In May 2012, the Texas A&M Board of Regents approved the acceptance of a major gift to initiate the construction of Phase 1 of multiple planned phases of a new equine complex that will support Texas A&M’s efforts to establish itself as the national leader for university equine programs. Phase 1 was completed in 2014 and included four arenas, a large barn, a hay and grain storage facility, multiple paddocks and a large modern education and outreach facility, as well as offices. Furthermore, Phase 1 included a cross country course that is utilized by the Texas A&M Cross Country Team for training and hosting of local, state, national, and international meets.
Contact the Equine Initiative at (979) 845-6098 for additional information.
The Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ‘56 Equine Complex
The complex is named in honor of Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ‘56. Dr. Hildebrand was active in the Tejas Vaqueros and was a successful veterinarian in Houston, TX. His practice was innovative and cutting-edge. He was active in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and loved everything about Texas A&M. Dr. Hildebrand’s contributions to veterinary medicine and his love of Texas A&M are recognized by naming this facility in his honor.
The Dr. H.B. “Woody” Bartlett Recognition Hall
Dr. Woody Bartlett is a veterinarian, rancher, horseman, breeder, and philanthropist who owns ranches in Alabama, Wyoming, and Weatherford, Texas. He is also a member of the Equine Initiative Development Committee. He graduated from the University of Alabama and Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He has bred and raised American Quarter Horses for more than 50 years.
The recognition hall is part of the office area in the Outreach Building at the complex. It is a high ceiling, tiled area that can be used for receptions and other events. It is a place to celebrate the contributions all donors have made to the Texas A&M Equine Initiative.
Carl & Caroline Swanson, Rick & Lori Bucholz Trustees Pavilion
As trustees of the Carl & Caroline Swanson Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska, Rick and Lori Bucholz have been major supporters of the Equine Initiative’s efforts since 2010. The Bucholz’s are members of the Equine Initiative Development Committee. They are horse enthusiasts who are active in the American Quarter Horse Association. Their support has allowed for staff support, operating support, and travel for the Initiative.
The Pavilion is a covered structure on the north end of the Outreach Building. With its prominent white Texas A&M logo on a maroon floor, it is designed as a multi-purpose space that is able to host anything from animal workshops to receptions. It has a large, high volume, low-speed fan, and the space opens into the Auditorium by two sets of double doors that enter the stage area.
The David and Anne Andras Classroom
David and Anne Andras are Texas A&M graduates who met during an equine class at Texas A&M and have subsequently become active horse enthusiasts – especially polo enthusiasts. They have been valuable in contributing to the operating budget of the Equine Initiative. This support has been critical in allowing the Initiative to search and find many donors for the Phase 1 project. In addition, their contributions have helped fund staff positions.
This classroom is one of two traditional university classrooms in the Education Building. It seats 72 people, has an audio/visual package, and contains a small kitchenette used for serving refreshment during the many events that have utilized this space.
The Heritage Place Meeting Room
The Heritage Place is the leading Quarter Horse Racing sales company in the country. It is partially owned by Dr. Charlie Graham and Tyler Graham, both of whom are Equine Initiative Development Committee members. Both are also Texas A&M graduates and leaders in the quarter horse industry. Dr. Graham is actually a legend of the Texas equine industry. The Heritage Place contributed to the Blodgett Endowed Chair.
The Heritage Place Meeting Room is a small classroom in the Education Building, seating 32 people. It can be arranged to suit the needs of a discussion forum, board meeting, or any other small group meeting.
The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Western Arena
The HLSR is the largest rodeo in the world. The entire event is a tribute to over 28,000 volunteers who work tirelessly each year to make this the premier event of its kind in the world. One of the primary missions of the HLSR is to fund education in Texas. This contribution is an example of the depth of their commitment to this mission.
The Western Arena is a 225’ x 150’ covered arena with bleachers along one side. It is a fitting place to recognize HLSR’s commitment to education and preserving our western culture.
The Jeff & Mindy Hildebrand Courtyard
Jeff and Mindy Hildebrand are active philanthropists, supporting a variety of worthy causes through their family foundation. Jeff is a successful businessman. He is the founder of Houston-based Hilcorp. He has not only made an impact in the oil and gas industry but also within his community. The Hildebrand family has a love of horses that extends back to Jeff’s father, Thomas Hildebrand, who was a successful veterinarian in Houston. Jeff is a member of the Equine Initiative Development Committee where he is an influential part of the improvement of the equine program. The Hildebrand family gifted the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ‘56 Equine Complex to Texas A&M, providing a facility for the universities equestrian team along with buildings for education and outreach for the equine program. Their gift to the university was a cornerstone for construction of the new complex.
The D. Wayne Lukas Gallery of Racing
Hall of Fame horse trainer D. Wayne Lukas grew up on a small farm outside of Antigo, Wisconsin, where he got his start in racing by running his pony at the Antigo County Fairgrounds. Lukas settled in California in 1972 and established himself as the top trainer in Quarter Horse racing. His horses dominated the sport, earning an average $1 million a year. Lukas trained 23 champion racing Quarter Horses, including the famed Dash for Cash.
Lukas turned to Thoroughbreds on a full-time basis in 1978. He set the standard in the sport for money won and wins at the highest levels. Lukas’ horses won six straight Triple Crown races – a feat that seems likely to stand forever. He has trained 26 champions, three of whom were elected Horse of the Year. Among the records he holds is career wins in Triple Crown races (14) as well as the most victories and money won in Breeder’s Cup races.
Lukas and his horses have countless wins in all the major Thoroughbred races including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Breeder’s Cup, and Kentucky Oaks. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1999 and the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Eclipse Award of Merit for his many accomplishments.
Framed pictures of his many award-winning horses are featured throughout the Outreach Building at the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ‘56 Equine Complex. This display highlights the racing industry, an important aspect of the Texas and national equine industries.
Lou & Wanda Waters Executive Conference Room
Lou and Wanda Waters own L.A. Waters Quarter Horses in Utopia, Texas. The Waters have bred and raised outstanding American Quarter horses for many years. They focus on breeding horses that are athletic, attractive, and have a great disposition. They owned and bred American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame stallion Colonel Freckles and raise prospects of bloodlines of Doc O’Lena, Boon Bar, and Hollywood Dun It. Wanda is an Equine Initiative Development Committee member and an American Quarter Horse Association Honorary Vice President. Lou is a successful businessman who loves breeding not only horses but also exotic game animals.
The Dr. Charles W. Graham ‘53 Boulevard
Dr. Charlie Graham ‘53 is an icon of the Texas horse industry and a leader in Texas as a veterinarian, horseman, and cattleman. He is a member of multiple halls of fame, including the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo Hall of Fame, American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, and Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame. His charitable efforts for his community and state have been recognized through additional honors, including being named Elgin Chamber of Commerce Most Worthy Citizen.
Dr. Graham earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry in 1953, his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science in 1954, and his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1961, all from Texas A&M. In the early 1960s, Graham founded the Elgin Veterinary Hospital. It became one of the largest equine veterinary facilities in the nation. Graham is now the owner and/or founder of multiple agriculture-related businesses, including Southwest Stallion Station, Graham Land & Cattle Company, Heritage Place Sale Company, C-Bar Ranches, Hills Prairie Livestock Auction, Sunset Livestock Carriers, and more.
Graham has received many awards from Texas A&M, including the 2010 Texas A&M University College of Agriculture & Life Science Outstanding Alumni, 1991 Outstanding Alumnus of Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, and 2014 Texas A&M AgriLife Distinguished Texas in Agriculture Award. Dr. Graham is a pivotal leader in the agricultural and equine industries, and an outstanding representative of Texas agriculture, Western heritage, and Aggie values.
The Lee Holsey, Crockett Sand & Gravel Meeting Room
Lee Holsey and his family own Crockett Sand & Gravel. Lee and his daughters, who attended Texas A&M, are prominent cutting horse exhibitors and breeders. Lee contributed directly to the project by securing the in-kind donations from Transit Mix for the concrete used in the construction.
The Lee Holsey, Crockett Sand & Gravel Meeting Room is connected to the Coordinator of the Equine Initiative’s office and is furnished by Joey Pedigo. This room is used for meetings as well as entertaining visitors and those interested in the Equine Initiative.
The Wagonhound Land & Livestock Education Building
Wagonhound Land & Livestock is a 155,000-acre ranch in Douglas, Wyoming owned by Art and Catherine Nicholas, who have a passion for horses and philanthropy. Wagonhound Land & Livestock has successfully bred and exhibited cutting horses, working cow horses, and ranch horses. The Nicholas’ contributed to the Blodgett Endowed Chair as a part of the match for the original donation from the Burnett Foundation.
The Wagonhound Land & Livestock Education Building contains the classroom space that sits on the south side of the complex. It includes a large hall, two 72-seat classrooms that can convert to one 144-seat classroom, a small kitchenette, another small classroom of 32, a set of faculty carrels for graduate students and faculty, and restrooms.