Village Improvement Association assists Special Equestrians

For 34 years, Special Equestrians (SE) in Warrington has provided equine-assisted therapies and activities for children and adults with disabilities of many kinds, helping them develop new skills and reach higher levels of functioning.

Through a grant from the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown, SE has recently added a new training arena known as a round pen, offering participants a chance to take advantage of new opportunities.

The round pen allows for longeing (working a horse on a long lead line) to give riders extra confidence and provides a safe space for working with horses at liberty.

During round-pen sessions, students explore body awareness and have a chance to bond with a horse as they work through emotional or behavioral issues.

The addition of the round pen has enhanced the facility by accommodating new programs that work best within a small, enclosed space and by providing an additional arena in which to hold lessons.

Healing and empowerment happen at SE every day through the interaction of horses and humans, including young children who spoke their first word from the back of a horse, teen girls who gained confidence in their physical and relationship-building skills, and children with autism who discovered ways to communicate:

SE Executive Director Denise Quirk said, “We are so happy to be able to make a difference in the lives of both children and adults. Personal achievement stories are different for each individual,” but offered this story, showing the incredible accomplishments one young man made:

Kevin was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. He is generally considered “non-verbal,” though he sometimes says a single word. . . . After his first therapeutic riding lesson at Special Equestrians, he turned and asked me, “What are you doing?” During his second lesson, he began telling the horse to “Walk on, Halo.” This is a huge step for him. I feel he is doing it so effortlessly because he is relaxed and his instructor is phenomenal. It not only is relaxing for him, but the entire experience for both of us is relaxing, comfortable, quiet, peaceful, friendly. His speaking spontaneously in this way was always a dream for me, but thanks to his riding therapy, it has become a reality. I can’t say enough. . . . THANK YOU, Special Equestrians. You are just what Kevin needed. – Kevin’s Mom

“The Village Improvement Association of Doylestown is proud to sponsor activities within the community that are in keeping with our mission,” said Cory H. Schroeder, president of the VIA. “Our purpose is to improve the quality of life in our community. Our Community Response Fund makes possible grants of varying amounts for worthwhile community projects. The one-time funding is for a program or service fulfilling an unmet need in the greater Central Bucks area. Agencies may apply again, but for a different program or service. Our grant cycle is coming up soon, so any interested organization may go to our website,, to obtain grant guidelines and a submission form.”

Questions about the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown may be directed to, or by calling 215-345-2347.

Questions or program and service information may be obtained by contacting Special Equestrians at, or by calling 215-918-1001.