Nestled amid hundreds of acres of woodlands at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton is a well-loved pasture that is home to a small herd of 19 horses.
On the site of what was once a working farm, there now stands a 20-stall Kentucky-style barn and, next to it, a riding arena. Here, anyone who has ever dreamed of riding on horseback through wooded trails can make that wish come true.
A full-scale riding school, Danada offers lessons for teens, adults and seniors, both one-on-one and in small groups of no more than four. Lessons begin with groom-and-tack instructions and an opportunity to learn how to communicate with the horse. Younger riders might saddle up gentle ponies Sundance or Quazar while adults may choose Joe, an off-the-track horse, or the larger half-draft horses, Captain and Grace. Those who are not quite ready to ride can get to know and groom the horses in a class aptly named No Rush Brush.
Through family days and special events, Danada invites everyone to get up close with the horses.
The Hansen Center in Burr Ridge offers an altogether different equine experience. Here, children and adults with disabilities participate in therapeutic sessions in which they learn to ride or otherwise engage with the horses as a path to cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being.Edit Module