If television’s iconic Mr. Ed the talking horse were present, he would be giving major props to several key benefactors of Oklahoma State University’s new Charles and Linda Cline Equine Teaching Center.
“Our new multi-million-dollar center is state of the art and has a teaching barn, small indoor arena, classrooms, feed and tack rooms, a wash rack and a treatment area, all made possible by the generosity of horse enthusiasts who believe in what we are doing in support of Oklahoma’s equine industry,” said Clint Rusk, head of the OSU Department of Animal Science.
The supporters so vital to making the center a reality were honored by the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources during center-dedication ceremonies on Feb. 16.
Linda Cline of Char-Lin Ranch near Cushing, who along with Charles built one of Oklahoma’s most successful horse operations from the ground up, got the ball rolling with a significant contribution as a way to honor her late husband and their longtime passion and patronage for equine students.
“I’m extremely proud of the things happening at OSU,” she said. “My husband loved horses and truly believed education was important. Thank you, Oklahoma State, for all you do and allowing us to be involved.”
Although neither Cline attended the university, they credited much of their success over the years to the willingness of DASNR faculty to visit the ranch, work with the family and teach them about all aspects of the horse business, from production and animal well-being to ranch management.
“We were excited to hear about the new center being built and how it would enhance not only what but how OSU equine students would be learning,” said Joe Ford, whose family owns and operates Shawnee Milling, an Oklahoma agricultural staple since 1906. “We wanted to be a part of that. Oklahoma’s horse industry provides many jobs and is a significant economic contributor to the state.”
A longtime DASNR supporter, Shawnee Milling became the underwriter for the feed and tack room. Mel and Jackie Bollenbach of Oklahoma City, premier breeders of Quarter Horse racing stock, likewise wanted to contribute, providing funding for the viewing and office areas; as did the owners of Priefert, manufacturers of farm, ranch and rodeo equipment, who provided the stalls. Cross Bar Gallery in historic Stockyard’s City donated artwork and accessories.
The new center also caught the enthusiastic interest of Heritage Place, the industry renowned 40-acre Oklahoma City equine sale enterprise with the worldwide reputation of being “where champions are sold.”
“Our ownership and management looked at contributing to the center as nothing less than a significant investment in the future of the Oklahoma’s multi-billion-dollar horse industry,” said General Manager Spence Kidney, himself a 1996 OSU animal science graduate. “We were pleased to provide money for the foyer. Similar to athletics, superior facilities provide a superior learning experience and help OSU recruit top-level students.”
The center will provide students and industry partners the opportunity to learn cutting-edge production and management practices, with the classroom and indoor arena allowing for hands-on activities any time of the year.
“We feel the new center makes our 60-acre equine complex one of the best educational venues available, benefitting OSU students and our Extension programs and 4-H youth activities when needed,” said Tom Coon, DASNR vice president, dean and director. “As a land-grant university, our successes ultimately reflect how we help others to succeed. Thanks to the generous gifts provided by our equine center donors, we are better able to do that.”
Additional information about this and other financial support programs for DASNR and OSU is available online at http://www.osugiving.com.