Tarleton equine program receives donation of late professor's beloved stallion

Henneke Stallion Bucky

Tarleton State University

Friday, July 12, 2013

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Family of the late Dr. Don Henneke, former professor of animal sciences and director of equine science at Tarleton, gifted the university with the horseman’s beloved stallion, which was donated to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ equine program this week.

The gift of Henneke’s stallion, Sonitalena Rey Jay “Bucky,” was announced today during a lunch hosted by President F. Dominic Dottavio and attended by his wife, Jodena Henneke, and the late professor’s children, grandchildren and family friends.

“As many at Tarleton know, including the equine students, Don truly loved this horse. He also explained to me many times that I have no business having a stallion on the farm,” said Ms. Henneke. “Please accept this gift as my following Don’s intent and instruction to donate his much loved stallion ‘Bucky’ to Tarleton State University.”

“While Don Henneke has already left a legacy at Tarleton that will stand the test of time, his family’s donation of his exquisite stallion ‘Bucky’ to our equine program will help set us apart,” said Dr. Don Cawthon, dean of the College of Agricultural and Envrionmental Sciences. “Bucky will be very valuable to us in facilitating student learning in breeding, stallion management, nutrition and care.”

In addition to Henneke’s generous donation to Tarleton, the late professor was posthumously named a Fellow of the Equine Science Society at the 2013 Equine Science Society Symposium, held May 28-31, at Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, N.M. His wife was in attendance to accept the award and recognition.

The Fellow Award recognizes distinguished service to the horse industry and to ESS over a long period of time. Any person who has rendered distinguished service to the horse industry and has been a member in good standing in the Society for a minimum of 10 years is eligible.

Henneke died Nov. 16, 2012, at age 60, after a battle with cancer. He joined the Tarleton faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture, leaving in 1993 to pursue a consulting career in the equine industry. In 2000, Henneke returned to Tarleton and was named assistant professor of animal sciences. A year later, he assumed directorship of Tarleton’s Equine Center. In 2007, Henneke was awarded tenure and named associate professor, and in September 2012, The Texas A&M University System’s board of regents granted him full professorship.

“Dr. Henneke took our equine program to new heights during his tenure at Tarleton. He had a vision and was passionate in pursuing that vision,” said Cawthon. “Unfortunately, he will not see his dreams through in person, but he has laid solid groundwork that will be invaluable to his successor and future generations of students.”

A native of Enid, Okla., Henneke was born Feb. 15, 1952, and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University before obtaining a master’s of animal science, focusing on equine reproductive physiology, from Louisiana State University. He later received his doctorate in animal science in 1981 from Texas A&M University.

Henneke’s knowledge and expertise in the field of equine nutrition, reproduction and management was sought after by industry representatives and academicians throughout his career. He was the principal investigator in developing the Body Conditioning Scoring (BCS) System for horses while at Texas A&M in 1979.

Henneke was as a long-time member and active contributor to the Equine Science Society. His research (Henneke et al., 1983) on development of the BCS for broodmares and the effect of BCS on reproductive performance is the most frequently cited equine research in the world and is used by virtually every equine researcher and even law enforcement officials to assess body condition and estimated body fat in horses.

Dr. L. Ben Bruce, head of the animal science and wildlife management department, said, “Dr. Henneke was highly regarded by the horse industry, treasured by his students, and a faculty member you could always count on to get things done for TSU, the college, and the department.”

Henneke also served as a consultant in the fields of equine management, reproduction and nutrition, enjoyed competing as a non-pro cutting horse rider and served as adviser to the Tarleton Horseman’s Association, supervisor of the Tarleton Stock Horse Team, and president of the Faculty Senate in 2009.


Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System

Contact: Kurt Mogonye

Facebook Twitter

Tarleton equine program receives donation of late professor's beloved stallion - Media Relations - Tarleton State University