By Anna Gerber, Colorado State University
Center celebrates the role of the horse in society as a place of healing, treatment, education, and research for diverse clients.
Just west of Colorado State University’s (CSU) main campus in Fort Collins, the new state-of-the-art Temple Grandin Equine Center (TGEC) opened its doors recently as the new home of one of the leading equine-assisted services facilities in the world.
Named for CSU Department of Animal Sciences professor and autism advocate Temple Grandin and constructed with generous support from donors, the building is home to a 14,000-square-foot climate-controlled arena, 100-person viewing area with smart technology, and a 500-square-foot traditional clinical therapy room to support student learning, client success, and research advancement for the Equine-Assisted Services (EAS) industry. The modern facility will enhance CSU’s ability to serve individuals with physical, emotional, and developmental challenges while elevating the role of the horse in society in a world-class teaching and learning environment.
Celebrating a Milestone
On March 25, 2021, a small group gathered at the TGEC for a ribbon cutting and celebration. The facility buzzed with energy from concurrent therapy sessions and client families watched from the arena viewing area. Ribbon cutters included CSU President Joyce McConnell, College of Agricultural Sciences Dean James Pritchett, Head of the Department of Animal Sciences Keith Belk, TGEC Director of Administration and Outreach Adam Daurio, and the building’s namesake, Professor Grandin.
Grandin’s story is widely known. As teenager with autism struggling to find her place in the world, a summer on her aunt’s ranch in Arizona sparked an interest in horses that she took home with her to New Hampshire.
“Horses saved my life,” says Grandin. “They were very important for me for getting friends.”
At boarding school, Grandin and her roommate connected over their shared passion, working together at the school’s horse barn. Horses, she said, gave her a purpose.
“I was responsible for the school’s horse barn, every day,” Grandin says. “Nine stalls. I put them in and out. Fed them. Made sure I never left the grain box open. That’s responsibility. The other thing I learned from horses: I learned how to work.”
Today, Grandin is a leading voice for animal welfare, a college professor, and an outspoken advocate for people with autism. She recognizes the transformative affect that horses can have on others with physical, emotional, and developmental challenges, as they did on her.
The new facility is as unique as Grandin herself, combining all of the facets of an equine facility with those of a physical and occupational therapy clinic.
For more information on this unique facility, please Click Here.