| The Hoot
Equestrian professor to leave her
By Dani Moritz
Through everything she has accomplished and
everywhere life has taken her, William Woods
University has always played a major role in Dr.
Linda McClaren’s life.
Now the professor of equestrian studies and
hunter/jumper instructor at WWU is preparing to
leave the place she calls “home.”
McClaren grew up in Columbia, Mo., taking riding
lessons locally and participating in summer riding
programs at Christian College (now Columbia
College) and Stephens College.
Throughout high school she aspired to attend
William Woods, so naturally she completed her
undergraduate degree, and later her master’s
degree, at The Woods—which to McClaren is
home sweet home.
McClaren jokes that she can tell stories of
proficiency exams, a rigorous assessment for
equestrian students still in effect, from 1976.
We rode in front of the panel of faculty members
and, while on our horses at the end of the ride, we
rode into the middle and had individual things
we had to do,” she said. “I do remember sitting on
the horse facing the panel of faculty members and
After graduating from William Woods, McClaren
worked for Deb Booker, a former WWU instructor,
for six or seven years, helping manage her farm,
the Horse Fair, in Columbia.
During the 80s, she worked with Kenny
Burgdorfer—a professional horse trainer, breeder
and dealer who taught at WWU while McClaren
was working for Booker. Together, McClaren and
Burgdorfer won several championships at the
American Quarter Horse World and Congress
McClaren was also an adjunct professor at William
Woods during that time.
Linda McClaren holds her dog, Tink. Tink is a favorite among the equestrian students
and often makes appearances in McClaren’s office, as well as both of the equestrian
Photo courtesy of WWU)
When she and Burgdorfer
broke off their partnership in
she spent a few years
working and showing on the
A” circuit in Omaha.
Even though I was in and
out of the “A” horse show
world, I was also in and out
of William Woods during
most of those years,” she
said. “I feel like I’ve lived my
whole life at William Woods,
or most of my life.”
McClaren returned to
William Woods as a faculty
member in 1995—and she
has been here ever since.
I love that this is a
microcosm of the horse
industry,” she said. “I love
that all kinds of horses
live here and all kinds of
horse people and you can
find your niche in a lot of
She added, “Even if it’s not
something we specialize in,
like racing and breeding,
there are people on faculty
who have connections
in those industries or
connections to connections
in those industries. You can
find a way to spend your
life with horses at William
Woods that may or may
not have anything to do
with riding horses or
While at William Woods,
McClaren earned the Missouri Horse Shows
Association Instructor of the Year Award twice
as well as the Dads’ Association-Louis
D. Beaumont Distinguished Professor Award for
Excellence in Teaching in 2005.
More importantly, she’s made a major impact on
I’ve known Linda for a long time and I have
always looked up to her,” said Danielle Beaver, a
junior equestrian science major.