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.

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Sarah Ankerson

Sarah Ankerson

Sarah is a 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.

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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.

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Micaela Diedrick

Micaela Diedrick

Micaela is our administrative assistant tasked with greeting clients and families, managing our data, and keeping us organized. Micaela holds a degree in business administration from St. Norbert College.

Rod Leadley

Rod Leadley

Rod has served first as a volunteer and now as a part-time employee of Exceptional Equestrians for more than 10 years. Rod shares his many years of experience in the horse industry as a horse leader in our hippotherapy program, and also helps out around the facility with a variety of horse care and maintenance duties.

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 volunteer coordinator, Lori is the point person for communications with volunteers. Friendly and organized, she is well suited for the tasks of volunteer scheduling and new volunteer intake.

Lori has extensive experience coordinating people, having been a school secretary in Marinette for many years.

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

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