As the old saying goes, "history was written on the back of a horse." Indeed, since their domestication about 6,000 years ago, horses have shaped human culture, playing key roles in agriculture, warfare and transportation. And horses capture our imaginations, too. From the myth of wingéd Pegasus carrying Zeus’s thunderbolts to Mount Olympus to the enduring novel Black Beauty, even down to stick horses and herds of pink and purple plastic My Little Pony toys, horses continue to fascinate us.
Every year on the second Sunday of October, the Danada Equestrian Center in west suburban Wheaton holds its annual Fall Festival of the Horse, allowing families an opportunity to learn about—and interact with—these gentle animals.
Julie Heliker, a supervisor at the Equestrian Center, says the goal of the event is to educate people about horses and "their unique role in human history, both past and present."
She notes that horses have recently been partnered with therapists to address developmental and emotional needs of both at-risk youth and children with special needs. Local therapeutic riding organizations will be present at the fall festival to educate visitors about these therapies.
About 60 horses are scheduled for display at the festival. Parking and admittance are free, as are barn tours, educational displays and an exhibition of horse breeds and choreographed riding programs at the outdoor arena.
Face painting, monogrammed horseshoes made by the resident blacksmith and horse-drawn hayrides are available for a small fee. A snack tent will sell popcorn, soda and other items.
"It’s a relaxing day," Heliker said. "Families come and enjoy walking around, learning about horses."
For more information, call (630) 668-6012 or visit the Web site at danada.info.
Fall Festival of the Horse
Date: Oct. 12
Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Location: Wheaton (about 25 miles west of Chicago) on the east side of Naperville Road, one mile south of Butterfield Road/Route 56 and about a mile north of Interstate 88.