disabilities, trauma and brain injuries.
Motorists interested in obtaining the state animal license plate through the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission would pay a $50 application fee and a $10 renewal fee.