Our Visit to Tempel Farms in Old Mill Creek

Lipizzan horses. The horses utilized by royalty, presidents and battalion generals in times of war. TDSC_0704hese horses were protectors of empires.

These proud, superior and elegant horses are legendary vessels compared to Greek mythology’s Pegasus, without the wings. However, these muscular horses can fly. Aviators of the earth.

The trusty steeds are veterans of notable wars that include the Napoleonic Wars in the 1700s, World War I and II. Avid horseman General George Patton provided protection for the Lipizzan horses in World War II.

Tempel Farms in Old Mill Creek display these majestic beings for Lake County visitors and residents, as well as breed them.

This Lake County farm opened in 1958 when Tempel and Esther Smith imported 20 of the Lipizzans from Piber Austria and made the Old Mill Creek Farm venue of the most privately-owned herd of these horses on the globe.

DSC_0684These prestigious horses have been participants in Presidential Inaugurals, exhibitions at the White House, U.S. Capitol, the Taste of Chicago, Ravinia, Arlington Racecourse and Madison Square Garden.

The daughters of the Smiths, in honor of their parent’s dream, organized the first public performances on the Tempel Farms that followed the tradition of Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

In 1997, the President of Austria presented the Smith family with the Officer’s cross, Grand Declaration of Honor 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.

On our visit to Tempel Farms in Old Mill Creek, Anthony and I learned the steps and DSC_0656movements of the horse and also got had a  meet and greet with the Mares and Foals (mother and children). Tempel Lipizzans Program Director Ester Buonanno guided us throughout the entire process. Get an interactive view of how Buonanno and the Lipizzans work their magic by Continuing here

The performance consisted of three segments. The first segment featured two horses proudly marching in the same step perfectly executing movements in unison with the other. It’s almost if the two had chemistry with its partner.

The second segment was eye opening to say the least. We watched these elegant horses that were somewhat in training and practicing as well as accomplishing the levade, the courbette and the capriole. The leade is when the Lipizzan is balancing on its hind legs at a 45 degree angle to the ground. The courbette displays their power as the Lipizzan makes several hops on its hind legs. The capriole exhibits the majesty of the horse as it soars through the air, kicking their legs aggressively and energetically in  move you have to see to believe.

DSC_0725Finally we witnessed the high-intelligence of the stallion as they portrayed the quadrille. This segment consists of four horses, otherwise known as the “Ballet of the White Stallions.” The precision of this intricate movement of the stallion’s choreography is site to be seen.

Witness the horses for yourself as they begin their performances this weekend: June 14. So what’re you doing this weekend in Lake County? Observing the Tempel Lipizzans! Check our Webisode involving these beautiful horses below!

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