As a boy, Tom Lenz dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. As a man, he became one of the world’s most prominent advocates for the American Quarter Horse and humane, sensible treatment of all horses.
He was working on his degree in pre-veterinary medicine at Central Missouri State University when he decided to take a break from his studies and joined the United States Marine Corps in 1966.
The decorated veteran returned to his studies, earning his DVM in 1975 from the University of Missouri.
“I was 29 when I graduated from veterinary school and went to Escondido, California, to work for Dr. Dan Evans,” Dr. Lenz says. “He had an outstanding practice that was a great place for a young, new veterinarian to learn not only the science, but the art of practice..”
Dr. Evans became president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and appointed Dr. Lenz to his first committee position. That introduction created a lifelong commitment to AAEP’s mission of improving the health and welfare of the horse. Dr. Lenz was elected AAEP president in 2003 and received the AAEP distinguished service award in 2005.
After earning a post-doctorate degree in veterinary science from Texas A&M University in 1988, Dr. Lenz joined Bayer Animal Health.
He was appointed to the research committee, and served on it for nearly 20 years, chairing the committee from 2010 to 2013. His focus on the best interests of the horse expanded into new roles with the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, as well as welfare committees of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Horse Council and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
He frequently speaks to equine, veterinary, agriculture and government groups throughout the country on equine welfare and has published numerous articles and book chapters on the subject.
“I was taught to believe the purpose of life was to matter, to be productive and to have made some difference that you have lived,” Dr. Lenz says. “I hope that, in some small way, I’ve made a positive difference in the lives of our horses and how we care for them.”
Dr. Tom Lenz was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2018.
Biography updated as of March 2018.