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Livestock

UW Animal Science Department looks to re-establish equine position

Written by Jennifer Womack

By Jennifer Womack, WLR Managing Editor 

Douglas – University of Wyoming Animal Science Department Head Doug Hixon will again be asking the University of Wyoming to add an equine person to his staff.
    Hixon spoke to members of the Wyoming Horse Council in Douglas on Jan. 7. The fledgling group expressed its support for the need of an equine professional at UW and agreed to write a letter to the University in support of the position.
    Hixon told attendees that the position has been vacant since Karen Hansen left the University two and a half years ago. University protocol requires that Hixon request the position from University administration. Previous requests, he noted, have been unsuccessful.
    “We need someone to teach upper level equine classes,” said Hixon noting the position would likely be a mix of extension work, research and teaching. He says at one time the college was receiving three to four phone calls a week from students looking to further their equine training. Many of those calls are from students enrolled in equine programs at the state’s junior colleges. Classes offered by UW might also dovetail well with existing degree programs, such as pre-vet, at the college.
    Hixon would also like to see the position, if re-created, have a presence in the 4-H horse program. He also noted the need within extension for someone to work with horse owners living on acreages.
    Wyoming Senator Jim Anderson, Glenrock, noted the horse industry’s $286 million annual contribution to Wyoming. Potential benefits to Wyoming kids, possibly including research on equine therapy for children, should also be considered according to Anderson.
    Hixon said requests for new positions are submitted once a year in April. Those supporting re-creation of the position should send letters to College of Ag Dean  Frank Galey and copy Hixon.