S.T.A.R.S. (Specialized Training And Riding School) of Horsemanship was founded by Danya Wright after budget cuts forced the closure of an ASU Riding and Research Program she had been employed by for several years.  She worked in all aspects of the program, including not only riding lessons, but also behavioral therapy with horses, group therapy with at-risk youth, physical therapy with licensed PT and OT instructors, team building with corporate clients, coaching an outside show team, coaching Special Olympics team riders, developing all curriculum including handbooks for every level, developing lesson planning & tracking reports, mobile programs to homeless shelters, boarding schools, institutional facilities, and stable management duties as well.   

Prior to working at ASU, Danya was an instructor for many years at one of the Arizona's largest riding schools where she taught the City of Scottsdale's Parks & Recreation Horseback Riding Program, plus upwards of 50 students each week in both English and Western riding skills.  She taught camps, girl scouts, birthday parties, and more. 

 

In addition to her professional experience, Danya has received a degree in Equine Science, certification by the rigorous American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA), the Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association (EAGALA), is a registered Special Olympics Equestrian Head Coach pursuing North American Riding for the Handicap Association (NARHA) certification and is always current on CPR/First Aid certification.

 

Danya has over 35 years experience with horses, having gotten her first pony at age six.  She learned her initial skills in Arizona's 4H programs with the first true love of her life, Shawnee, an Arabian/Mustang mare she grew up with and loved so dearly through her childhood.  RIP SHAWNEE!!!  From 4H she grew to love gymkhanas and showing and did that on a local level through her teen years.  After high school she began working for some of the valley's premiere Arabian horse trainers and assisted in all aspects of their facilities, including working with the younger horses, halter horses and performance horses.  Her later years gleaned training and showing experience with Quarter Horses, Paints & Appaloosas too.  After college, she was barn manager for a few facilities in the valley from a small 5 horse program to a large 25-30 horse program with over 50 livestock too.  She discovered her passion teaching lessons over 10 years ago and has been in love with her job ever since.

All instructors at S.T.A.R.S. follow Danya's teaching program and philosophies and work hard to make our barn a place where everyone feels excited to be there and knows they can learn all they ever wanted to know about horsemanship.