The Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation has made a $1 million leadership gift to support a new state-of-the-art Nebraska Equine Sports Complex at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and its Department of Animal Science estimate that 180,000 horses in Nebraska are used for leisure, competition and agricultural work. To better serve this industry and the people who care for these animals while enhancing the educational experience for students, the college has embarked on a $4.5 million initiative for a new equine complex on East Campus.
Tiffany Heng-Moss, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, said now is the time to develop the facilities needed for equine education and training because of an increase in student participation in equine programs and the expansion of 4-H youth equine programs in the state.
“The Nebraska Equine Sports Complex will position Nebraska to be the destination for students across the state and beyond who are interested in equine sports, expand our experiential learning programming, provide a one-of-a-kind teaching and learning facility, and connect youth and extension education activities on campus for the benefit of all Nebraska,” she said. “We are thrilled to have support from the Kimmel Foundation to help start off this exciting effort.”
Clint Krehbiel, head of the animal science department, said: “The equestrian program is a growing strength of Nebraska Animal Science. This facility will greatly enhance our ability to deliver high-quality teaching and learning for both youth and adults and allow students from all backgrounds and cultures to gain hands-on experience connecting with horses. We are also excited for the impact this facility will have on our competitiveness in equine sports and student recruitment.”
The complex will provide student-athletes with a practice space for the University of Nebraska Rodeo Association and the UNL Equestrian Team, a place to board their horses, and experiential learning areas for undergraduate and K-12 students across the state. It will also serve to conduct extension education programming and clinics.
The facility will provide the college with an area to teach classes, such as colt training and equine reproduction. Students participating in classes through both the Department of Animal Science and the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences will also benefit.
“The Kimmel Foundation has been interested in this project for about 20 years, and we’re glad to see it coming to fruition,” said Ernie Weyeneth, president and treasurer of the foundation. “This is about having a facility dedicated to the heritage of equine training and sports here in Nebraska to serve young people from every part of the state. This includes high school programs, such as the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association and the important work of Nebraska 4-H. It’s really all about our young people — the next generation of equine professionals and enthusiasts.”
The Nebraska Equine Sports Complex will be built north of the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center. It will include an equine stall barn, large and small arenas, exercise round pen, classrooms, offices, wash bay area, tack lockers and outdoor runs.
Gifts in support of the privately funded equine complex can be made to the University of Nebraska Foundation. Naming opportunities within the complex are also available. For more information, contact Josh Egley or Kristen Houska at 402-458-1100. Gifts of any amount can be made at https://nufoundation.org/equinecomplex.