Danada Equestrian Center

Danada Equestrian Center

The Danada Equestrian Center at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton offers lessons, camps, group tours and other educational and recreational experiences year-round. Danada Equestrian Center hosts the annual Danada Fall Festival on the second Sunday in October. This one-day event features equestrian demonstrations, horse-drawn hayrides, barn tours and a variety of children’s activities.

 

Driving Directions

Danada Equestrian Center is located at 3S507 Naperville Road. Danada House is located at 3S501 Naperville Road.  

Equestrian Programs

Riding Lessons

Learn horsemanship and riding skills in a friendly group setting, or receive one-on-one instruction and progress at your own pace with individual lessons. We have lessons for new to advanced riders ages 12 and up. Register online or at 630-668-6012.

Group Lessons

Horsemanship 1

Horsemanship I

Horsemanship I is for inexperienced riders as well as riders with experience who need a refresher course. Students receive hands-on instruction in haltering, grooming, leading and tacking and learn basic riding skills. Register online.

Horsemanship II

Horsemanship II

Horsemanship II is for students who successfully completed Horsemanship I and want to improve their skills. Register online.

Horesemanship III

Horsemanship III

Horsemanship III is for intermediate riders who continue to practice techniques from Horsemanship I and II. Students prepare their horses for riding with little to no assistance and learn to ride a balanced seat in a western saddle. Register online.

Horsemanship IV

Horsemanship IV

Horsemanship IV is for intermediate and advanced riders who continue to practice techniques from Horsemanship III and want to establish a balanced seat and perform intermediate and advanced skills associated with the walk, trot and canter. Register online.

Horse Ownership (Five-Part Series)

Whether you’re a prospective owner or just an enthusiast, get an in-depth look at behavior, health, feed, conformation, and leasing versus owning. Each session features a different topic and includes a 60-minute lecture followed by 60 minutes of practical, hands-on applications in the barn. Ages 12 and up. $10 per person. Register online or at 630-668-6012.

No Rush Brush Grooming

Interested in spending time with a horse but don't care to ride? Want to get comfortable around one on the ground before moving on to your first lesson? Then join us for 45 minutes of one-on-one horse grooming time followed by 15 minutes of lectures or ground work. (Lectures may include stall vs. pasture, breeds, and behavior; ground work may include basic leading skills.) Ages 10 and up. To register, call 630-668-6012.  

 

Trail Classes 

Trail Ride Classes for Intermediate and Advanced Students

Trail Ride Classes for Intermediate and Advanced Students

Our five-part trail classes focus on the educational aspects associated with trail riding on trails, including those in DuPage forest preserves. Students will learn trail etiquette, safety and riding skills for trail riding through groundwork and mounted instruction. The first part of the class will be held indoors to review trail skills and what to expect outside an arena. The instructor will select trails to be ridden and determine the length of time spent outside the arena.

Horsemanship III Trail Class

Horsemanship III Trail Class

Intermediate students will ride in western saddles and maneuver through, over and around intermediate trail obstacles inside and outside of the arena. Students enrolled in Horsemanship III Trail Ride Class must have completed Danada’s Horsemanship III class or above within the last year. Students who have taken private lessons at Danada within the last year will need instructor approval before enrolling in Horsemanship III Trail Class.

Horsemanship IV Trail Class

Horsemanship IV Trail Class

Advanced students will ride in western saddles (English saddles can be used with instructor approval) and will maneuver through, over and around intermediate/advanced trail obstacles, both inside and outside of the arena. Students enrolled in Horsemanship IV Trail Ride Class must have completed Danada’s Horsemanship IV class within the last year or must have instructor approval to move on from Horsemanship III Trail. Students who have taken private lessons at Danada within the last year will need instructor approval before enrolling in Horsemanship IV Trail Class.

Camps for Kids and Teens

Kids and teens ages 10 – 14 can enjoy hands-on experiences with horses and the chores of a working barn. These summer day camps offer horse-related games and crafts and either lead-line rides or daily lessons.

Horse Sense

Horse Sense

Entering Grades 5 & 6

Enjoy hands-on experiences with horses and the daily activities of a working barn as well as lead-line rides, stable chores, games, crafts and Friday Family Day. Register online.

Monday – Friday • 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. • B, A
Starting June 3 or 17, July 8 or 22, or Aug. 5
Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton
$250 DuPage resident; $290 nonresident

Riding Sense

Riding Sense

Entering Grades 7 & 8

Enjoy all the fun of Horse Sense camp with the wonders and challenges of a daily riding lesson with a Danada instructor. Register online.

Monday – Friday • 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. • B, A
Starting June 10 or 24, July 15 or 29, or Aug. 12
Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton
$400 DuPage resident; $460 nonresident


Guided Group Tour

Take a one-hour tour of the equestrian center’s Kentucky-style barn to discover horse behaviors, types of feed, and uses of saddles and tack. Then, enjoy a horse grooming demonstration. (Horseback riding is not included.) For availability and reservations, call 630-668-6012Complete and return the guided group tour application (PDF), and  for availability and reservations.



Tractor-Drawn Hayrides

Enjoy cultural and natural history stories on a 30-minute ride through the scenic preserve. Hayrides (first come, first served) and private group rides (with advance reservations) are available on some weekends each fall. Questions? Call  630-668-6012. 


Horsin' Around

Danada Equestrian Center has moved its "Horsin' Around" program in June, July and August to St. James Farm's indoor riding arena, rain or shine. These fun-filled equine days include children's activities and up-close-and-personal opportunities to learn about horses. All ages. Free. No registration. Questions? Call 630-668-6012.

Mustang Appreciation Saturday, June 8 Noon – 4 p.m. St. James Farm
Stars, Stripes & Snips Saturday, July 6 Noon – 4 p.m. St. James Farm
Tractor Day Saturday, Aug. 24 Noon – 4 p.m. St. James Farm
Fall Colors Saturday, Sept. 21 Noon – 4 p.m. Danada
Halloween Trick-or-Treat Saturday, Oct. 26 Noon – 4 p.m. Danada

  

Danada House and Model Farm

The 19-room Danada House was once the home of Dan and Ada Rice. Today, the house and its bright, airy annex are available for receptions, meetings, showers, parties and other catered functions for up to 250. It’s managed by the nonprofit Friends of Danada. For rental information, visit danadahouse.com (link) or call 630-668-5392.

The adjoining gardens showcase native and ornamental plants. A permeable brick paver parking lot limits runoff by allowing water to slowly seep into the ground. Rainwater feeds a courtyard water feature, and decks, arbors, pergolas, trellises, benches and fences feature low-maintenance materials. West of the house, a synthetic turf lawn absorbs up to 6 inches of rain an hour while remaining attractive even after heavy foot traffic.

danada-house.jpg

 

The Rice Legacy

The equestrian center and most of the surrounding Danada Forest Preserve were part of the Dan and Ada L. Rice estate. The Rices purchased the land in 1928, when it was a working farm with apple orchards, wheat and corn fields, and grazing lots for livestock. In 1943 Dan bought eight Thoroughbreds for his wife’s interest in horse racing, and the Ada L. Rice Stable was born, a legacy that would last 32 years.

The farm produced many champions and served as a training facility. The Rices patterned their 26-stall barn after the white dormered-window stables in Lexington, Kentucky. The “Kentucky-style” design, which features center stalls surrounded by an inside aisle, allowed trainers to exercise their Thoroughbreds even in bad weather. The 0.5-mile regulation racetrack west of the barn conditioned yearlings that arrived from a sister farm in Kentucky.

In 1965 the Rices’ Lucky Debonair, a bay colt, crossed the wire first in a neck-to-neck finish for a $112,000 Kentucky Derby purse. One year later, their Thoroughbred Advocator placed second.

Our Danada Equestrian Center offers horseback riding lessons, camps and group tours year-round. Sign up today!
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