Generous Donations Help Kickstart A&M-Commerce Equine Breeding Program

A breeding program for the Equine Studies field at Texas A&M University-Commerce is now possible thanks to the donation of both a stud and mare to the university in the last year.

In February the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources welcomed a new broodmare, which is a female horse used for breeding, into the equine studies program with a registered name of “Sassy in a Benz.” The horse, whose nickname is Sadie, is the only broodmare currently owned by the university. According to Assistant Farm Director and Equine Supervisor Lindsey Bernbaum, Sadie is a five-year-old with a “versatile pedigree.” The mare was donated by Sarah Cheslock.

“Sadie comes to us from Washington, and she is great to be around,” Bernbaum said. “She’s not a riding horse anymore, due to an injury, but she will be a fine broodmare.”

Sadie’s father, “Chromed Out Mercedes,” is a National Reining Horse Association “Million Dollar Sire,” meaning his offspring have won more than $1 million in NRHA competition.

Sadie joins another relatively new horse to A&M-Commerce named Play Dual Rey, who came to Commerce after staying at Cinder Lakes Ranch in Valley View, Texas. The 18-year-old stallion has a prestigious past, having won the 2010 Superhorse award from the American Quarter Horse Association, the most prestigious award from the annual AQHA World Championship Show. Nicknamed “Reymond,” he competed in events such as tie-down roping, reining and more during his heyday.

Reymond was donated to the university in the summer of 2019 by the Play Dual Rey Fort Stockton Partnership. Nathan Wells, who teaches equine studies courses and coaches the university’s stock horse and horse judging teams, says that this was a special occasion for the university.

“It’s not every day that you own a Superhorse winner,” Wells said. “The previous owners were looking for a smaller program that could take good care of him, and they thought we were a good fit.”

But the Equine Studies Program at A&M-Commerce isn’t so small anymore. The program has almost doubled in size from the fall 2018 semester to fall 2019. Wells says that for this burgeoning program, a breeding program is a game-changer.

“We try to build our coursework to be as industry-leaning as possible,” Wells said. “A breeding program only increases the preparation our students have to enter the equine industry, which is our goal.”

The students will be involved in the process, including foaling, which is assisting a horse with birth. They will then care for the foals and prepare them for sale. Bernbaum says that the program could yield some great results with the horses involved.

“Reymond and Sadie should produce a very marketable offspring,” Bernbaum said.

Taking horses to auction is a high priority for the Equine Studies Program.

“We definitely hope to sell at top industry events,” Wells said. “It not only gives great exposure to the university, but it also trains the students on what it takes to be in the business.”

In addition to the two new donated horses, dozens of horses are boarded at the university’s Mary Bonham Equine Pavilion. The Pavilion also houses 12 riding horses and three leased broodmares.

Learn more about the Equine Studies Program at A&M-Commerce here.