Meet Our Staff

Our therapists, equine professionals, and instructors are lifelong riders and horse enthusiasts who recognize and understand the unique therapeutic value of the human-horse bond.

Exceptional Equestrians’ highly skilled staff members have chosen to pursue additional training and certification with internationally recognized organizations, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) and the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA), in order to expand their professional skills and maximize the benefits for the wide variety of clients we serve.

Lisa Kafka

Lisa Kafka, OTR, HPCS

Executive Director

Lisa is a licensed occupational therapist with more than 25 years pediatric experience, a certified American Hippotherapy Association hippotherapy clinical specialist, and a PATH-certified riding instructor. In addition to her clinical duties, Lisa coordinates our hippotherapy program. As executive director, she oversees all programming at Exceptional Equestrians.

Contact Lisa at

Sarah Ankerson

Sarah Ankerson

Sarah is a PATH-certified riding instructor in our therapeutic riding and recreational riding programs, teaching horsemanship and equitation. She is also the equine specialist responsible for training and managing our therapy horses, working closely with our veterinarians and farriers to ensure a healthy herd. Sarah holds a degree in equine management and agriculture business from Michigan State University.

Contact Sarah at

Nancy Williquette

Nancy Williquette

As our director of marketing and development, Nancy's role is to build community awareness and support for the programs and services at Exceptional Equestrians, and to secure financial resources for the organization. Nancy holds a degree in communications from Carroll University.

Contact Nancy at

Micaela Diedrick

Micaela Diedrick

Micaela is our office assistant tasked with greeting clients and families. Micaela holds a degree in business administration from St. Norbert College.

Rod Leadley

Rod Leadley

Rod shares his many years of experience in the horse industry helping with a variety of horse care and maintenance duties. He also volunteers as a horse leader in our hippotherapy program.

Samantha Berger

Samantha Berger, COTA

Sam is a certified occupational therapy assistant in our hippotherapy program. She provides hippotherapy services for children and adults. She received her occupational therapy assistant (COTA) associate’s degree at Fox Valley Technical College and is experienced in horsemanship.

"I help people who face daily challenges by providing therapies that help them function more easily and by providing an experience that they look forward to week after week. The smiles and joy I see on their faces are unmatchable. If I can be even a small part of something that alleviates some of their challenges, then I would consider that an honor."

Lori Eparvier

As our billing specialist, Lori is the point person for patient and client accounts.

Contact Lori at

Carol Klak, OTR, MA

As equine assisted learning facilitator, Carol leads our Taking the Lead equine assisted learning program, which includes Girls Rule and Maverick. Carol facilitates interactions between horses and humans to promote the development of life skills.

Contact Carol at

Deanne Beaumier

As volunteer coordinator, Deanne is the point person for volunteer opportunities and communications with volunteers.

Contact Deanne at

Exceptional Equestrians is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides equine-assisted therapies to individuals with special needs.

Contact Us
Frequently Asked Questions