Lipizzan horses are stunningly gorgeous, and a weekend trip to Tempel Farms has long been on our bucket list of close getaways. We're hoping this will be the year we check them out in person so we can bring you an in depth review and photo filled recap. In the mean time, here is their performance schedule for summer 2014 and all the details so you can plan a family visit and experience these rare and majestic dancing horses yourselves.
*Approx Distance: 50-minute drive from Chicago or Milwaukee, near Great America.
Best known for seemingly gravity-defying leaps that have prompted many to describe their breed as the equine equivalent to Mikhail Baryshnikov, the Tempel Lipizzans perform their internationally-acclaimed “Ballet of the White Stallions” all summer. Performances are scheduled for 6 - 8 p.m. on select Saturday evenings, and 1 - 3 p.m. on select Sundays and Wednesdays, through Sep. 13. All shows take place at Tempel Farms in rural Old Mill Creek, Ill., where the rare Lipizzan horses are bred, trained and perform.
Set to classical music, Tempel Lipizzan performances follow the horses’ training from the basic movements of the youngest stallions, through “high school” dressage – rhythmic, choreographed dance steps on the ground – and the dramatic Pegasus-like “Airs Above the Ground” for which the breed is famed. Lipizzans are one of very few breeds that possess the combination of physical power, athleticism and suppleness to perform these airborne moves.
An early breed established in Europe many centuries ago, these powerful horses were originally trained for medieval battle maneuvers for royal armies. Their graceful moves were refined to a form of entertainment during the late Renaissance in the royal courts of Europe. Today, two places in the world are most closely associated with classical Lipizzan performance, the famed Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, and Tempel Farms in Chicago’s far north suburbs. Here, the dancing stallions continue to entertain and delight audiences ranging from local horse lovers and history buffs, to urban families seeking a countryside getaway, and international tourists.
Following each performance, guests are invited to enjoy a self-guided tour through the stallion stable, visit the yearlings in the pasture, and ask questions of Tempel Lipizzan rider-trainers. Tempel Farms’ outdoor café opens for lunch at 11:30 a.m. on performance Sundays and Wednesdays, and at 4:30 p.m. on performance Saturdays for dinner and drinks.
Tempel Farms is located in northern Lake County, Ill., a 50-minute drive from Chicago or Milwaukee, near Great America. Remaining Saturday evening performances are scheduled for July 19, August 16 and September 13. Matinee shows will be held on July 13, July 23, July 27, Aug. 3, Aug. 6, Aug. 10, Aug. 20, Aug. 24, Sep. 3 and Sep. 7. Tickets purchased in advance are $25 for adults, $20 for active military and veterans, and $15 for children under the age of 15. Tickets purchased at the gate are $30 for adults and $20 for children and active military/veterans.
In case of inclement weather, performances are held indoors. Parking is free. To purchase tickets online or for more information, visit www.tempelfarms.com or call (847) 623-7272.
The Tempel Lipizzans began in 1958 when the late Tempel and Esther Smith imported 20 Lipizzans from the Austrian stud farm in Piber and started what became the largest privately owned herd of Lipizzans in the world. Their prestigious appearances include several Presidential Inaugurals and special exhibitions at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Taste of Chicago, Ravinia Festival, Arlington Racecourse and Madison Square Garden. In 1997, the President of Austria presented the Smith family with the Officer’s cross, Grand Declaration of Honour for Service to the Republic of Austria, in recognition of their “careful management of a cultural institution with such close ties to Austria.” Tempel Farms is the only place in the United States where these rare white horses are bred, trained and perform on the same property.