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Big Changes at Therapeion!

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

2022 is off to a gallop, with many changes and several pending.

2021 was a successful year, despite the pandemic. We closed with a great community event — Santa at the Stable — that had hundreds attend, got favorable coverage in local media, and raised significant funding to help maintain the program! That energy is carrying over into this year. Be sure to mark May 6th on your calendars: it will be our Derby Kickoff event! We'll be posting more news about that soon.

In 2021 the Board of Directors was concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on Therapeion's future, along with concerns about finding volunteers and instructors, health of our mighty steeds, and the eventual retirement of our founder, Libby Marks-Shepard (in 2023). Thus, they obtained the services of an outside consultant to lead a major strategic planning effort involving the board, volunteers, staff, and members of the community. Some the items listed in this post are a direct result of that plan. The basic summary is that TTRC has a plan, goals, and great ideas for the coming years!

Here are a few of the most important bits of news.

New Executive Director

We are excited to share the news that Therapeion now has an Executive Director! Pamela Dexter joins us after serving as the Executive Director and CEO at The Farm at Prophetstown. Prior to that, she was the Chief Development Officer for Student Life at the Purdue Research Foundation. She thus brings to Therapeion some great experience with non-profits and with education!

Pam is saddling up with a great set of ideas for streamlining some operations, engaging more of the community, and helping to grow TTRC's programs. Watch for ways you can assist Pam and help Therapeion in the days to come! If you have something to share with Pam, you can reach her as

Board & Officer Additions

Therapeion's Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for the health and operation of TTRC. We've been fortunate to have a great set of board members in recent years, and that trend continues with our newest members:

  • Kevin Grant, owner of Family Tax & Financial Services in Lafayette. Kevin has volunteered with Therapeion in the past. As a veteran and local businessman, Kevin brings some new perspectives and energy to the board.

  • Lori Heath, VP Senior Ag Lender at Horizon Bank. Lori is a long-time horse owner and volunteer, including past service with other non-profits. Lori took caring ownership of TTRC's horse, Paco, when it was determined that Paco should retire from active duty. Lori is also taking on the role of Therapeion Treasurer.

We would like to grow the board — ideally to around 10 members. We are seeking individuals with an interest in serving persons with disabilities in White, Tippecanoe, and the surrounding counties. Duties include attending monthly Board meetings, serving on at least one committee, and helping with fund raising. Board positions are unpaid. Prior board experience is not required.

Individuals with a conflict of interest are excluded. A COI would be, for example, having an immediate family member involved in a Therapeion program as a client, selling goods or services to Therapeion, or working for an organization that competes with Therapeion in some way.

For more information, contact Janice at <>.

Board & Officer Departures

We also have some other changes to the Board:

  • Pattie Spafford retired from the Board in early February.

  • Gene Spafford has been Treasurer and Board Chair since October 2019. He is passing the Treasurer's role on to Lori (see above). Gene has also stepped off the Board.

  • Gene is co-authoring two books this year and Pattie is doing the illustrations for one of them, so — combined with their other activities and planned travel — they aren't going to find themselves idle!

Classes and Horses

Classes resume on March 22nd, with slightly less capacity as we await further reduction in COVID-19 cases. Our intent is to be back at full capacity for the summer! Pam and the Board will be exploring options to perhaps increase capacity.

We've had some changes in our herd. Paco was retired from instruction in the autumn after many years of service. So were Janis and Hershey, earlier in the year. All three are enjoying their retirement, however, and continue to reside at Shepard Stable. Next time you visit you can say hello and maybe feed them a cookie!

Duke and The Dude have spent time this winter at Courage Rock Stable, home base of our beloved instructor, Kim Markham. They have been enjoying the change of scenery, but they haven't been goofing off: they've been helping Kim's riders in her programs. Both are coming back to Shepard Stable in March to join Flashy, Lyle, Tucker, and Willy for classes.

What YOU Can Do

We're always grateful for the participation of our volunteers and support from the community. We welcome new and renewed involvement!

Volunteers are the backbone of our programs, so we always welcome individuals willing to train as volunteers to help with classes and to participate in horse care. You too can help Therapeion, even if only a little! If you want to explore being a volunteer, then contact the Therapeion Volunteer Coordinator at <>.

We also welcome volunteers willing to help on committees, such as Events and Fundraising. If you are interested, please contact <>.

We also have an on-going need for financial support to keep the horses fed and properly cared-for. If you are interested in making a donation to Therapeion, visit our donation page. If you would like to make some "painless" donations, then read this news item.

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