Dye-Gest Column: Spending Time With AU Vets

Coach Pat Dye

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about a return visit to a state where he coached prior to coming to Auburn.

I just got back from a four-day trip to Wyoming as a guest of Dr. Woody Bartlett, a distinguished Auburn vet graduate. It was really a great experience. I got to spend four days with Dr. Calvin Johnson, the dean of Auburn's vet school, and Dr. Bill Smith, who is one of the lead research doctors at Auburn's vet clinic. Both are good friends of Woody's.

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The occasion was also very instructional spending time with Dr. Bartlett, who is one of the top quarter-horse breeders in the nation, both with ranch horses and pleasure horses. He had more than 40 two-year-old colts that he was breaking while we were there.

They had been weaned and halter-broken and then turned out to pasture for a year-and-a-half learning how to be a horse. He has 100,000 acres out there in Wyoming so they have got a lot of room to roam.

With help of 17 cowboys and Bill Smith, a close friend and one of the top horse trainers in the country, the colts were rounded up and the training began. Watching Bill work is inspiring. A three-time saddle bronc world champion, he travels all over the United States putting on breaking and riding clinics. I met Bill through Woody and previously had a once in a lifetime experience spending about a week with him riding up into the Beartooth Mountains.

On this trip to Wyoming, where I spent some time coaching football before taking the job at Auburn, I learned some trivia about the Auburn vet school regarding by many as the greatest race horse ever, Secretariat. Bold Ruler, the sire of Secretariat, was cured of cancer at Auburn's vet school. If that hadn't happened there would have been no Secretariat.

I also got to spend time on the trip with Dr. Eleanor Green, an Auburn graduate who is the dean of the vet school at Texas A&M. Being around Dr. Green, Dr. Johnson, Woody and Bill was a lot of fun and makes you feel good about the type of people who are Auburn graduates. We had a great time in Wyoming, which was beautiful after having late spring snows and lots of rain. It was a great experience for an old man.

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