How Lipizzans made their way from Europe to Chicago’s North Side

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CHICAGO — Lipizzans are some of the most beautiful horses in the world, but how did they become ensconced on Chicago’s North Shore?

This breed survived generations of warfare through Europe. Then a husband and wife brought the horses to America to preserve — not just a breed — but a way of life from centuries ago.

War machines would go on to replace horses on the battlefield and, even on the farm, horses are no longer essential for survival.

But Lipizzans are more than horses to many — they are symbols of the relationship between horse and human. Aristocrats and rulers prize them for their carriages and parades.

When grandparents Temple and Esther Smith visited Austria in the 1950s they decided to bring 20 of these horses back to America.

The Lipizzans would travel by ship from Germany to New York Harbor in 1958. At that time, the European art of classical dressage is not well known in the United States.

The Smiths purchased property from Lake Forest, Ill., to the Wisconsin border for their own breeding and training program.

In 1982, the Smith family opened its doors to let the public see this rare form of art.

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