On February 10th, Colorado State University (CSU) broke ground on the Temple Grandin Equine Center, a new facility honouring its equally ground-breaking professor, Dr. Temple Grandin. The 40,000-square-foot Equine Center, which will cost $5 million to construct, will be a place where people with emotional, physical and educational challenges can learn and heal. This includes children, veterans with post-traumatic stress, seniors with dementia and others with emotional or physical challenges. The center, located in Fort Collins, should be completed by January of 2021 and will feature classrooms, offices, an arena, stalls, and clinic space for therapists. About $4.7 million has already been raised and fundraising continues for the remaining $300,000. CSU offers one of a handful of equine science degree programs in the US with between 400-450 students.
Dr. Grandin, who has autism, formed a special connection with horses when she was relocated to a school with a horse farm as a child. She has since become world-famous for her important work in the fields of autism and animal welfare, has designed more humane livestock handling facilities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand, and studied the behaviour of livestock during transport. She has studied and lectured on equine topics including solving behaviour issues, fear, stress, and handling mustangs, all based on how horses think.
Because of her autism, Dr. Grandin says she thinks in pictures instead of words, and believes that animals likely visualize their thoughts in a similar way. She is the author of 18 books to date; Animals In Translation: Using the mysteries of autism to decode animal behavior” is a bestseller, and she was also featured in the award-winning HBO biopic, Temple Grandin.