From the Ground Up - A&M Equine Initiative

In May, Texas A&M celebrated the grand opening of the Thomas G. Hildebrand DVM Class of ’56 Equine Complex.

The 32 million dollar phase one is only part of a planned 80 million dollar facility. Jim Heird is the coordinator of the Texas A&M Equine Initiative.

“In January of 2010, we brought in a group of people from all over the country, actually Canada and the U.S. and said, tell us what we’re doing well at Texas A&M, tell us what we’re not doing well that we need to quit doing, and tell us what we’re not doing that we should be doing.

The group wasn’t timid with its suggestions.

“They said look, you’re Texas, you’re Texas A&M, you should have the best Equine Program in the country. You need to look at your curriculum and make sure that it’s modern and up to date. You need better facilities. You have a world class equestrian team that’s practicing at the local Expo Center. You have a national polo champion that doesn’t have a place to practice.”

Before designing the facility, a wish list was created.

“One of the things that we did was that we pulled all of our users together, and we said dream a big dream. Tell us what you want. If you had everything you wanted, what would it look like.”

With phase one completed, work has already begun on the remaining projects.

“We kicked off a campaign two weeks ago for mare and stallion reproductive facilities over at the vet school. We’ll follow that up with a new teaching arena for the teaching program as well as the polo team, and a new nutrition research facility and a reproduction teaching facility. We’re going to fix up the Freeman arena area for the Therapeutic Riding program, for the rodeo team.”

And the final project will create a therapeutic center for horses.

“Our business is education, and so everything that’s done here will either be with the equestrian team, or a seminar, or a short course that we’re doing for educational benefits.”