Danada Equestrian Center
3S507 Naperville Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
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Hours of Operation

The equestrian office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on select holidays.

The surrounding Danada Forest Preserve is open daily from one hour after sunrise until one hour after sunset.


Call Danada Equestrian Center at (630) 668-6012, or email forest@dupageforest.org.


Danada Equestrian Center

The Danada Equestrian Center welcomes visitors of all ages, offering educational and recreational enrichment programs rooted in Danada’s unique equine heritage.

Equestrian Programs

Summer Camps 

Horse Sense and Riding Sense summer camps offer hands-on experiences with horses and an introduction to the day-to-day activities of a working stable. Summer camp season has ended for 2014, and information on next season's offerings will be available in January 2015.

Horsemanship Courses and Tours 

Information on next year's lesson programs will be available in our 2015 Program Guide in early 2015. We'll offer Horsemanship l through V group lessons, plus private and semi-private lessons from April through Oct. 2015. 

Introduction to Horsemanship I Group Lessons are designed for the inexperienced equestrian as well as for those with past experience who feel they need a refresher course. Objectives of the course include: how to correctly halter and tie a horse, basic grooming, mounting a horse, the rider’s position in the saddle to develop a secure and balanced seat at the walk and trot, basic aids for turning and stopping a horse plus much more. The group lessons consist of a six-week session, with lessons meeting once per week for two hours.

Introduction to Horsemanship II Group Lessons are open to individuals who have the approval of a Danada instructor. Objectives of the course include: understanding the proper fit of tack, applying correct use of aids at the walk and trot; arena schooling figures, continuing to ride over ground poles, posting diagonals, and general horse care principles. The group lessons consist of a six-week session, with lessons meeting once per week for two hours.

Private and Semi-Private Lessons are tailored to the individual’s horsemanship skill level. Beginner students may participate in unmounted instruction such as grooming and tacking. Lessons may also be designed for students wishing more concentrated instruction to correct a specific riding difficulty or achieve a performance goal. All lessons are 30 minutes long and can be purchased individually or in packages of six lessons. Semi-Private Lessons require students to provide their own partner at the same skill level. Students must arrive early to groom and tack-up their assigned horse. Reservations are required and must be made one week in advance by calling (630) 668-6012 or stopping by during office hours to sign-up.



Guided Group Tours 

Danada’s one-hour guided tours offer groups and organizations with members of all ages tours of the Danada Barn including information on horse behavior, types of feeds, different saddles and tack and an introduction to one of our horses during a grooming demonstration. Tours are $35 per group of 20 for DuPage residents and $65 per group of 20 for nonresidents. For more information call the center at (630) 668-6012 or download the application. Download the Barn Guided-Group Tour Application

For Teachers and Their Students
Danada offers programs that meet state curriculum standards for grammar school and high school classes. For more information, call the center at (630) 668-6012 or view the Teachers Guide.

For Scouts
Learn about opportunities for Scouts and other youth groups at Danada. For more information, view the Scouting Guide.

Danada Volunteers

Danada Equestrian Center volunteers tend to the center’s horses, maintain the stable area and paddocks, and provide information to visitors. For more information, visit Danada Volunteers, or contact the Forest Preserve District’s Volunteer Services office at (630) 933-7681 or volunteer@dupageforest.com.

Dan and Ada Rice

Danada Forest Preserve is the former estate of commodity trader Daniel Rice and his wife, Ada, racehorse enthusiasts who bred champion Thoroughbreds.

In 1928, the Rices purchased Danada Farm, a working farm complemented by apple orchards, wheat and corn fields, and grazing lots for livestock. In 1943, Dan Rice purchased eight Thoroughbreds for his wife’s pursuit in horse racing, and the Ada L. Rice Stable was born.

Every year, the Wheaton farm served as a training facility for 20 to 40 yearlings. A 26-stall Kentucky-style barn, with center stalls and an indoor track, allowed trainers to work horses even in inclement weather. The Rices’ staff also used the 0.5-mile regulation racetrack on the west side of Naperville Road to condition yearlings that arrived from a sister farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

In 1965, the Rices made their mark at the Kentucky Derby with a bay colt named Lucky Debonair, which jockey Willie Shoemaker rode across the wire in a neck-to-neck finish for a first-place win and a $112,000 purse. One year later, Advocator, another bay colt and Rice Thoroughbred, placed second in the Derby.

Ada maintained her equestrian interests until 1975, when, after her husband’s death, she sold the farm’s remaining horses.

Watch the Friends of Danada's video on Danada history

Danada House and Model Farm

Dan and Ada Rice built this sprawling, 19-room white brick country home in 1939. The house, owned today by the Forest Preserve District and operated by the Friends of Danada, is available for formal receptions, business meetings, showers, parties and other functions.

The Danada Model Farm preserves the history of DuPage County with 1950s machinery and agricultural practices. Owned by the Forest Preserve District, operated by volunteers and sponsored by the Friends of Danada, the farm offers hayrides and tours to the public. For more information, visit Danada House, or contact the Danada House at (630) 668-5392 or jill@danadahouse.com.

Danada Fall Festival

Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, enjoy a celebration of the horse at our largest special event, the Danada Fall Festival, at Danada Equestrian Center.


The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is committed to making its facilities accessible to all visitors. For special accessibility needs or concerns, please contact the District's ADA coordinator at (630) 933-7683 or
TTY (800) 526-0857 at least three business days in advance of your visit.

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