During a refreshing break from the high tension of the high performance season devoted to the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games, Aachen, the PhelpsPhoto Tour moved to the Midwest, for Dressage at Lamplight, May 26-28, a heartening visit with a hearty welcome from the friendly Midwestern dressage crowd.
The friendly easygoing atmosphere, with picturesque surroundings provided the perfect backdrop for three days of dressage action, with quality management, judging, shopping and food, making for a fun family weekend. The Lamplight Café provides an exquisite menu from crepes, blintzes, and quiche for breakfast, to wraps, homemade tuna and seafood salad, and croissant sandwiches for lunch. Spectators can enjoy ample seating under umbrellas in the courtyard in front of the Café for a first class view of the main arena.
Judging in Style and Comfort
The judge’s stands are an architectural delight, where not only are the judges encased in a roomy miniature doll house like building, but all are provided comfy swivel office chairs where they work in comfort. “This has got to be one of the most beautiful facilities in the country.” acknowledged Dressage judge Sarah Geike. “I was here several years ago, and it is truly amazing to see all the beautiful improvements and work that has gone into this property.”
Sharing judges’ duties with Geike for the weekend were Jane Weatherwax ‘S’, Canadian Lorraine McDonald “S’, Betsy Gosling ‘R’, and Gary Rockwell, who had just learned of his appointment by the FEI for his O judging status.
Word was beginning to circulate on Rockwell’s appointment, which will become official later this year. “It’s a miracle.” said a humble Rockwell, who knew he was being watched closely during several European shows he judged this past winter. Anne Gribbons was also granted ‘O’ status along with Rockwell, and the two shared a joyous phone call the previous week.
The United States now has two new O judges in addition to Linda Zang and Axel Steiner, who have both judged an Olympic Games. Lamplight was Rockwell’s first show since the news began to leak, and both Geike and McDonald heard the news over lunch.
Betsy Gosling, who recently moved into her FEMA trailer in Metairie, Louisiana has been displaced all winter, making the most of her Hurricane Katrina status, first by hanging in South Florida for the winter, then setting her sights on more judging work “I have accepted as many judges jobs as I can while I wait for the slow process of repairing my town home.” Gosling said during a break in classes. “It’s actually working out quite well, and I am kind of enjoying a break from the responsibly of taking care of my horses.”
A Happy Show Office
In the beautiful show office, a centrally located building to all the activity, Lloyd Landkamer and his staff, Carrie Schwartz, Debbie Landon and Peggy Warren run the five ring three day event like clockwork with a friendly cordial relaxed atmosphere appreciated by the owners and competitors alike.
TD Loretta Berg has worked with Landkamer for several years and agrees there is a synergy which makes working with his company a pleasure and fun. “We just all know what needs to be done, and we do it.” said Berg, taking time from her own insurance company to fly wherever she is needed.
Landkamer’s show management business has evolved over the years into an efficient service, where his computer and networking skills help provide a smooth operation, giving added perks to competitors which include a computer screen where they can view their scores, from each judge. “Lamplight has been a breath of fresh air after a busy spring.” said Landkamer who is very active in the USDF. “Everyone here is so relaxed and friendly, and they make you feel appreciated, and that can translate into a better show. A happy show office makes for happy competitors and judges, and there is definitely the feeling of family here at Lamplight.” Added to the family spirit is also Medic Thom Brude who also doubles as chauffeur providing transport service for the judges from nearby Chicago O’Hare airport, and announcer Ken Henryson who keeps things moving, and says “Thank you” to each rider at the end of their ride.
How it All Began
The property has been a labor of love since 1990 when Tom Moxley and Stephen Cooper created a partnership to develop the property once part of a neighborhood equestrian center. Moxley, a horseman whose heart is in eventing called on Cooper, an attorney to help with zoning issues which were challenging the future of the facility. Both shared a vision for the future; a top quality facility, beautifully landscaped and efficiently managed which would not only add value to the community, but also to the 55 acres of property which at the time was in desperate need of attention.
Stephen Cooper, while not a horseperson, has a passion for landscape design, and is personally involved with planting the thousands of flowers and greenery throughout the property. He often begins his day at 4AM planting until it's time to clean up and go to work. “He does it to relieve the stress of a busy law practice.” said Cooper’s fiancé, Kris Allen, who rides the beautiful black Trakehner, Tannehauser (by Enrico Caruso). Allen has boarded at Lamplight for many years, before Cooper got involved with the property, and lucky for Dressage in Illinois they are now engaged. “I practically have this entire place to myself in between shows.” said Allen, who also shares the property with her trainers Kim and Yvonne Barteau. Lamplight is the training center for the Barteau family, who has a large contingent of super quality horses in training, reflected in the high scores throughout the weekend.
Lamplight to Host 2007 Eventing Championships and more...
An international level cross country course is across the street in a beautiful park which is a nature preserve. Olympian Karen O’Connor who recently did a clinic at Lamplight loved the facility so much she championed for the 2007 Eventing Championships which will be held there next year.
The layout is competitor friendly with 5 arenas all in view from one vantage point, and a large warm up arena. With ample stabling, Lamplight recently purchased more tents to accommodate the 1000+ horses coming in for a Hunter Jumper Show series.
We are looking forward to retuning to Lamplight for two more dressage shows in 2006, August 25-27, and September 23-25.Lamplight has also added the Autumn Classic Dressage Championships to their season, to be held October 7-8, presenting prize money and Autumn Classic perpetual Trophies to Lamplight Champions by averaging two tests from two shows of the Lamplight Dressage Season.