The Tempel Farms Years

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

George Williams

George was 26 when he went to work at Tempel Farms and he remained there for nearly 20 years moving up from sales rider to program director in 1987, a position he held until May 2000. “You have to remember that my first introduction to Lipizzans was in 1964,” explains George referring to the performance in Boston he witnessed as a nine-year-old. “Egon von Neindorff used them as school horses and Major Carmona had a large Lipizzan mare by the name of Capriola. Lipizzans had become a part of my life; I had come to love their beauty, strength and grace.”

When people think Tempel Farms, they think Lipizzans. However, in truth, George not only trained and rode the farms’ famous Lipizzans – both stallions and mares – but he also spent much of his time training Warmbloods, and Warmblood stallions in particular, a good many of which achieved much success in competitive dressage. George used his many years at Tempel Farms to develop both his own riding and training and to expose the general public to the world of dressage. To that end, he created a number of programs at Tempel, including hosting the AHSA (now USEF) Judges Forums, USET Developing clinics, Dressage at Tempel Farms and the AHSA Central States Championships. He was also the dressage organizer for the North American Young Riders Championships and instituted the dressage training center at Tempel which consisted of stabling for 32 boarded horses.

"By 1987 when I first took over the program, I had a strong belief in what Tempel Smith had started in 1958. I didn't want to see it disappear. It was a living museum that could bring classical horsemanship to the general population. Through public performances we could educate and promote dressage as an art form as it had been for centuries at various riding academies in Europe. It was an exciting time for me because not only could we do all that but we also had the possibility to combine it with modern day dressage. We started the training center for outside horses and quickly became involved in other activities such as hosting clinics and dressage shows. I felt we could have the best of both worlds – old world traditions that helped me better understand the roots of our sport and the challenges of competitive riding that forced me to continually hone my skills – and we did!” The hard work found fruition under George’s watch when the Austrian government formally recognized Tempel Farms for its excellence in preserving the Lipizzan breed and the principles of classical dressage.

As Director, George was in charge of all the training at Tempel, the breeding and driving operations and the training and boarding center for non-Lipizzans. He also became a successful Young Rider coach and several of his students earned medals at the NAYRC as well as their USDF medals. He was also responsible for heading all of the farm’s Lipizzan performances, which included a number of notable performances, such as Madison Square Garden, the Presidential Inaugural Parade in 1981 and the Chicago Symphony in Grant Park.

As a competitor, George's highlights during his Tempel years include winning several Regional and National Championships with USA Equestrian and USDF. He was the AHSA Central States Grand Prix Champion on the Trakhener stallion, Unkenruf; the Intermediaire I Champion on the Lipizzan stallion Conversano II Belvedera; USDF Region 2 Prix St. Georges Champion and Intermediaire I Freestyle Champion in 1989 aboard Donavan, a Hanoverian stallion; and Fourth Level Region 2 Champion on Zoice, an Oldenburg.

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