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Skip Navigation LinksCVMBS Home > Veterinary Teaching Hospital > Horse Sense Documentary Film Premiers - Showcasing CSU's Equine Programs
Horse Sense Documentary Film Premiers - Showcasing CSU's Equine Programs

Horse Sense, a documentary produced by Chapman University undergraduate film students and narrated by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, showcases Colorado State University’s efforts to advance equine and human health, and celebrates the ancient connection between humans and horses.

The film debuted at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science Phipps Theater in February 2013 and has since been shown at a variety of venues and on Rocky Mountain PBS.

"This is a fairy tale come true for me," said Cathy "Lee" Carpenter Dea, a CSU alumnae and lifetime horse lover who is an ambassador for CSU and a veterinary client.

She suggested the creation of the film to honor and raise awareness of the University’s equine programs and to help raise funds to build facilities; and she helped visualize and coordinate the film on behalf of the Dea Family Foundation.

Adding to the richness of the film is a song written and performed by Nashville recording artist Pete Martinez, a longtime friend of Carpenter Dea with whom she shared her vision. Martinez, a native of Wyoming and a lifelong horseman, donated his song "The Horse," which became the signature soundtrack.

The Honorable John Hickenlooper, a friend of Carpenter Dea’s husband, Peter Dea, was recruited to narrate the film. Work with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science brought about a premiere at the museum’s theatre in February 2013.

"Chapman students have truly honored Colorado State’s equine health and science expertise, but more importantly, they’ve highlighted the important relationship between people and horses in the western United States," said Dr. Mark Stetter, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Colorado State conducts cutting-edge research that assists the equine community with everything from orthopaedics to reproductive techniques and educates undergraduates as well as future veterinarians. Horse Sense features interviews with horse owners, ranchers and several faculty members from the university’s renowned equine programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences including:

  • Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, University Distinguished Professor, Director of the Orthopaedic Research Center, Professor of Surgery and the Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair in Orthopaedics.

  • Dr. Chris Kawcak, Iron Rose RanchChair in Equine Musculoskeletal Disease and Injury and Professor in Clinical Sciences.

  • Dr. Jerry Black, Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and Department of Clinical Sciences, Director of the Equine Sciences undergraduate program – one of the most popular majors on campus, Director of the Equine Reproduction Laboratory, and The Wagonhound Land and Livestock College Chair in Equine Sciences.

  • Dr. Patrick McCue, Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and Iron Rose Ranch University Chair in Equine Reproduction.

  • Dr. Ryan Ferris, Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences.

The film discusses Dr. McIlwraith’s pioneering arthroscopic procedures in horses that have been translated into use in humans. Dr. Kawcak talks about his biomedical modeling technologies that use 3-D motion analysis and high-speed cameras to better understand what leads to injuries in horses.

Dr. McCue talks about his role as a "baby doctor" for horses – incorporating state-of-the-art techniques for mares that can no longer become pregnant naturally that help preserve valuable equine bloodlines on Colorado ranches: "In our eyes, it’s the same level of excitement to get a live, healthy foal for a horse owner."

The professors also talk about their passion for teaching and educating the next generation of equine practitioners. "We are continually looking at industry needs and scientific breakthroughs and making sure our curriculum helps our students in their future careers," Dr. Black said.

Carpenter Dea hopes to distribute the film more widely so that everyone in "the state of Colorado, the region, the nation and the world will see the incredible gem we have here in our own backyard."

Horse Sense was produced by Chapman students Tyler Gurd and Sam Price- Waldman. Executive producers are the Dea Family Foundation, Cathy L. Carpenter Dea, Peter Dea, Cort Carpenter, Jeff Swimmer, Dr. McIlwraith, Dr. Kawcak, Judea Franck, and Katie Briggs. Support for the film was provided by the Dea Family Foundation, Steve and Paula Reynolds/ TBR Ranch, and the Verdad Foundation.

Partners include: the Denver Museum of Nature and Science; Foundation for a Better Life, Gary Dixon, President; NationalCineMedia Networks, Inc.; Pete Martinez, Nashville Recording Artist; the College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Denver; Los Alamitos Race Course; Leigh Ann Nicas; National Western Stock Show; and Rocky Mountain PBS.

Special thanks to those featured in the film: the Honorable John Wright Hickenlooper; Wagonhound Land & Livestock Co., Art and Catherine Nicholas, Kyler Brown and Catherine, Andrea, Dustin, Ed, Rita, Teo and their horses; Allison Dechant Dressage, Allison Dechant and Regulus; Indian HillsEquestrian Center, Star Amazing Grace Performance Horses, Kay Ghent, Linda Ghent, Terry Kinney, Shelby Sherba, and Paul Jones; and clients and their horses at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Equine Reproduction Laboratory.

To learn more about Horse Sense, visit If you are interested in learning more about or making a gift to equine programs at Colorado State University, or other giving opportunities, contact the Office of Advancement, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, (970) 491-0663, or email