TRENTON, N.J. – The Rutgers Equine Science Center has chosen Assemblyman Ron Dancer as this year’s spirit of the horse award winner in recognition of his contributions to New Jersey’s horse industry.
“Horses have always been a part of my life and I am honored to be able to give back to the equine industry, not only because it has been so impactful personally, but also because it is such an important part of New Jersey’s identity,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “The horse is our designated state animal and appears on our state seal. New Jersey is home to more horses per capita than any other state in the nation.”
Dancer is the son of the late famed harness horse racing driver Stanley Dancer and professionally raced and trained harness horses from 1968 through 1998. He has served on the boards of numerous equine organizations, including the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Sire Stakes, the U.S. Trotting Association, and the New Jersey Racing Commission.
As a lawmaker since 2002, Dancer has worked to ensure the sustainability of the equine industry through legislation authorizing the state leasing of the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park racetracks to the private sector, and advocating for state funding in New Jersey’s annual budget to support the Rutgers Equine Science Center in New Brunswick.
“Assemblyman Dancer emulates the type of person this award was meant to recognize,” said Dr. Karyn Malinowski, founding director of the Equine Science Center. “The Equine Science Center appreciates all he has done for the New Jersey horse industry.”
Having served in the United States Army, Dancer actively champions the Equine Science Center’s research into equine-assisted activities for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Through research and education, the center explores the relationship between humans and horses, advances the well-being of horses, and addresses industry issues.
Dancer’s award will be presented virtually at the center’s annual Evening of Science and Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 11.