Leader in Residence Event Connects Horses and Education

Debbie Anderson, co-founder and executive director of Strides to Success, spoke at the 2014 W. Norris Duvall Leader in Residence event March 24-28. Strides to Success is an equine-assisted learning facility located in Plainfield, Ind., that connects horses with kids, adults, and veterans for educational purposes and life skills development.

Hosted by the Center for Leadership Development in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Leader in Residence program brings to the UK campus nationally and world-renowned leaders known for their ethical decision-making and their focus on youth leadership development

Anderson has been professionally involved in the horse industry for more than 35 years. She has logged more than 10,000 hours of experience with equine-assisted learning and equine-assisted psychotherapy work, serving hundreds of schools, mental health providers, and corporate leaders. During the past several years she has focused on assisting equestrian centers in the United States and abroad in partnering with elementary and secondary schools to develop equine-assisted learning programs.

During the weeklong event, Anderson shared her expertise with UK students and faculty, local school district officials, and private colleges about curriculum development, economic sustainability for equestrian centers through diversification of services, and the challenges of running an equine-assisted learning facility, among other topics.

The Leader in Residence program was sponsored by the W. Norris Duvall Endowment for Youth Leadership, Ethics and Service. The endowment’s mission is to support programs that reinforce the importance of integrity, ethical behavior and a sense of civic engagement through service-oriented leadership initiatives for Kentucky’s youth and college students.

Lissa Pohl, MA, is the assistant director of the Center for Leadership Development within the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

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