The Lipizzan Stud Farm in Illinois
The famous white Lipizzan stallions are a precious heritage from the Habsburg monarchy. They owe their name to the small village of Lipica, today located in Slovenia. Archduke Charles II founded a stud farm as early as 1580, with the purpose of breeding suitable horses for the Habsburg Court. The best Spanish, Berber, and Arab stallions were crossbred with indigenous horses, bringing forth the well-known white Lipizzans. Thus the Lipizzans have been bred continuously for more than 400 years, making it the oldest domesticated horse breed in Europe. The Lipizzans perform
the High Art of Riding at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna as they have done for centuries. In previous times, these classic steps and jumps had a military purpose on the battlefields of Europe. Today, they are the highest form of accomplished horsemanship, a “ballet of white horses”. During World War Two, the Lipizzan stallions were evacuated to the territory of today's Czech Republic. With the advance of the Soviet army shortly before the end of World War II in 1945, the danger arose that the herd could be killed and destroyed.

American soldiers under General Patton rescued the horses from the frontline in a mission kept secret, thereby ensuring the continuation of the breed. After the State Treaty of 1955, which ended the allied presence in Austria, the horses were returned to Vienna and to the national stud farm in Piber, Province of Styria. The Tempel Lipizzans in Illinois had their beginning in 1958 when the late Tempel and Esther Smith imported twenty Lipizzans from Piber. Mr. and Mrs. Smith had gotten to know and love the breed during a trip to Europe in the early 1950s. With the horses from Austria, and later imports from Italy and Yugoslavia, they laid the foundations for the largest privately owned herd of Lipizzans in the world. The Lipizzan stallions first became popular in the United States doing private performances. Since then, the white stallions have presented the High Art of Riding at numerous events throughout the United States, including several Presidential Inaugurals, and special exhibitions at the White House in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Capitol. They were also admired at the Taste of Chicago, Ravinia Festival, and Arlington Race Course. Since 1982, visitors can watch their public performances at Tempel Farms in Wadsworth, Illinois. Tempel Farms is the only place in the United States where these rare white horses are bred and trained to perform.