A question posed by Betts Coup at the beginning of her 9-page article published in National Horseman last month titled “The Equestrian Studies Program at William Woods University: Tradition and Evolution.”
The article explores the rich history of the equestrian science degree at William Woods University — the first to offer a formal major program in the field, grown out of a rich local tradition and a lot of passionate peoples’ hard work.
The riding program began in 1924 as part of the athletic department, and in 1974 it became an official major.
“Then-president of the college, Randle B. Cutlip, regularly made visits to different states to recruit students, and while in Hawaii, he met a young lady who had actually heard of Midnight Wingo, one of William Woods’ show horses,” notes the article. “He returned from the trip and told [current professor emeritus] Gayle [Lampe], ‘if somebody in Hawaii knows one of our horses, then we need to make this a major degree program.’”
The article covers the perspective, experiences and hard work of so many William Woods equestrians, from faculty to alumni.
It touches on William Woods equestrian programs of past, present and its plans for the future, although one thing remains the same throughout the history, which Laura Ward sums up perfectly:
“To be a horse person means you have to be a lifelong learner. The horse is always going to be teaching you about himself, yourself and what kind of person you want to be.”