Fans of the art of dressage will delight in planning a day trip to Tempel Farms.

Tempel Farms, in Old Mill Creek, Illinois, stars the Tempel Lipizzans in classical performances which showcase the elegance and beauty of the royal breed of horses. Visitors can also take a tour of the stables and learn about how the Lipizzans are trained.

Performances and tours continue through Sept. 10 at Tempel Farms.

"This is our 35th public season," said Esther Buonanno, program director for Tempel Farms. Buonanno said this year also marks the 60th year since the Lipizzans first came to the area from Europe.

"In essence, this is a living history museum (for visitors). They can see, feel and smell (this history) all in one place," Buonanno said.

At Tempel Farms, horse performances are akin to taking a step back in time to a royal period. Audience members at the shows sit outdoors and watch while the horses perform to classical music. Among performances are the "Airs Above the Ground," "The Courbette," "The Capriole," "Quadrille: Ballet of the White Stallions" and more. The outdoor arena overlooks sprawling green lawns and a farm.

The Lipizzan breed, which dates back more than 400 years, is the oldest European breed.

"There's something that happens to (spectators) when they're meeting a Lipizzan or watching the elegance of a performance," Buonanno said. "It takes you to a different place."

She said the sport of dressage and the exquisite performances by the horses is really quite "an art form."

After every show, visitors can tour the stables to learn about the horses and see them in a casual environment. Trainers and other farm personnel are on hand to answer any questions.

The Lipizzan training program showcased at Tempel Farms is modeled after The Spanish Riding School’s program in Vienna, Austria.

FYI: Lippizan performances at Tempel Farms continue through Sept. 10. Times are 1 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 20, 27 and Sept. 3 and 10; 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Aug. 16, 23 and 30 and Sept. 6. Tempel Farms is at 17000 W. Wadsworth Road, Old Mill Creek, Illinois, which is not far from Gurnee, Illinois. For more information and prices, call 847-244-5330 or visit tempelfarms.com.

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