Posted: Feb 15, 2013 8:08 AM by Courtney Kincade
Updated: Feb 17, 2013 8:07 PM
FULTON - William Woods University in Fulton is nationally known for their equestrian science degrees and their rich equestrian history.
Gayle Lampe has taught at William Woods for more than four decades and has gotten to be a part of watching the nationally known program grow. The school created the program in 1924.
Lampe has been an educator and a creator for the program, including helping with the development of a four-year academic degree in equestrian sciences. Creating that degree made William Woods the first university to offer such a degree in the country and helped attract more students and riders to Fulton.
Three years ago, Lampe decided to step down from her position as Saddle Seat instructor. After stepping down, Lampe knew just the person to replace her.
Lampe wanted her former student, Sarah Track, to take over the position. Based on Track's work in the classroom and her experience since graduation Lampe knew that Track would be a great fit at William Woods.
Track said at first she had no intention of taking the job "I saw Gayle and she told me to apply for the job and I just said ‘Ok' and laughed it off. I saw her a few weeks later and she asked if I had applied. I said I had not and she said ‘Do it, you'd be a great fit.'"
Track said at that point she felt that Lampe was still talking to her as a student and she felt like she needed to follow her professor's orders.
After applying for the job Track immediately heard back from William Woods and was offered Lampe's position. After being offered the position, Track realized that she had big shoes to fill.
"Well after telling her she was crazy and that there was no way I was going to apply for her job because it was way too big of a job and it was just way too overwhelming and the idea of filling her shoes was very overwhelming, then I got the job," Track said.
Now with almost three years under her belt as an instructor, Track is doing her best to keep the program running the way it was under Lampe.
"She set up a great foundation and now I want to continue to make it strong," Track said.
One of Track's goals to keep the program thriving is to incorporate technology to keep up with the times and use it to monitor the horses' health.
"It'll attract more riders and students to this school and our program," says Track.
The program currently has more than 200 students and more than 150 horses. The students compete at national levels across the country.
William Woods Equestrian School now offers three degrees and two minor programs.
For more information on the program, click here.