August 30, 2021

Lamplight: Part 1

We are home safely after a fantastic weekend at Lamplight!

Home sweet home

Everything went smoothly, Connor was great, and I got to see sooooooooo many friends and family because my mom grew up in the northwest suburbs, so a bunch of people I love live right there.

I'll recap the rides in the coming days (which were good!), but let's start with Lamplight itself. Of course I knew of it - believe it or not, my mom and my Aunt Dawn used to trail ride there from their lesson stable in the 70s! But it's one of the few remaining venues within ~5 hours of me that I hadn't yet shown at.

First impression? I texted my husband "I don't make enough money to breathe the air here," lol.

It's just nice. Every part of it is nice. Nice in a way that even the Kentucky Horse Park isn't.

The mythical full bar in show stabling, not yet open at 10am when this picture was taken.

And it better be for the price! This was far and away the most expensive show I entered this year. $300 for a weekend of stabling and another $300 for a tack stall, that I refused to get this time because I just couldn't bear the idea of parting with that kind of money for a tack stall, lol.

We got along just fine without it (mine is on the right)

My only and biggest facilities complaint is that these stalls only have outlets on one side of the aisle, (with two aisles in each barn) and the stall fronts are too short to just directly run the extension cord over, so all of us in the stalls in the middle had to plug in, then somehow get our cords over the beams 15 feet in the air. You could've made a slapstick comedy over the sight of me trying to get that damn cord over. Thankfully none of the very nice horses around us spooked.

First time at a show with Lauren Sprieser

That's another thing about Lamplight - the horse quality. Because this open show I was in was run concurrently with Festival of Champions, some of the nicest Dressage horses in the country were here. Everywhere you looked, it was imported Warmbloods with pretentious names. And for the first time in I think my entire show career, not one stranger said "Cute pony!" or anything like that to me the entire weekend. 

I got to show with my college suitemate and former IHSA teammate!

I mean, I don't need validation for my horse choice from others, but I did notice the conspicuous lack of attention for my little buddy, and when taken into consideration with the horses, the names, the facility, the cliquish groups, the stressed-looking riders, and the pinkie out piano music floating over it all, it made me feel like maybe the top Dressage riders take things too seriously. Lighten up! Live a little! We're not curing cancer here!

I wouldn't trade this for all the 80%s in the world anyway.

But I definitely enjoyed it and want to go back. My aunt and uncle live 8 minutes from Lamplight, and staying with them meant we could do things like leave the showgrounds for an hour to take a quick dip in their pool and then come back. It also certainly made the weekend a lot more affordable. And it meant I got to see my entire extended family on my mom's side! 

This is about half of my Chicagoland family, lol. The other half met us for dinner but couldn't come to the show.

I'm already looking forward to doing this again next year!


  1. Ah yes; we have a facility like that actually very close to me, although it hasn't hosted anything like the Festival of Champions (I did get to watch Debbie McDonald and Brentina do their R-E-S-P-E-C-T musical freestyle there, though!); my header photo was taken there. Like you, I have mostly shown 'non-traditional' breeds and like that just fine; the Swedish warmblood I owned was not nearly as fun. And that photo of Connor in your lap is priceless!

  2. Glad to hear HITS hasn't ruined Lamplight (yet). Wish they could say the same for my favorite VT show!
    Sorry, HITS bashing aside, glad you go had a great show and got to see your family! Can't wait to read the rest!

  3. How cool!! I always wanted to show there but couldn't quite afford it on my college budget.

  4. That venue looks amazing! So nice to have all that support from family at a show too. 'Lighten up, we're not curing cancer here'...can I have that printed on a tee shirt to wear around showgrounds LOL

  5. Beautiful facility! and $300 for a stall, that's some hunter/jumper prices right there lol