"Watching my child ride, under the direction of Dennis Quillans, brought tears to my eyes as I realized that this was one of the very best things, since the 4 years since my son’s diagnosis, that I ever could have done to help my child. My son was diagnosed with a rare genetic neurological disorder, Polymicrogyria, resulting in left sided hemi-paresis (partial-paralysis,) and after years of therapy and tons of dedicated work, watching my son steer Cuddles the horse, entirely on his own made me realize just how lucky we were to stumble across Dennis and Cuddles which has given my son the confidence and promise to engineer his own destiny, on his own terms, within his own ability and under the caring and experienced guidance of Dennis. Never have I been more thankful. Thank you."

  Laura Freeman

Dennis Quilliams
 PO Box 1413
Penhold, AB
T0M 1R0

Ph: 403-348-5636
Fax: 403-348-5637
Email  riders@special-ability-horsemanship.info
     OR: dkhorses2009@live.com  


 

Special Ability HorseManShip


We are so glad you have come to our webpage.  We believe everybody has abilities.  Each individual has unique and special abilities. During our horsemanship lessons, we start each person at their own level of ability. For our clients in wheelchairs, grooming and petting the horse is a good start! For those who need back support during their riding time you can provide a "seasoned" rider to ride with them or Dennis loves to ride with them. Many people start with our miniature horses, building up confidence, grooming skills and leading lessons.Each rider has their own needs. Regardless if the rider is able-bodied or has some unique needs we will tailor the lesson to suit you.  During our horsemanship lessons, we start each person at their own level of ability. From leading and grooming to saddling and riding we can help you make your dreams come true!

For our clients in wheelchairs, grooming and petting the horse is a good start! For those who need back support during their riding time you can provide a "seasoned" rider to ride with them or there is a special saddle with back support. Many people start with our miniature horses, building up confidence, grooming skills and leading lessons.

Equine Guided Education
incorporates horses experientially to promote emotional growth and learning.

Some of the benefits of riding and being with horses are:

  • strengthen core muscle
  • learning new skills
  • improve focus and attention
  • enhance cognitive thinking
  • increase physical fitness
  • gain better balance
  • emotional and mental harmony
  • Enjoyment, fun and entertainment





Whatever your age, skill level or ability we can help you make your dreams come true! Learn HorseManShip

from the ground up.


 $50per session + gst. (about 1 hour) Sessions can be weekly or bi-weekly or as you are able.


 Dennis  looks forward to being with you, enhancing your life with your horse.



"Riding my horse-gives wings to my feet and joy to my heart"




Currently we don't have an indoor facilty. Rides can take place outside when the weather is good. We are continuing our search for an indoor facility  for hosting HorseSense HorseManShip and Special Ability Horsemanship, along with Heather Russell teaching Equine Guided Education.  Specializing in Gaited Horses, teaching you to get a better gait, a more comfortable seat and a more comfortable ride.



Dennis Experience with Special Needs Children and Adults: Dennis began his adventure in working with horses & people with special needs, when he married his wife, Karen, in 1971. Karen had polio and had some lasting effects from it. In the 80's she experienced post polio syndrome.  Her continuing love of horses and riding, led them to learning about riding with a special ability. And learn they did!  And in that learning, found that horses were great therapy, both for mind and body. They soon became very interested in therapeutic riding and finding out all they could about the benefits of horses and people with special abilities.

In 2001, Dennis and Karen moved to Red Deer, Alberta.  Very quickly they became acquainted with a therapeutic riding club. Starting by serving on the board, they soon became more active in the club itself. Volunteering as side walker and leader, Dennis began to realize that his past training and experience was put to good use in working with children and adults. He soon became program director, overseeing all aspects of the program.  Along with taking some courses on various abilities, he studied various techniques of teaching riders who had those special abilities. For many years he worked with the club, as well as providing private horsemanship lessons to riders of all ages and abilities. At the conclusion of his time with the club, he has moved into providing one-one-one horsemanship lessons for people with special abilities. Dennis and Karen have taken many courses to enable them to better work with individuals with special and unique needs.

From the autistic child who learned to speak while riding a horse to the development and strengthening of core muscles of the child with cerebral palsy to helping the adult with a learning disability, Dennis has proven his ability to share with those who have physical, emotional or mental struggles. He has also worked with children at risk with a local school councilor


He continues to train horses, conduct training/riding clinics and give HorseManShip lessons to both able bodied people and those with special needs. 

For all ages, from the very youngest to the older adult

  •   Individualized specialized program
  •  One on One lessons
  •   Includes, as ability permits,  fetching the horse from the pen,  grooming, saddling, leading,
  •   Arena work and outside trail ride
  •   Games and fun activities, labyrinth, pole bending,
  •   Weekly, bi-weekly to fit your schedule
  •   Year round
  •   Approximately 1 hour lesson
  •   Emphasis on building core strength, learning “right & left” ,  balance, leg strength, cross-over exercises
  •   Walk, Trot and Gait
  •   On lead line progressing to independent riding, as ability permits
  •  $50.00 per lesson (&GST). Each lesson about 1 hour long.    

HorseSense HorseManShip Riding For People With Special Needs in Red Deer

What YOU need to bring for your lessons:

  1. your own helmet, can be purchased at a local Tack Shop
  2. wearing appropriate clothing, shoes/boots with heels, NO dangling strings, jewlery, or loose clothing
  3. volunteers to be "Spotters"  (walk beside horse or just keep an eye on rider to help with safely and to re-enforce lessons)
  4. volunteer to be "Horse Handlers (to lead horse, or other wise help with horse)
  5. a great attitude!
  6. willingness to learn and have fun while learning
  7. spectators to cheer you on
  8. carrots or apples to give your horse a treat for a "job well done"