In this business of equestrian events with the large number of shows, and series of shows to handle the large number of horses in competition, sometimes the magic of the experience, the venue, the hospitality, and intimacy has fallen to the wayside. Last week at the Lamplight Equestrian Center I was reminded of what made so many of the shows I have made that special effort to attend throughout the 35 years in my career special. What has become the home of the Young Horse, and Developing Horse Championships in the USA, Lamplight Equestrian Center, in Wayne, Illinois did what they always do to make this event a venue worthy of an important event, and then added more touches. In addition to the beautiful landscaped grounds, surrounded by the well-planned architecture of the judges’ buildings, barns, viewing areas, a restaurant with a magnificent hanging chandelier, was the warm hospitality of Lamplight’s hosts Stephen and Kris Cooper, and Tom Moxley. The owners of Lamplight provided a welcome party for competitors after the Horse Inspection on Wednesday evening.
The new perpetual trophies they created were on display at an elegant competitors’ party held at a nearby equestrian club. I think they even had something to do with the perfect weather that graced the entire week of competition where we saw some of America’s finest Dressage talent. Most importantly, the layout and thought which went into developing this venue provided not only a beautiful backdrop for the weeks competition, but a safe one where young horses still dealing with young horse issues and distractions could perform at their best.
Centrally located in the USA Lamplight is surrounded by charming historic towns, shopping, restaurants, and multiple options for hotel accommodations. Just a short drive for Chicago, O’Hare this event has also created a central location to horse shop. We saw a lot of that going on last week. Even horses not for sale were having offers made on them, and I see this as a growing trend and another reason why investing in this program is not only good for the correct development of some super equine talent, but a central place we can bring people from across the USA and Europe on a special week to see and select from America’s Dressage talent at its best.
Thank you Steve, Kris and Tom for the red carpet treatment. I am already looking forward to next year!