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  • Writer's pictureAdam Daurio

Equine-assisted Services: For the Benefit of Horses and Humans Alike

World-renowned Autism advocate and livestock handling and welfare expert, Dr. Temple Grandin, claims “Horses were my salvation.  Horses saved my life.”  Therefore, it was natural to create an initiative in Dr. Grandin’s honor where horses and the horse environment were studied and used to help benefit human lives as well as where those studies also focused on equine welfare and the horse’s role in society.  Voiila, the Temple Grandin Equine Center!

The Temple Grandin Equine Center (TGEC) is Colorado State University’s initiative focused on research, education, and outreach in equine-assisted services (EAS).  Named after CSU Professor of Animal Sciences, Dr. Temple Grandin, the TGEC operates out of two locations: the flagship center is at the CSU Foothills Campus in Fort Colorado, CO ( and the second center has recently opened at the CSU Spur campus at the National Western Center in Denver, CO (  Both centers have research studies pertaining to EAS and host EAS programs and services such as occupational and physical therapy, mental health counseling, and therapeutic and adaptive horsemanship.  The TGEC in Fort Collins is home to undergraduate education focused on EAS, while TGEC at CSU Spur hosts internships and fieldwork for high school, undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students.

Research is the foundation of the TGEC.  Commencing in 2015, TGEC faculty and students performed a Systematic Mapping Review of the EAS industry to determine the state of knowledge based on scientific research studies and results.  Since that time, the TGEC’s research efforts have included three ongoing programs of research:   1) Continued Mapping Reviews of the literature on EAS, 2) Occupational Therapy in an Equine Environment for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and 3) Adaptive Riding for older adults with dementia. 

Additionally, the TGEC has identified six emerging initiatives in which TGEC researchers have engaged with a diverse collective of practitioners and researchers in Colorado and nationally: 1) Practice and Safety Patters of OT, PT, and SLP Incorporating Equine Movement, 2) Therapeutic Riding for Youth with Autism, 3) Optimal Terminology for Services that Incorporate Horses to Benefit People, 4) Psychotherapy Incorporating Horses for Transition-aged Students, 5) Measuring Participant Outcomes of Community-based Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding, and 6) Effects of Equine-assisted Social-emotional Learning on Human and Equine Wellbeing.

The TGEC is proud to boast an elite leadership team of industry experts.  Dr. Sharon Butler, DVM, CTRI and Associate Professor is the Program Coordinator of the TGEC center in Fort Collins.  Debbie Mogor, PTA, CTRI, and Registered Therapist is the Program Coordinator of the TGEC center at CSU Spur.  Dr. Caiti Peters, PhD, OTR/L and Assistant Professor is the Director of Research. 

For more information about the TGEC research, education, or programming, any one of these individuals can be contacted, as well as the Director of the TGEC and the Associate Director of Equine Sciences, Adam Daurio, Esq.

The TGEC was recently featured by the City of Denver in their Elevating Denver campaign, which showcases people and programs making positive impact in Denver.

Launching the TGEC program at the CSU Spur campus was also featured as a premiere University program through STATE, The Magazine of Colorado State University System, and that story can be read here

Visiting the TGEC facility in Fort Collins is by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling (970) 491-1651.  Visiting hours at the TGEC facility at CSU Spur are between 10am and 5pm Monday through Friday and the second Saturday of every month.

This video explores the unique role of the horse with providing comprehensive therapy to help individuals heal from physical, emotional, and developmental challenges.

Temple Grandin at the Exceptional Rodeo. Each year the Temple Grandin Equine Center at CSU Spur hosts the PRCA Pro Rodeo's Exceptional Rodeo — an adaptive, accessible rodeo for children of all abilities.


EquuStyle Art & Travel magazine thanks Adam Daurio, Director of Administration and Outreach at Colorado State University, for writing an excellent article and sharing photographs. Our sincere thanks to Dr. Temple Grandin for her outstanding contributions to the humane treatment of livestock and autism.

All images Copyright Temple Grandin Equine Center and Colorado State University -all rights reserved. Cannot be reproduced for any purpose without permission from Temple Grandin Equine Center or Colorado State University.


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