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.

Danada Program Guide

View the program guide for a variety of lessons, camps and programs.

Questions?

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

Camps 

Children ages 10 – 14 enjoy hands-on horse experiences and the daily activities of a working barn. In “Riding Sense,” kids ages 12 – 14 enjoy the fun of our “Horse Sense” but also a daily riding lesson. Kids can also enjoy two new camps over spring and winter breaks. For session information and registration forms, visit our Kids Camps page.

Horsemanship Courses 

We offer Horsemanship l through IV/V group lessons, plus private and semi-private lessons from April through Oct. 2015. Lessons are offered to all ages over 12 years. View the program guide and the lesson registration form

Beginner 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. Students will learn a balanced seat in a Western saddle. 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.

Beginner Horsemanship II Group Lessons are open to individuals who have the approval of a Danada instructor. Students will learn a balanced seat in a Western saddle. 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.

Intermediate Horsemanship III Group Lessons are open to individuals who have the approval of a Danada instructor. Students will continue to practice the techniques introduced in Horsemanship I and II as well as learn new techniques and exercises to further their riding skills. Students may switch to English tack after the first lesson with instructor approval. This will be based on rider skill, both balance on the horse and ability to control the horse. Students must arrive early to groom and tack up their assigned horse. The group lessons consist of a six-week session, with lessons meeting once per week for one hour.

Advanced Horsemanship IV/V Group Lessons combines riders with skills at level IV and V who have the approval of a Danada instructor. Students may ride in a Western or English saddle and objectives will be determined by the skill levels of those enrolled, but may include riding the canter in standing and sitting positions with control, work over poles at the walk, trot and canter and bending exercises, elementary lateral movements and more. Students must arrive early to groom and tack up their assigned horse. The group lessons consist of a six-week session, with lessons meeting once per week for one hour. 

Private and Semi-Private Lessons are tailored to the individual’s horsemanship skill level. Beginner students are strongly encouraged to enroll in an introductory lesson to receive unmounted instruction on grooming and tacking prior to enrolling in a private or semi-private lesson. 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.   
 

Guided Group Tours 

Danada’s one-hour guided tours offer groups with members of all ages tours of the barn and introduces horse behaviors, types of feed, saddles and tack, and a grooming demonstration on one of the center's horses performed by a center staff member or volunteer. (Horseback riding is not available to tour participants during these tours.) Tours are available Jan. through May and Sept. through Dec. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. Tours are available June through Aug. Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are required and must be made two weeks in advance. Tours are $35 per group of 20 DuPage County residents and $65 per group of 20 nonresidents. For more information, call (630) 668-6012 or view the Group Barn 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.org.
 


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.

Accessibility

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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