History: The Equine Science program at TSU is unique in that this program originated at the request of the horse industry. Several progressive individuals saw a need for a full four-year course of study specifically directed at producing graduates to serve in the areas of horse production and management. Through the efforts of these supporters, the Equine Science program began in 1972, and graduated its first students in 1976. Since then, many qualified and capable students have used this program as a springboard to management positions in the horse industry.
Equine Center: The $1 million plus equine complex at the TSU Agriculture Center is equipped with stalls, runs, breeding facilities, an indoor arena, clinical laboratory, classrooms, and offices. The program stands several stallions to the public and maintains a band of University owned brood mares. University horses are used for instructional purposes and marketed at sales. The indoor arena is utilized as a practical lab by students and also hosts numerous equine events including cutting horse contests, ropings, practical and educational horse clinics, horse shows, sales, and the annual Texas 4-H Roping School. Other events held at the arena include numerous cattle shows and sales, and the annual FFA and 4-H Judging Contests. These facilities benefit not only TSU, but also the entire Cross Timbers Area. The Equine Center hosts over 10,000 visitors per year.
Support: Only a portion of the financial support needed for the Equine Science Program comes from the State of Texas. The rest of the funds are generated from the sale of horses, breeding fees, the rental of the arena, and donations from the horse industry. Gifts have included cash, trucks, trailers, hay, and feed. Brood mares and stallions have been donated for the breeding program, and geldings have been given for the training and therapy courses. Many people have provided their time and expertise. This support is greatly appreciated. All donations to Tarleton State University benefit the future of the horse industry and are tax deductible.
Faculty: Don Henneke, Ph.D., is currently the Director of Equine Science and the Equine Center Manager. He holds the B.S. degree from Oklahoma State University, the M.S. degree from Louisiana State University, and the Ph.D. degree from Texas A&M University. He has a wealth of practical experience having served as a successful manager of commercial breeding operations in Oklahoma, a winning racehorse owner, a Certified AQHA Steward, a successful non-pro cutting horse rider, the president and director of a NCHA affiliate, and a successful horse producer. This experience allows him to help students grasp both the academic and practical aspects of horse production. Website: http://faculty.tarleton.edu/henneke.