February 3, 1938 ~ April 5, 2020

Born in: Lake Forest, IL
Resided in: Denver, CO

Wilson Dennehy, age 82, Died of natural causes on April 5, 2020. He was born on February 3, 1938 in Lake Forest, IL and was the son of Virginia Wilson Dennehy and Charles Dennehy.

Mr. Dennehy is survived by his siblings Charles Dennehy and Sister Virginia Dennehy and three children Elizabeth Dennehy Bunker, Michael W. Dennehy and Charles L. Dennehy; as well as five grandchildren.

Wilson was an avid horseman all of his life. He began riding horses as a young boy and achieved great success throughout his career including winning numerous national championships, competing on the US three day team and coaching several US Olympic riders in show jumping and dressage. He was inducted into The National Show Hunter Hall of Fame, an honor he shared with his wife, Sandy, who was also an inductee.

He met his wife Sandy (of Denver) through a mutual friend in Lake Forest, IL in 1955 after winning all three major national equitation finals. He is the only person to ever win all three competitions in a single year.

Wilson and Sandy were married in 1959 and settled in Denver, CO. Together they owned and operated the Arapahoe Riding Club, training horses and coaching clients for over 60 years.

Services will be held September 15, 2020 at Parker Bible Church in Parker, CO at 11 am.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to charity in memory of Wilson Dennehy. Suggestions include: National Show Hunter Hall of Fame, Danny and Ron’s Rescue and Rocky Mountain Horse Rescue.

Memories Timeline


  1. Wilson played a big role in my life. All those years at the barn, lessons, horse shows.
    ARC was like a second family to me…so many kids literally spent all day at the barn…great friendships and life long lessons! Wilson and Sandy not only taught me to ride and care for my horses, they watched over me and others like second parents.
    I treasure memories of those days.
    I send condolences to Liza, Michael and Charlie.

  2. Even though I rode at another barn I always enjoyed watching Wilson and all the family when they showed. Watching Wilson ride and teach his students in the schooling ring was a good learning experience as well. I rode during the 70’s & 80’s and I remember how exciting it was to watch when Wilson rode jumpers. The jump offs were great and he would always go for the win. My deepest condolences to Liza, Michael and Charlie and all the family.

  3. Pamela Isham and Henry (Peter) Isham

    July 9th

    How sorry we were to see Wilson Dennehy had died. We so enjoyed the one dinner we had at his and Sandy’s house with Sister Dennehy and his children as we waited in vain for some distant Dennehy relatives from Ireland to arrive. He was a lot of fun and a wonderful host. We are only sorry we didn’t work at maintaining contact after that lovely evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with all his loved ones.
    Pete Isham and Pam Clute (relatives).

  4. Although my association with Arapahoe Riding Club and almost daily contact with Wilson ended in 1975, it is a chapter in my life that I vividly and good memory.
    What distinguished Wilson from other trainers was his ability to explain in several different ways to me and others, a point in riding and jumping with a horse. So if I gave him a blank stare when he gave me an instruction, he would use a different approach until I finally “got it”. My guess is that he applied this process to the training of his own horses. Four of them in particular stand out, Laursi (who was really Sandy’s), BR (Bold Image), Ding (Outcast) and Swanson or Swanny (Incredible), each because he/she was very different from the other three. From my experience, each of them had a different personality, and anyone from that era probably remembers that each horse behaved very differently. In the context of my own life, by observing Wilson, I learned that there was almost always another way of doing things beyond an initial approach.

    One final observation…although there were some people who liked WIlson and other who did not, nobody could ignore him.

    My sincere condolences to Liza, Michael and Charlie.


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