The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Born with Down syndrome and weakened muscles, Izzy S. couldn’t sit up atop her mount when she began visiting the Temple Grandin Equine Center (TGEC) interim facility in Elyria-Swansea a year and a half ago. By this past July, however, the four-and-a-half-year-old was able to stand in the saddle for 10 seconds. Her progress can be attributed to equine-assisted services (EAS), a form of therapy designed to treat a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities, from autism to spina bifida. (For Izzy, a horse’s gait helps her understand what walking feels like.) Determined to become the world’s foremost EAS provider, in February 2021 Colorado State University debuted an approximately 14,000-square-foot TGEC facility—named for the school’s famed animal sciences professor and autism advocate—near its Fort Collins campus; a permanent TGEC outpost at Denver’s National Western Center will open in January. The Denver venue, located in the new CSU Spur campus at the complex, will feature enough space for 13 horses and 250 therapy sessions per week, meaning that, come the new year, Izzy won’t be the only person riding high.