The Board of Regents establishes the Texas A&M Institute for Equine Sciences

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has approved the formation of the Texas A&M Institute for Equine Sciences.

Four students and an instructor gather around a horse and tend to its leg wraps.
4-H Veterinary Science Camp participants receive instruction at Texas A&M University’s Thomas G. Hildebrand DVM ’56 Equine Complex. (Photo by Laura McKenzie, Texas A&M AgriLife)

The new institute will bring together world-class science, academic expertise and facilities to advance its equine mission. One of the main goals is to strengthen equine collaborations between the public and private sectors and academia. The staff will work towards improved equine care and welfare, enhanced research infrastructure and world-class education for students and professionals.

“Today’s approval by the Board of Regents is a remarkable milestone in creating the world’s most comprehensive and collaborative equine program,” said Cliff Lamb, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. “Our work will create synergies across the equine sector that will strengthen it in the long term.”

Funding for the establishment of the new institute totals nearly $25 million. Funding comes from AgriLife Research, the Office of the President of Texas A&M University, the Department of Animal Science at the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Support for research, teaching, infrastructure and salaries comes from the NW “Dick” Freeman Endowment and the Patsy Link Estate Endowment.

“The establishment of this institute not only renews but expands Texas A&M’s commitment to equine initiatives,” said M. Katherine Banks, President of Texas A&M University. “Our impact in this area is remarkable and we look forward to building on our success.”

Lasting effect

The establishment of the institute represents a new era of alignment for equine initiatives at Texas A&M and builds on programs that began in 2009 with The Equine Initiative at Texas A&M University.

Horses outside a window that reads "Texas A&M Equestrian"
Horses in the Thomas G. Hildebrand DVM ’56 Equine Complex. (Photo by Laura McKenzie, Texas A&M AgriLife)

The initiative campaigned for the establishment of the Bachelor’s Certificate in Equine Science and the $5 million Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair, both housed in the Department of Animal Science. It culminated in 2014 with construction of the $32 million Thomas G. Hildebrand DVM ’56 Equine Complex.

Impacts of the Equine Initiative also included funding for the Equine Nutrition Research and Undergraduate Equine Reproduction Teaching Complex. The initiative helped modernize the Department of Animal Science’s equine curriculum and create the Equine Industry Management master’s degree. It also funded research at Texas A&M AgriLife and the School of Veterinary Medicine, increasing national visibility and securing operating funds.

“Texas A&M AgriLife’s scientific expertise and infrastructure represent the best resources available to scale equine initiatives in agriculture and life sciences,” said Jeffrey W. Savell, Ph.D., vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences. “This will be the world’s leading resource for equine science.”

The future of equine science at Texas A&M

Building on the impact of the Equine Initiative, the new Equine Institute will expand its mission to grow with the needs of the equine industry.

Current areas of focus include continuous improvement of curriculum, expanding reach and engagement, developing partnerships and improving infrastructure.

A Director for the new Equine Institute, selected through a national search, will report to the Director of AgriLife Research. The Institute will include internal and external advisory boards and will be subject to an annual review.