Taking the Reigns

Naperville is one of the largest cities in Illinois, but pieces of open space can still be found scattered throughout the area. Among all the cars and houses along Hobson Road, there is a quiet pasture. Look a little closer, and you will see horses roaming.

Trillion Equestrian owner and founder Ann Janke remembers before all the cars and houses occupied Hobson Road. She has been riding horses her whole life, and last July opened up a new horse barn in Naperville, just miles away from where she grew up.

“We are trying to preserve this land and keep this as the last standing barn,” said Janke. “All the land on Hobson was predominantly equestrian, and has become predominantly residential.”

At Trillion they offer lessons six days a week for kids age six all the way up to adults. The lessons go from four to eight weeks and teach riders how to take completely take care of a horse, from grooming, to tacking, to riding.

“They’re going to learn the whole horseman ship program,” said Janke. “It’s a nice program for them to learn how to be an owner someday.”

Trillion Equestrian offers basic riding lessons for beginners, but also Western, Dressage and Hunter Jumper classes.

“I love showing. It’s my favorite thing in the world,” said 16-year-old Lexy Schwarzwalder.

“I want to become a professional rider,” said 17-year-old Lisa Kirk. “I want to hopefully get into the Olympics.”

In addition to offering lessons, Trillion Equestrian is a boarding facility for horse owners.

“You have to be able to take care of him,” said 17-year-old Dayna McDonald. “You have to be here. If he gets hurt you have to know what to do. You have to be able to feed and water and groom him really nice.”

“Horses have to be exercised,” said Janke. “So five to six days per week the girls are here to exercise their horse. Every horse has at least one day off. So the girls have to spend a tremendous amount of time here. For the girls that are owners, you’ll see a maturity level that helps them grow up a little bit more, be a little more responsible.”

Although owning a horse is a lot of work, all the horse owners at Trillion Equestrian agree it’s worth it.

“I just love the bond between horse and rider,” said McDonal. “It’s an unconditional love. They’ll always love you no matter what.”

“It’s like your best friend that you can talk to even if they don’t talk back,” said Schwarzwalder. “They just understand things so much better than anybody else.”

“It’s the love of the animal that you can’t get back from anything else, because they need you as much as you need them,” said Janke. “They do know you smell, they know your voice and they look forward to your treats.”

Trillion Equestrian sits on 20-acres of land. The original barn was built in the 1950’s, and the current barn back in the 1970’s.

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