STILLWATER — Plans for a new state-of-the-art equine teaching center at Oklahoma State University got a big boost from a donor who wants to share her passion for horses and honor her late husband.
Rancher Linda Cline has made a significant contribution toward construction of the multimillion-dollar OSU Charlie Cline Memorial Equine Teaching Center, OSU Foundation officials have announced. Cline asked the amount of the donation be private.
The new equine center will replace the current animal science equine facility built in the 1980s, which no longer lends itself to “best teaching practices” encouraged by equine industry leaders.
The center will include a teaching barn with stalls for foaling mares, an indoor arena, classrooms, feed and tack rooms, a wash rack and treatment area. It also will provide space for classes, clinics, 4-H programs and other outreach opportunities that serve Oklahoma’s expansive equine industry.
“We will be able to teach in classrooms and then step right outside to work with the horses in our labs,” said Steven Cooper, OSU animal science equine professor.
Cooper said Linda Cline is playing a major role in planning the facility.
“She has lived it and built an extremely successful business from the ground up,” he said. “That takes time, passion, devotion and a lot of hard work. That’s just how they lived their lives.”
The Clines first became involved with the equine industry in July 1985 when they retired to a ranch west of Cushing after the sale of their successful family-owned trucking business, Cherokee Lines Inc. Soon after, Charlie Cline purchased 17 horses, and Char-Lin Ranch was born.
“Those horses were an instant obsession for me,” Linda Cline said. “I really loved it. We hired people who knew things and from there, we moved into breeding.”
Char-Lin is known for the buckskin stallion CL Buckley, who earned multiple titles.
Linda Cline said Char-Lin is not a hobby but a working ranch, though she and her husband thoroughly enjoyed what they did.
“Charles truly was an animal lover,” she said. “He also thought education was extremely important and wanted to help youth.”
The OSU equine and livestock judging teams have both used Char-Lin horses for practice, judging clinics and contests.
As many as 50 percent of animal science freshmen choose horses as their primary interest, and approximately 7,000 Oklahoma youth are involved in equine programs through OSU Cooperative Extension programs, horse shows and judging competitions.
Neither of the Clines attended OSU, but they built close ties to the animal science program. Their daughter, Amy, earned her journalism degree from OSU.
Clint Rusk, head of the division’s department of animal science, said faculty members are excited that construction will soon begin on the new facilities.
“We’re grateful and humbled by the generosity of Linda Cline and her family,” Rusk said. “Their gift will allow the department to build a center that will benefit students for years to come. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity to help future generations of equine enthusiasts.”