**** Highly Recommended **** Growing up, like many other tweens and teens, I was horse-mad. I read every book about horses I could get my hands on, and I think I saw every movie about horses ever made. Ever since I saw Disney’s 1963 movie, “The Miracle of the White Stallions”, I’ve wanted to see the Tempel Lipizzans, so I was thrilled when I got an invitation to a performance. Don’t expect anything flashy or splashy, just beautiful well-trained white horses doing what they do best. 4 BIG Spotlights
In honor of the Tempel Lipizzans 60th anniversary, horses and riders from Chile-based Escuela Clásica Lipizzana, Latin America’s first and only Lipizzan herd, have arrived at Tempel Farm. Throughout the month of July, the “Lipizzans of the Americas” will present equestrian dressage performances together as part of the Tempel Lipizzans regular summer performance season. Escuela Clásica Lipizzana will also appear at the Tempel Lipizzans’ 60th Anniversary Gala Celebration on Saturday, July 21.
My friend Nancy and I really enjoyed our trip to Tempel Farm in not-so-nearby Old Mill Creek, Illinois. Since you’ll exit I-294 at Grand Avenue in Gurnee and go west past the Gurnee Mills Shopping Center, you might want to include shopping in your plans.
Tempel Farm has plenty of free parking. Bleachers at either end of the arena provide most of the seating with handicapped seating along one side. Some of the seats are in the sun during the performance, so you might want to bring a hat and/or sunblock. I would also suggest bug spray as the mosquitos were definitely biting.
If you’re hungry, there’s a café tent. The menu included hamburgers and cheeseburgers hot off the grill, as well as pulled pork, grilled chicken sandwiches and chips. Salads, fruit cups and frozen treats are also on sale, all reasonably priced. My burger, chips and Pepsi totaled up at around $8.00.
The performance included several different segments, all with music and narration.
• Mares and Foals: according to the narration, Lipizzans are born brown or black, turning white as they get older. These foals were black, brown, dark gray, and a silvery gray.
• The Carriage Tradition: a pair of Lipizzans pulled a carriage around the arena.
• Young Stallions: these horses are in training, so they might not always follow orders. One decided to get out of line and dance a bit, but he got back in line pretty quickly. Surprisingly, one of the young stallions was brown. According to the narration, 1 in 400 Lipizzans stays brown, which is considered to be good luck.
• All Steps and Movements of the Classical School: a single horse and rider demonstrated the steps of classical dressage.
• Pas de Trois – An Education in Classical Tradition: a trio of horses are learning to work together.
• Work in Hand and the Airs Above the Ground: a trainer fast-walked with the horse on a short rein while the horse completed specific movements to demonstrate strength.
o The Levade – the horse sitting deeply and well balanced on his haunches maintaining an angle of 45 degrees or less to the ground.
o The Courbette – the horse makes several forward jumps on his hind legs.
o The Capriole – the horse kicks out dramatically with his hind legs while making a difficult leap into the air.
• On the Long Rein: the trainer guides the horse from the ground with two lines and a ship, requiring concentration and trust between horse and trainer.
• The Quadrille: four horses perform “The Ballet of the White Stallions”, an intricate, synchronized choreography of classical movements with precision and ease.
The informative program includes names for all the horses and foals as well as the rider/trainers: Ted Goad, Raul Roz Vodillo, Linda Leffingwell, Marcus Hjalmas, Chelyn Firenz, Nadalyn Firenz, Larissa Holmes, Daniella Hjamas, Laura Ledford and Alex McMillan. Bill Clements is the Consulting Trainer. Carriage Driver/Trainer – Arturo Novoa.
The Tempel Lipizzans perform at Tempel Farms, 17000 Wadsworth Rd, Old Mill Creek, Illinois through September. Normal running time is one hour, 25 minutes, with an intermission. Performances are on select Wednesdays and Sundays at 1:00 pm (doors open at 11:30) and Saturdays at 6:00 pm (doors open at 4:30). In case of inclement weather, performances will be indoors. Every performance is followed by a self-guided tour through the stables where trainers and riders are on hand to answer questions. Several stallions will have their doors open for a “meet & greet”.
Advance tickets start at $27 with discounts for children under 15, active military personnel and veterans. FYI (847) 244-5330 or www.tempelfarms.com.