The Equine Pavilion was dedicated on September 6, at the Texas A&M University-Commerce Equine Center. President Dan Jones, Dr. Adolfo Benavides, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Lindsey Walton, Manager of Equine Program, and student Madison Fain spoke at the dedication.
“This is a culmination of a dream,” said President Jones. “It started in 2004 with a vision of an Equine program for A&M-commerce that would speak to the needs of this region. As this program grew, we realized we needed an arena that would truly lead us into the future, and that’s what we have here today. This equine center is the best in this part of the state. We had alumni, faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students step forward to donate. This was truly a labor of love that brought together a community who wanted to move this institution forward.”
The new covered equine arena has a riding arena with the dimensions of 110’ X 180’. Under the same roof, it also has bleachers, men’s and women’s restrooms, 20 stalls for boarding, two tack rooms with 10 student lockers in each tack room, two wash racks, and two fenced turnout areas for the horses on each side of the building.
“This facility wouldn’t have been possible without people who had a dream 10 years ago,” said Dr. Benavides. “We have first generation horses coming to Commerce. The horses can be boarded here, while their student owners go to classes.”
The arena part of the building will be used for college equine science courses, summer camps, riding lessons, adult riding series and for hosting small horse shows and clinics. The stall portion of the facility is used for students, faculty and the community to board their personal horses. The tack rooms give them a personal area for storing their tack and feed.
“Everyone who loves horses has pitched in to help with this effort,” said Lindsey Walton. “This arena is perfect for when the weather is bad. It has bleachers for people to sit when they want to watch a class or open shows. We have already hosted two horse clinics here. I am so glad to finally see this happen.”
The Equine program has two outdoor arenas in addition to the new covered arena. The larger outdoor arena is used for hosting big events, and will be used to train the new rodeo team. The smaller arena is used to train younger horses and work horses over obstacles. They also have two barns. One barn houses all of the show horses, and it has a new classroom that just got renovated. The other barn holds all the tack for when people are ready to ride horses, serves as a saddling up facility, and houses pens that the weanlings get halter broke in.
There are two equine minors in the Equine program—equine studies and equine sciences. There is also an equine club that students can join. Equine Club President Madison Fain is a senior, Agricultural Sciences major with a minor in equine studies. Fain works in the equine center, she trains horses, teaches riding lessons for the community and helps with summer camps.
“Having a new equine center is such a significant change in riding and training horses,” said Fain. “It’s been awesome having it over the summer because we can come here and its ten degrees cooler. We don’t have to cancel riding lessons anymore because of the weather. Having this center, we are able to accomplish and learn more. Thanks to all the donors for making this possible and giving us this experience.”
After the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests toured the barn and the new renovated classroom. There were refreshments provided by the Twin Oaks Blueberry Farm.
For more information on the Equine Program at A&M-Commerce, Contact Lindsey Walton at [email protected].