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Equine expert brings love of Horses to Colo. college.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) -- Les Lindauer has a thoroughbred pedigree when it comes to horses. Now he's bringing his lifetime love of horses--and education--to western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction, where he is director of the Community Education Center.

Lindauer has initiated community college classes in horse anatomy and physiology, among others. He has planned clinics with nationally recognized horse trainer John Lyons and Diane Branham, an expert in equine leg care. He hopes to offer noncredit courses taught by veterinarians and experts in particular horse disciplines.

"I've been around horses all my life," Lindauer said. "I'm still learning about them. I want to help others learn more."

Lindauer grew up in a ranching family that raised cattle and supplied horses to the U.S. Army Cavalry. Those horses were largely thoroughbred in their breeding.

His father was a rodeo rider and one of the founding members of the organization that became the Pro Rodeo Cowboy's Association. He also raised and trained racehorses, along with other working horses. Movie star Slim Pickens, a fixture in Westerns for decades, bought a horse named Jupiter from Lindauer's father and used it in many of his films.

When his father left the rodeo circuit, the family concentrated on racing, and Lindauer remembers traveling with his father and brothers to tracks on Colorado's Front Range.

There is a picture of him at age 2 seated on one of his father's racehorses at the old Uranium Downs track at Mesa County Fairgrounds.

Although he stayed involved in horses, Les Lindauer eventually left the race world and began a career in the construction industry that lasted 18 years. In time, he ran the Pittsburgh Plate Glass operations for the Rocky Mountain region.

When that ended, he decided to go back to college and obtain a master's degree. He also began working for the Denver Public School system and working on his doctorate. He eventually became executive director and principal of the Emily Griffith Opportunity School, a specialized technical college and high school within the Denver school system.

Lindauer retired from that last year, but not before he met Tim Foster, president of Mesa State College. He told Foster he was interested in returning to the Western Slope and asked if there were any positions available at the college that fit his talents.


When Foster contacted him about a possible opportunity in the community education programs at WCCC, Lindauer came over to see the campus and to meet Brigitte Sunderman, who was soon to become vice president of community college affairs for Mesa State and head of WCCC. The person who would be his boss was also a horsewoman.

"After we toured the campus, Brigitte and I went on a long trail ride," Lindauer recalled.

Not a bad way to begin a relationship with your new boss.

Equine-related courses are not the main part of Lindauer's duties at Mesa State.

"Director of Community Education is a pretty broad category," he noted. "It includes everything from knitting to equine classes to safety and compliance training for businesses."

In the latter category, WCCC is partnering with Colorado Mountain College in Garfield County to offer safety and compliance training throughout the Western Slope, especially for the energy industry.

WCCC's Community Education division also offers noncredit courses on subjects ranging from computers to photography, cooking to aviation.

But, even before he took on his new duties, Lindauer noticed what is evident to most horse people here.

"Everywhere I looked I saw horses," he said. "People are clearly interested in horses here."

The next step has been organizing courses and developing public interest to participate in them.

Two planned offerings this spring failed to generate enough interest to hold the classes. But another, Integrative Horsemanship with local equine expert Andrea Datz--which featured classes on horse anatomy, evaluating horse posture and more--did well. Datz will be presenting more classes in the fall.

A seminar on equine leg work, including preventive and therapeutic leg bandaging, is scheduled for Aug 14.

It will be presented by Diane Branham, a Colorado rancher who graduated from Michigan State University with an emphasis on horse management and worked for five years as manager of breeding operations for a thoroughbred farm in Lexington, Ky.

Also during the fall semester, seminars are planned with John Lyons to help horse owners deal with speed control and spooking in their animals.

Also scheduled are courses in backcountry equine first aid, brood mare management and saddle care, as well as a weekly riding class.

None of this means the horse programs will survive just because Lindauer has an interest in horses.

As with every other program in the Community Education curriculum, they must pay their own way by attracting enough students to cover costs.

Still, Lindauer's lifelong love of horses could pay dividends for many other horse lovers in western Colorado.

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Title Annotation:tracking trends
Author:Silbernagel, Bob
Publication:Community College Week
Date:Jul 12, 2010
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