Henneke, Developed Equine Body Condition Scoring System, Dies at 60

Don Henneke, PhD, professor of animal sciences and director of equine science at Tarleton State University (TSU) in Stephenville, Texas, died Nov. 16 after a battle with cancer. He was 60.

Henneke joined the Tarleton faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture before 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, Henneke assumed directorship of Tarleton's Equine Center. In 2007, he was awarded tenure and named associate professor, and in September 2012, the Texas A&M University System's board of regents granted Henneke 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 Don Cawthon, PhD, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "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 system for horses while at Texas A&M in 1979.

"Dr. Henneke was the driving force in the development of one of the premier equine management programs in the nation," said fellow professor David Snyder, PhD. "He will be greatly missed but his legacy will live on through the quality equine program that he built."

L. Ben Bruce, PhD, 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.

Memorial services for Henneke are pending. Cards of condolence can be sent to: Don R. Henneke Family, P.O. Box 311, Stephenville, TX 76401.

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