Waco, TX- Dr. Jim Heird is Executive Professor and Coordinator of the Equine Initiative and holder of the Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair at Texas A&M University. Immediately prior to Texas A&M, he was Director Of Teaching and Outreach for the Equine Sciences Program at Colorado State University. He also served as Director of the Colorado Agriculture and Rural Leadership program and as Chairman of the Management Committee of the Y Cross Ranch, a 50,000-acre ranch owned by Colorado State University and the University Of Wyoming. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S in Animal Husbandry and an M.S in Animal Genetics. His Doctorate is in Equine Behavior from Texas Tech University.
His academic career began at North Carolina State University where he was their first extension horse specialist. He was a faculty member at Texas Tech University for 10 years and was at Colorado State University for 23 Years. At Colorado State University, he served in several leadership positions, including Associate Dean and Director Of Academic Programs, Interim Dean Of Business, and for 2 1/2 Years, Interim Dean and Vice Provost for Agriculture and Outreach. He was faculty representative for athletics and served as Chair of the Western Athletic Conference Administrative Council.
Dr. Heird has an international reputation in the field of equine sciences. He has lectured on numerous topics both nationally and internationally. He has been a successful judging team coach, teacher, researcher, extension specialist and administrator. His research in the areas of equine conformation and equine behavior is recognized throughout the Equine Industry. He has presented numerous lectures in the U.S and internationally on equine behavior, conformation, selection, judging, genetics and issues facing the horse industry.
Dr. Heird has received many honors, including the United States Department of Agriculture Honor Award For Excellence, the Distinguished Service Award from Southern University and A&M College, the Colorado State University Distinguished Service to Diversity Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Department of Animal Science at the University of Tennessee, the Outstanding Leadership Award from the National Horse Judging Team Coaches Association and the Outstanding Advisor Award for Texas Tech University. In 2005, he was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the University Of Tennessee. In 2007, he was named an Honorary Vice President of the Quarter Horse Association of Uruguay. In 2009, he was named Horseman of the Year by the Colorado Horse Council. In 2014, he was named the first recipient of the Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair at Texas A&M. In 2016, he was named an honorary Vice-President and Life Member of the Argentina Quarter Horse Association. In 2017, he was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame. He also became a Director of the National Advisory Board for the National Collegiate Equestrian Association and a Director of the Texas Racing Hall of Fame in 2017.
Dr. Heird has combined his academic career with leadership and successful competition in the horse industries. He has trained world champion youth riders and shown world champion horses. He served as Chair of the National Wild Horse and Burro Commission. He was an American Quarter Horse Judge from 1976 until 2016. In that capacity, he judged 13 world championship shows for AQHA, 15 national shows in multiple countries. He has lectured in numerous national and international judges’ seminars for many breeds. He is a past Chairman of AQHA’s Judges Committee, the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse Sub-Committee, the AQHA Show Committee and Show Council. He also served as the first Chairperson of the AQHA Welfare Commission and as Chairperson of the International Committee. He was an AQHA Director from Colorado prior to moving to Texas where he is presently an AQHA Director from Texas. In 2015, he was elected to serve as a member of the AQHA Executive Committee and is currently serving as the First Vice President. This position will lead to his election in 2018 as President of AQHA, the World’s Largest Breed Association.
Question & Answer with Dr. Jim Heird
- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY?
Working with horses
- IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANYONE, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Roy Nolen. He was my mentor when I was in college. Heâ?Ts still the greatest horseman Iâ?Tve ever known. He died 20 years ago. Thereâ?Ts lots I would like to tell him that I never got a chance to when he was alive.
- IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ANOTHER CAREER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?
- IF YOU COULD BE A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE IN ANY SPORT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Track star. 400 meters
- WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT ABOUT COLLEGIATE ATHLETICS?
There are many things. First is the teaching of responsibility. If a student athlete can take care of their academics, practice, being a good team mate and having a social life at the highest level their is nothing they want be able to handle in life. It also teaches the value of team, competition, and sportsmanship.
- HOW DO YOU THINK THE SPORT OF EQUESTRIAN MOST BENEFITS YOUNG WOMEN?
See above. But, in addition, it gives our athletes a chance to realize that equestrian events are a sport just like any other sport.
- HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS?
Focused, ambitious, and caring
- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRAIT IN A PERSON?
Honesty, and compassion
- WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
Probably still involved in the horse industry in some way.
- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VACATION SPOT?
- IF YOU COULD VISIT ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD YOU GO AND WHY?
Uruguay. Beautiful country and great people.
- BEST GIFT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
All were great at the time.
- WHAT ONE ITEM IN YOUR WARDROBE BEST PERSONIFIES YOU?
- WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Rerun of Second Hand Lions
- WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
Grit by Duckworth
- WHAT IS YOUR BEST WAY TO DECOMPRESS?
- WHAT WOULD YOUR KID(S) SAY IS YOUR BEST DANCE MOVE?
They would laugh at the question.
- RED OR WHITE? YEAR?
Red. Old enough to be a good year and new enough to afford and enjoy.
- WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT?
Too many to name just one.
- DO YOU LACE RIGHT OR LEFT FIRST?
- FAVORITE FAMILY ACTIVITY, OUTSIDE OF EQUESTRIAN?
Getting together as a family and laughing and catching up. Even better if grandkids are involved.
- WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR PET PEEVES?
Dishonest, arrogant, selfish, bullies
- FAVORITE FOOD?
Home grown tomatoes and corn on the cob