Gayle Lampe, William Woods University professor of equestrian science, was recently honored as the 2006 recipient of The National Horseman’s coveted Castleman Award.
This award is given in the memory of General John Breckenridge Castleman, one of the founders and first president of the American Saddlebred Horse Association and an avid supporter of the breed.
It is presented each year to someone who not only has been deeply involved with American Saddlebred horses, but has promoted the breed to others, and through his or her life, has left the world of American Saddlebreds a better place.
Lampe is extremely honored to have received this award, especially because of her ties to the General Castleman statue in Cherokee Park, which resides in Louisville. Ky.
“It probably means more to me than to anyone else who received it, because I grew up with the statue,” said Lampe.
She tells tales of driving by the statue with her mother, taking visitors to see it instead of Churchill Downs, and speaks about how you could “almost ride horses to the statue,” from Rock Creek Riding Club, one of her favorite places as a young girl.
Lampe has been involved with horses since the young age of 10, and she acquired her first Saddlebred when she was 16. As a girl, she rode at Rock Creek in Louisville, and also spent many summers in Milan, Mo., studying under the well-known instructor Annie Lawson Cowgill.
After graduating from Stephens College, she took a teaching position at what was then William Woods College. Lampe started out teaching western and hunt seat, on top of her saddle seat classes. Over the years, she built the small program up bit by bit, until it reached its current status as the nation’s leading equestrian science program.
Lampe’s dedication to William Woods and the American Saddlebred played a huge role in transforming equestrian science into a respectable major.
From the 21 stalls that were present when Lampe first arrived at William Woods, the number has skyrocketed to 150. The university’s equestrian facilities encompass a city block, with two heated indoor arenas, a lighted outdoor ring and a 40-acre cross-country riding course.
The equestrian studies program is the most popular at William Woods, with 180 students majoring in either equestrian science or equine administration. The placement rate for WWU equestrian graduates is nearly 100 percent.
Breeds represented in the William Woods stable include American Saddlebreds, Appaloosas, Arabians, Morgans, National Show Horses, Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Friesians and Warmbloods. The university provides instruction in saddle seat, hunt seat, dressage and western, and with four instructors, Lampe is now only responsible for her saddle seat riders.
However, the most important thing to Lampe is not the wonderful facilities she helped to build over the years, but the many students she has helped to build. She enjoys nothing more than watching her students go out into the horse business and become successful at whatever they choose to do—and they have been successful.
Names like Sarah Byers, Kim Cowart, Renee Biggins, Michele McMahon, Carrie Mortensen, Betsy Webb and an astounding many others, prove the success of Lampe’s life goal—to educate others about the American Saddlebred.
Whether she is running her camp for adult riders while the university is on
Christmas or spring break, teaching her many students the fine art of saddle seat riding or
showing her own World Champion Callaway’s Born To Win, one thing is certain—Lampe always has her students and the American Saddlebred at the forefront of her mind.
CUTLINE: Gayle Lampe on her own World Champion Callaway’s Born to Win. Lampe, a William Woods University professor, recently received the coveted Castleman Award.