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Temple Grandin Equine Center to lead equine therapy research

After breaking ground on the Temple Grandin Equine Center Feb. 10, Colorado State University is ready to make history. 

The TGEC will open in time for the spring 2021 semester and focuses on education and research. At the center, CSU equine science majors will receive hands-on learning experience and have the chance to participate in internships and externships. 

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“The intent of the facility is very much hands-on learning,” said Adam Daurio, director of administration for the center. “There’s the viewing area where students can observe during their labs, but then we are also very hopeful that the students will engage and be a part of the programming.” 

Daurio said that while equine science classes will have first choice for scheduling in the center, it will feature a large lecture hall open to all departments.

Additionally, anyone can participate in community programming at the center, which will include physical, occupational and speech therapy, mental health counseling and adaptive and traditional horsemanship lessons. 

Equine science students will have the opportunity to participate in community programming as well. Daurio said students may be assigned to manage and exercise the horses as well as volunteer at therapy sessions. 

The center’s namesake and CSU animal science professor Temple Grandin said horses saved her life and taught her valuable skills. 

“High school was the worst part of my life, and when I was a teenager, I got bullied, and the only places I was not bullied was when we went riding and did activities with the horses,” Grandin said. “I was not a good student when I was in high school. So, they put me to work taking care of the horse barn. The thing that (horses) taught me was really good working skills and responsibility.”

I think it’s going to help people in a lot of ways. … The science is very clear. There’s a lot of evidence that (therapeutic riding is) very, very helpful.” -Temple Grandin, animal science professor

Grandin said she thinks that the job and career opportunities the center can provide students with are very important. With this center, Grandin said, there can be more communication and cross-discipline work between CSU science departments as well. 

“I think the center will draw the equine world and the animal science world closer together and strengthen the research done in the (equine-assisted activities and therapies) community,” wrote Rozie Nobe, a CSU biological sciences sophomore, in an email to The Collegian. “I’m super excited for the research that could stem from this center.”

Along with student education, the TGEC aims to be a leader in the research field for equine-assisted activities and therapies.

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“The goal of much of our research right now is to determine the difference and the effectiveness of including the horse or the equine environment into a therapy,” Daurio said. “(For) example, you would have a more traditional route of occupational therapy being provided to an individual, and then we would show through research that by incorporating a horse or the horse environment that it is more effective occupational therapy.” 

Grandin said that while it is clear therapeutic riding is beneficial for children, there is no knowledge on which children will respond positively to it, and that type of research is what CSU will focus on.

According to a media advisory, CSU will break ground on the second facility, the Temple Grandin Equine Center at Spur, as part of the CSU System campus at the National Western Center in Denver in April. Daurio said the focus of that center will be community outreach, while the Fort Collins programming’s primary purpose is education. 

“I think it’s going to help people in a lot of ways,” Grandin said. “You’ve got veterans with PTSD, you’ve got autistic kids, individuals with other developmental problems. The science is very clear. There’s a lot of evidence that (therapeutic riding is) very, very helpful. I think it’s really good that CSU can become a leader in that.”

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb

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About the Contributor
Serena Bettis
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at editor@collegian.com.

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