The equine industry is a critical component of agriculture in northeast Texas. Although much of the land in this region is used for cattle and hay production, a growing portion is dedicated to raising horses. A wide-range of individuals in northeast Texas raise horses and their reasons are many. Regardless of the goals, by the special nature of the human horse interaction, these equine ranchers provide an enhanced quality of life for both their customers and themselves. The Department of Agricultural Sciences is committed to making sure the residents of the region optimize their equine experience.
Horse owners are a very passionate sector of the agricultural community and high expectations are placed upon university equine programs. The quality of private equine ranches as well as the quality of equine facilities at community colleges and other universities in the Southern Great Plains varies greatly. With strong personnel and curriculum already in place, our Department is poised to offer the strongest equine program in the region.
The primary mission of our Equine Program is to provide students with an opportunity to improve their knowledge of horse care and health, handling, and business related matters. The Department currently offers ten undergraduate courses that range in focus from “Horsemanship” to “Veterinary Techniques in the Equine.” Under the existing curriculum, a student can qualify for a Minor in Equine Studies or Equine Science.
Texas A&M University-Commerce has riding horses, horses in training, and a breeding herd. As of Se[tember 2013, the university has 8 broodmares, 17 riding horses, 3 studs, 1 yearling, and 3 weanlings. Horses are also boarded by students in the pasture or stall by fee-based contractual agreement.
The Texas A&M University-Commerce Equine Center has a brand new covered riding facility that was just built in November 2012. This equine pavilion has a 110' X 180' riding arena, bleachers, 20 stalls for student boarding, 2 wash racks, and 2 tack rooms that each have 10 student tack lockers. The Equine Center also has a smaller outdoor riding arena that is used for obstacles and ground work and a larger outdoor riding arena that is equipped with chutes. The Equine Center has a working barn on property where students do a variety of tasks such as saddling up for a ride or working in an individual pen with their weanling they are halter training. There is a show barn at the Equine Center that has 7 stalls for horses being hauled to competitions, a wash rack, and 2 stocks. This barn is also home to the newly remodeled Equine Center classroom.
Although all equine programs have goals that differ from livestock and crop programs where food is the end product, raising horses requires paying attention to the same animal health, environmental, and economic concerns. By studying or working at the University’s Equine Center under supervision of faculty and staff, students improve their skills and understanding of horses. Also, students learn how the University Farm acreage is managed so that horse-quality hay can be produced and so that natural resources are used in an environmentally-friendly fashion.