• Our Lesson Horses Organize Their Election

    0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

    Remember last Thursday when you were enjoying Thanksgiving with your family and friends? You know, when you chilled out with yummy food, a Packer win, and thoughts of gratitude?

    We bet you thought the lesson horses were chilling out in the pasture or in their stalls, munching and napping on their day off.

    They were not.

    This school horse of the year election has become very important to them, so while you were chilling at home, they were holding debates and primary elections. It seems our horses have become organized, so look out world.

    Here, in alphabetical order, are the winners of the primaries, and the parties they represent:



    Fred is running for school horse of the year, and is the candidate representing the Energy Conservation Party.

    Known to be the best napper in the barn, Fred truly enjoys his ‘last stall on the left,’ which is also a deluxe stall and a half.  This extra space allows him to snore while spread out, and absolutely nothing wakes him up, even cats crawling around him.

    Fred exhibits the same aura in the arena, and can be trusted on all occasions, once you get him going.

    He’s a true gem, having taught many, many riders diagonals, posting, and relaxation.

    Did you know he likes accordion music?

    Anyway, he was nominated by Beau, whose legal name is Beaucoup Revival for all pertinent documents.

    Beau is the chairman of the Energy Conservation Party for obvious reasons.

    Says Beau, “A vote for Fred is a vote for just slowing down.’



    Jelly is running for school horse of the year representing the Blonde Surfer Dude Party.

    Known for his laid back attitude, Jelly is always up for a lesson or two. We’ve never seen him upset, even when his dinner might be a little late. Jelly loves everyone, from tiny tots to ‘grown ups,’ and just takes things as they come.

    Photo by Hanna Agathen

    Jelly is a true surfer dude in the arena, staying chilled out even in the busy Saturday arena, and see’s the show horses not as scary, but as exotic creatures to meet.

    Jelly loves Knollwood shows, and is quite photogenic. Yup, he’s a favorite of photo shoots, and even played the role of Easter Bunny for photos this Spring.


    Jelly was nominated by fellow dude Bilbo, leader of the Surfer Dude Party.

    Mac is an honorary member of the party, and continues to practice their mantra of ‘Stay cool,’

    Bilbo says,’ A vote for Jelly is a vote for chilled out dudes everywhere.’



    Leon is a candidate for the election representing the Kindness Movement.

    Known for his big brown eyes and cloud-like canter, Leon has never met a soul he couldn’t get along with. Known in  the Saddlebred Association’s registry as Keep the Change, Sir, Leon is the diplomat of the lesson horses. A gentleman in the arena, he’s taught countless Knollwood Kids the joys of cantering, and or riding a really nice Saddlebred.

    Leon loves traveling, especially to academy shows. He’s so kind that he’s even worked for other barns when they found themselves short a horse.

    This grand soul was nominated by the Kindness Movement’s chairman Sparky, who also happens to be the 2020 School Horse of the Year winner.

    Sparky says, ‘A vote for dear sweet Leon is a vote for treating everyone with kindness,’




    Pumpkin is running for school horse of the year representing the Master of All Trades Party.

    A relative newcomer to the Knollwood faculty, with four years of teaching on his resume at a place where some horses have 20+ years of experience, Pumpkin has quickly become a favorite of all.

    Pumpkin joined us from his last job in Kentucky where he was trained in dressage. Being the brilliant fellow that he is, he quickly learned the ways of a saddleseat lesson horse, and is excelling with his new teammates.

    Pumpkin is now teaching everyone from tiny Tots to grown ups, and even traveled to his first academy show this season.

    Pumpkin loves being a lesson horse, and is willing to learn anything. He likes Knollwood shows, camps, pattern camps, lunge lessons, and just hanging out with his peeps.

    Nominated by party chair Hugo, who could have joined many, many parties, Pumpkin is a master of all trades.

    Hugo says, ‘A vote for Pumpkin is a vote for master teachers everywhere.’




    Thomas is a candidate for school horse of the year representing the Academy Superstar Party.

    Known in the Saddlebred registry as Fort Chiswell’s Aristocrat, Thomas is one of the most important teachers on our academy team.

    Photo by Hanna Agathen

    Known for his smooth gaits and light mouth, Thomas has become a master of introducing new stars to the show ring. In fact, he traveled to 10 academy shows this season, the most of any of our faculty members.

    Thomas is willing to do any pattern at any time, even though he can’t find the way to his own stall in the morning.

    Thomas was nominated by legendary Baxter, officially known as A Champagne Toast, Knollwood’s Lesson Horse of the Year in 2021.

    Baxter says, ‘A vote for Thomas is a vote for future show riders everywhere.’



    The election winner will be announced to the 2023 banquet on February 24 at Merrill Hills.

    Be sure to join or renew your Knockout membership during December to receive your ballot.




    What’s Coming Up?

    Going on Now Through December 31

    The Knollwood Sale!

    From now through December 31, you can purchase lessons for 10% off when you purchase using promo code HOLIDAY2024.

    You can purchase in-person or online, and the promo code must be used to receive your discount.

    Instructors and admins are always happy to help you give the best gift of all!



    Enrollment meetings

    Academy show riders will meet with their instructors during the month to set up 2024 enrollments and schedules.

    If you’re not currently a show rider and would like to add a show or two, or would like to include your Knollwood shows or camp into your monthly payment, please talk to your instructor or admin who can get in touch with a senior instructor to help you out.


    December 1

    Last day for stirrup orders!

    Please contact Ann who will order the perfect length and size for your rider.


    December 1

    Polls Open!

    The School Horse of the Year election begins in the school barn lounge. Simply pay your dues to receive a ballot for the big election.

    Vote for your favorite candidate, whatever the reason!



    December 2

    Academy Demo Night

    Sign up in the school barn lounge to learn more about our academy program. It’s a continuation of our meeting in November, and it’s your chance to see a few of our academy stars fully dressed in their show attire. Experienced academy parents will be on hand as well to answer questions.




    December 9

    Knockout Holiday Party

    All Knockouts are invited to join their friends for the annual holiday gala.

    After a team scavenger hunt that will take Knockouts inside and outside all over the farm, we’ll enjoy pizza and election of 2024 officers and board members.

    Interested in running for office? Please talk to Ann, Thea, or Adrienne for more info.

    We’ll finish the night with an optional gift exchange. If you’d like to participate, please bring a wrapped gift of $25 value.

    Parents are welcomed, and encouraged to join the fun. And, you are welcome to BYOB.


    Holiday Closures

    Team Knollwood is taking off December 24, 25, 31, and January 1.

    We wish you and yours a joyful holiday season!




    January 5

    7-9 PM

    Private Shopping Session with Midwest Saddleseat Consignment

    Join your Knollwood friends for a shopping session for Midwest Saddleseat. It's a great way to start a search for your 2024 show attire, and Jen's customer service can't be beat.


    February 24

    Knockout Award Banquet

    Merrill Hills

    All Knockouts and their families are invited to join our annual celebration of all things Knollwood.

    Dinner, awards, entertaining speeches, more awards, a slide show, and dancing to a DJ, all fit into one evening!

    Invitations will be mailed to all current Knockout members in January.

    Not yet a Knockout? We’d love to have you! Please talk to your instructor or admin to join.

    Please remember, Merrill Hills is a country club, and as such, has a dress code that they enforce.

     No Denim

     Men must wear collared shirts

     Men’s shirts must be tucked in.

    Our banquet is a celebratory occasion for all the hard work these riders put in all year. Let’s celebrate in good style!



    Photo by Hanna Agathen


    See you at the barn!






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  • The Holiday Gift Edition

    0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

    The holiday season is upon us, and we have the perfect gift items for all the Knollwood Kids in your life.



    A Knollwood Knockout Calendar

    The Knockouts have designed a 2024 calendar that features photos and information about the school horses, and all things Knollwood.

    Calendars are only $25 with all proceeds benefiting the Knockouts.

    You can pay for, and order your calendar in the school barn through November 30. The Knockouts are accepting cash or checks made out to the Knollwood Knockouts.





    An Updated Lesson Outfit

    Does the rider in your house keep growing? We have some great ideas to upgrade gear for lessons and Knollwood shows.

    You can get terrific clothing to fulfill your lesson clothing requirement from our friends at Freedman’s.

    Freedman’s products offer great craftsmanship, and their products are tested by professional horsemen during the design process.

    Team Knollwood uses their products daily, and highly recommends them. If you purchase their products, please enter ‘Knollwoodfarmlt’ in the trainer referral code area.


    Their jods are available in both kids and ‘grown up’ sizes.

    Kids sizes are offered in black in both regular and long lengths for $99.

    Misses sizes are available in an array of colors for $129. Camo prints are $149. Lengths range from petite to long.

    We love these jods because they offer 4-way stretch compression fabric for comfort and performance, have silicone knee patches for grip, and offer reinforced tie down buttons.




    Freedman’s boots are also available in either kids or adult sizes.

    All boots feature a rubber sole for stirrup grip and comfort, and are available in black. They’re super comfortable, even when you’re on your feet for hours at shows.

    Kids sizes are $89, and misses sizes are $139.

    Size note, misses sizes are in British sizing, which run a whole size larger than US sizing. It’s recommended that you order one whole size down from your usual size.





    We love the Ovation Deluxe Schooler helmet for all of our academy stars.

    It features exact fitting with the dual adjustment system, has a removable washable liner, and is well ventilated for comfort.

    Plus, it has sleek lines which make it appropriate for the show ring or daily lessons.

    After purchase, please be sure to get your rider's name in the helmet!


    Warm Riding Gloves

    Let’s face it, riding in the winter can be a little chilly, even in the heated arena.

    These kids gloves from Kerrits can take the chill off, they’re only $25 from SmartPak, and they come in two different prints.



    Show Coverage

    Do you have a horse show junkie in your house?

    How about gifting a Richfield Video subscription? For roughly $25 a month, your horse crazy family member can access the archives of horse shows, and can watch many shows live throughout the season.




    How about a subscription to Saddle Horse Report? It’s available in both online and print editions, and offers show coverage, show results, and even posts judge’s cards.



    Saddle Rental

    If you have a growing academy rider in your house, why not gift them their saddle rental? For only $250, your rider will have a wonderful saddle for one year of lessons and shows.

    Please speak to your instructor who can help find the perfect size and model for your rider.

    Friendly reminder that if you’re currently renting a saddle, renewals are due January 1.




    All of our academy riders are required to own their stirrup irons and leathers for a couple of reasons. First of all, owning stirrups saves a lot of time in lessons. You just pop your stirrups onto your rental saddle, and you’re ready to ride.

    Having your own stirrups also ensures that your stirrups are always the correct length, and that they’re even. Plus, it’s a great feeling to own your first bit of horse equipment!

    We’re happy to order your stirrups for you to take the care of the guesswork of leather length and iron size. Please talk to Ann by December 1 to get in on our holiday order from Freedmans.  You can get the best irons and leathers out there for $200.



    The Best Gift Is On Sale!

    Starting November 24, the day after Thanksgiving through December 31, you can purchase any amount of enrollment and get 10% off!

    You can purchase online or in-person. Please use promo code online  HOLIDAY2024 at check out to receive your discount.

    It’s the perfect gift for any Knollwood Kid, and can be purchased in any amount. All purchases will be applied directly to your account.



    What’s Coming Up?

     Happy Thanksgiving

    Thursday, November, 23

    No lessons, all of Team Knollwood will enjoy a day off.



    Parents’ Night Out

    Saturday, November 25

    6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

    We have a few spots left for our evening of fun and service.

    We’ll be wrapping gifts for our adopted families, and enjoying dinner and games.

    We still need a few gifts as well, so please check the sign up sheets on the tackroom door.



    Enrollment Updates

    Month of December

    Academy riders will be meeting with their instructors throughout the month to set up 2024 enrollments.

    If you’re not yet an academy show rider, and would like to include Knollwood shows or camp in your enrollment, please talk to your instructor or admin. We’ll have a senior instructor get in touch for a meeting to build an enrollment just for you.

    All 2024 changes are due December 24.




    Polls Open

    December 1

    You can start voting for School Horse of the Year on December 1! Just pay your 2024 Knockout dues to receive a ballot. We always welcome new members, and would love to have every Knollwood Kid join the fun.

    The polls close December 31!




    Stirrup Orders Due

    December 1

    Be sure to have your stirrup orders to Ann, so we can place the big order for holiday delivery.





    Academy Demo Night

    December 2

    6:00 PM

    We had a spirited parent meeting last weekend about our academy program. Part 2 is our always exciting demo night in the arena.

    New academy parents and riders will get to watch some academy stars demonstrate what it’s all about. We’ll also have experienced academy parents on hand to answer any questions.  We will, as usual, have refreshments for the meeting.

    Please sign up in the school barn so we can prepare food for everyone.




    Knockout Holiday Party

    Saturday, December 9

    6:00 PM

    All Knockouts are asked to join fellow club members for their holiday party and election of officers and board members for 2024.

    We’ll have a scavenger hunt, so please dress warm. The clues will no doubt take you all over the farm!

    After pizza, we’ll elect officers and board members. If you’re planning on running for any office or board, please talk to Thea or Adrienne.

    We’ll finish the night with an optional gift exchange. If you’d like to participate, please bring a wrapped gift valued at $25.

    Parents are welcome to BYOB.




    Holiday Closures

    December 24 and 25

    December 31 and January 1





    Midwest Saddle Seat Consignment

    January 5

    We’ll have a private shopping night on Friday from 7 PM - 9 PM! It's a wonderful opportunity to get set for the season, and Jen's customer service can't be beat.





    Knollwood Knockout Awards Banquet

    February 24

    Merrill Hills

    Save the date!

    Please plan on joining us for our annual celebration of all things Knollwood. We'll enjoy social time and a delicious dinner followed by an evening of awards. We celebrate high point awards for both in-barn and out-of-barn academy riders and hear from club officers. We finish up with a slide show, Scott's entertaining 'state of the farm' address, and dancing the night away.

    Invitations will go out to all members in January. If you're not yet a member, please join as we'd love to have you.

    Just a reminder, country club dress code is enforced at the facility.

    No denim of any kind is allowed.

    Men must wear collared shirts, and all shirts must be tucked in. 

    Please help us make the celebration enjoyable for everyone as we congratulate all the winners and adhere to the dress code.




    See you at the barn!

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  • A Very Royal Recap

    0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

    The 2023 show season ended on a high note for Team Knollwood.

    Last week’s UPHA National Championship American Royal Horse Show was one for the ages. It showcased terrific horses in a beautiful facility with horsemen and horsewomen running the show.

    The Royal is known as a showcase for saddle seat equitation, and Team Knollwood was at the top of the competition.


    Our senior riders were stars.

    Payton is the reserve national champion of the senior UPHA Challenge Cup final, and finished 5th in the USEF Medal Final as well.

    Payton also had the chance to show Eli, her heart horse, in the country pleasure division.  The reunited team finished 8th in both their qualifier and the national championship. Their smiles lit up the arena.


    Richie finished third in the senior Challenge Cup final, and finished 8th in the big medal final. 

    In addition to his equitation skills, Richie also showed Showdown to a 5th in the junior exhibitor 5 gaited national championship, was third in the 3 gaited pony national championship, and 5th in the national championship for 5 gaited ponies. Great thanks to Nancy Kingsbury for the chance to show Showdown, and to Kentucky trainer Clark Clouse for the opportunity to show the great ponies.


    Maiya made a mark in her first year in the senior equitation division. She and Riddle finished 8th out of 24 in the UPHA senior challenge cup final, and were 5th in the senior national championship after finishing 3rd in the qualifier. The future is bright!


     Knollwood’s junior equitation were super strong at the Royal.


    Amelia and Garfield finished third in the junior UPHA Challenge Cup. She and her trusted partner finished 2nd in their equitation qualifier, and were 4th in the junior equitation national championship.

    Brooklyn and Gamora were 7th in the UPHA junior challenge cup final, and finished reserve national champions in the junior national championship after riding to 5th in their qualifier.

    Shaye and Teddy rode to a good 5th in the UPHA junior challenge cup final as a start to the week. Shaye then rode to a 4th in the 13 and under qualifier and came back to win the championship.




    Finn returned to the equitation world showing Jaydee and rode to third in the Adult UPHA Challenge Cup final.

    Of course, she showed her beautiful gaited mare in the Amateur five gaited division, riding to a 5th place in the qualifier. Finn and Jade put on quite a show to finish 7th in the National Championship for Amateur 5 gaited horses.

    Finn’s riding skills are a perfect example of where equitation can take you.


    While equitation gets a lot of attention at the Royal, our performance horses and riders were stars as well.

    Margit and her boys are always a joy to watch, and we don’t think anyone has a better time showing than Margit.

    She and Robert earned a fantastic 3rd place ribbon in their show pleasure qualifier.

    Margit and Charlie trotted and racked their way to a 6th place in their 5 gaited show pleasure qualifier, and turned up the volume even more to earn a 4th place in the national championship.


    Alexa and Joe made their first trip to the Royal, and rode like they owned the place, earning a 6th place in their qualifier, and a big 8th place in their National championship out of a field of 18 teams.

    College girl Tori made the trip to show her beautiful mare Stella and had a ball.  There's no better college break than a week at a horse show, especially when you're studying animal science!


    We could not be more proud of all of the Knollwood horses and riders.

    The show barn is taking a week off of lessons, and will be back at it planning for 2024 next week.


    What’s Coming Up?

    Saturday, November 18 at 6:00 PM

    Parent’s Academy Meeting

    We’re looking forward to meeting with parents interested in our academy program for 2024. Please sign up in the school barn if you’d like to join us for this informational session


    Thursday, November 23

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    We will not be giving lessons, but your instructor will arrange a makeup.


    Saturday, November 25 at 5:00 PM

    Parents Night Out

    All Knockouts are invited to wrap gifts for our adopted families, hang with the Knockout officers and board members, and play games.

    Please sign up and pay your $25 in the school barn lounge.

    The families are still looking for some donations, and you can check out their lists in the school barn.



    Academy Meetings

    We’re looking forward to 2024!

    If you ride with Nancy or Ann, you probably have already scheduled a time to sit down and talk about plans for next year.

    If you ride with one of our fantastic junior instructors, and would like to include your Knollwood shows or camps in your enrollment amount, please let your instructor or admin know, and Ann can get in touch to help.




    Friday, December 1

    Stirrup Orders Due

    December 1st is the last day to order your Freedman’s stirrups for holiday giving. Please talk to Ann.



    Friday, December 1

    Election Begins

    The polls open for the school horse of the year election. There’s a rumor floating around the pasture that the horses are holding a primary election, so stay tuned to see what the lesson horses are up to!


    Saturday, December 2 at 6:00 PM

    Academy Demo Night

    New academy riders for 2024 are invited to join us in the arena to see some of our stars outfitted and ready to ride for you.

    Experienced academy parents will be there as well to answer questions.

    Please sign up in the school barn lounge.


    Saturday, December 9 at 6:00 PM

    Holiday Party and Knockout Election

    All Knockouts are invited to join us for the holiday party and election of officers and board members for 2024.



    December 24 and 25



    December 31 and January 1



    February 24

    Banquet at Merrill Hills

    Knockouts, be sure to save the date. It’s an evening of good food, good company, and good fun.

    Plus, we have lots of awards for in-barn and out-of-barn shows, a slide show, Scott’s ‘state of the farm’ speech, AND election results for school horse of the year!

     Heads up, Merrill Hills has a dress code, and it's very appropriate for a celebratory event like ours.

    No Denim for anyone.

    Men must wear collared shirts, and they must be tucked in.

    Please help us make it a smooth, enjoyable night for all.



    See you soon at the barn!








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  • Recipe for the Perfect Lesson Horse

    1 comment / Posted by Ann Wilt

    Let’s face it, Team Knollwood has been fortunate to have had some of the best lesson horses ever.

      Looking back, we can identify the characteristics that made them grand, as well as some traits that we appreciate, but are not required.


    Requirement #1. 


    If you watch many beginner or tiny tot lessons, you’ll start to believe that Sparky and Pony Frank were saints in their former lives.

    They take beginner hands and posting without even thinking about it. They wait for extended periods while riders learn to switch crops, lengthen and shorten reins, and work through transitions.

    After a beginner lesson, their next one may be teaching a rider’s first bareback lesson, or teaching a rookie how to trot a circle or a serpentine.

    They enjoy their work, as evidenced by their ‘ears up’ in the arena, and their eyes on their instructor.



    Wish List #1


    While some lesson horses are physically quite beautiful, most of them are a little plain on the outside and very, very beautiful on the inside.

    In our eyes, they're all beautiful.




    Requirement #2

    People Pleaser

    Great lesson horses love people.

    We’ve all seen it, a little rider getting off their horse and immediately starting a conversation with their horse. The horse usually acts quite interested, and probably is.

    Watch riders while they’re performing patterns, and you’ll often see them pet their horse after a difficult section, and you can actually see the horse soften and appreciate the rider.

    Lesson horses love their people.

    While at horse shows, these horses are constantly trying to touch riders or show techs in the warm up ring.




    Wish List #2

    Perfect Conformation

    How a horse is put together is important to his movement, and even his ageing process. Since the physical demands of a lesson horse are quite different than for a top line show horse, our lesson horses can have some flaws.

    Have you ever noticed the length of Baxter’s short front legs? Have you noticed Leon’s straight shoulders and knees? Nope, because they do their jobs so happily.



    Requirement #3


    Great lesson horses must be able to teach a number of lessons to different levels of riders.

    Jelly may be lazy at times, but he loves tiny tots, has a perfect jog to teach posting, and can also execute a precise pattern, and LOVES games at pattern camps.

    You’ll see him teaching riders from 3 to 73, in privates, groups, and camps.




    Wish List #3

    A nifty color

    Sure, 'horses of a different color' are interesting to look at, and we have some representatives at the moment. With the two Hafflingers, Mac, and the grays of Earl and Sparky, Knollwood is kind of a colorful place.

    While it makes the arena a little more exciting to look at, you truly can't beat the sight of chestnut Fred serpentining with a 5 year old, or of chestnut Beau teaching a little show rider how to keep his head up.




    Requirement #4

    A Unique Lesson

    Every great lesson horse finds his ‘niche’ lesson.

    Knollwood has many lesson horses, and we call them the ‘library.’

    Need to teach a rider to canter? Go get Leon or Hugo

    Need to teach a sitting trot? Go get Sparky or Bilbo

    Need to teach keeping heads up? Go get Pumpkin or Jelly

    Need to teach patience on leads? Go get Thomas or Poppy

    Need to teach sitting and slowing? Go get Bee





    We’ve had some legendary lesson horses, and continue to develop more all the time,

    Soon you’ll have your chance to vote for Knollwood’s Lesson Horse of the Year!

    Starting on December 1, you’ll receive a ballot for the election when you pay your 2024 Knockout dues.

    Polls will stay open until 12/31, and results will be announced at the Knockout banquet on February 24.



    What’s Coming Up?

    November 12

    Last chance for Woodwear orders!


    November 18

    Parent Meeting for New Academy Riders

    Join us at 6:00 PM in the show barn lounge to learn about Knollwood’s academy show program.

    We’ll talk about schedules, clothing, costs and commitments, and all that can be learned from academy showing.

    Please sign up in the school barn lounge so we know how many info folders to prepare.


    November 23

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    No lessons, your instructor will schedule a makeup.


    November 24

    Holiday Sale starts!

    Get 10% off any enrollment payments.

    Our promo runs through December 31.


     November 25

    Parents Night Out

    All Knockouts are invited to join fellow members as they hang out with the Knockout officers and board members. Partiers will eat dinner, play games, and wrap gifts for our adopted families.

    If you’re not yet a member, we’d be happy to have you join! You can sign up with your instructor or admin.

    PNO participants, please sign up and pay your $25 fee in the school barn lounge.


    December 1

    Polls Open!

    The school horse of the year election begins at 8:00 AM.

    Pay your 2024 Knockout dues, and place your vote!

    The winner will be announced at the club banquet on February 24.


     December 1


    Stirrup orders due to Ann

    They’re the perfect holiday gift!

    We’ll place your order for Freedman’s irons and leathers, our supplier for all of our show riders. We’ll get the correct iron size and stirrup leather length for your rider.

    Remember, all academy riders must own their own stirrups.



    December 2

    Academy Demo Night

    6:00 PM

    Join us in the arena to watch some of our academy stars in all their show ring finery. They’ll be there with their parents to answer questions for kids and parents alike.

    Please sign up in the school barn lounge so we’ll have enough handouts and snacks.



     December 9

    Knockout Holiday Party and Knockout Election

    6:00 PM

    All Knockouts are invited to join the holiday party. Wear layers so you’ll be ready for the scavenger hunt, which can take you all over the farm!

    We’ll elect new officers after dinner, and even host an optional gift exchange.

    If you haven’t yet joined the Knockouts, please do! You’ll find membership envelopes in the school barn, and your instructor or admin is happy to help.


     December 24 and 25

    Happy Holidays!

    No lessons.



    December 31, January 1

    Happy New Year!

    No lessons.


     February 24

    6:00 PM

    Knockout Award Banquet

    Merrill Hills CC


    See you soon at the barn, or at the in-gate!



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  • Lessons From an Action-Packed Academy Season

    15 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt


    Last weekend’s IASPHA Fall show marked the end of Knollwood's academy show season. We traveled to 12 shows through Wisconsin and Illinois, we showed inside and outside and we were at shows that ranged from all-academy shows to big ‘A’ shows.  It all gave our 46 academy stars, including eight new competitors, many, many great experiences and adventures. We learned many things, and would like to share some of them.



     First of all, we had fun. A ton of fun.

    We shared prep time while doing hair and makeup, and walking patterns.

    We kidnapped a kitten in hopes of a large ransom payoff....but it didn’t work.

    We spent quality time with Hazel and Izzy.

    We made friends with riders from other barns.

    We became better friends with our teammates.



    We Perfected Sportsmanship.

    We cheered each other on, no matter who won.

    We included others in the process, just ask Owen from Woodwind.

    We made friends from other barns and asked them to join our celebrations. Just ask Payton from Rose Tree.

    We ran victory passes in pattern classes without our horses, and when Team Knollwood didn’t win, we met the victor at the gate to offer congratulations.




    We Practiced Resilience.

    We’ve changed our schedule on a dime and our riders made it work.

    We introduced Pumpkin the Magnificent to the academy world in short order. Riders who had to change horses at the last minute relished the chance to show the newbie, and even won some classes.

    We had to learn patterns in a hurry and welcomed the challenge.

    We didn’t always have the rides or results we hoped for, and realized those were learning moments that build better character.



    We Are A Team.

    Knollwood is known for its teamwork.

    At academy shows, someone always forgets pins, hair supplies, or a belt.  There’s always someone there happy to help out and donate what’s missing.

    At shows where both the show and academy riders compete at the same venue, our show riders love to help out the academy riders. It’s a real confidence boost to be helped by your champion teammates.

    Our academy riders in turn are on hand to cheer on their mentors when the show classes are competing.



    Respect is All.

    Riders quickly learn that many hands go into a successful horse show.

    Most of all, riders learn to respect their horses who work for them with ears up.

    They respect the judge’s decision.

    They respect other riders’ successes.

    They respect teammates’ successes.

    They respect the show staff.

    They respect the process.



    Mentors Keep It All Going

    Our show mentors for this season have been rock stars. Hanna and Natalie have been there taking great care of the best academy horses in the world, making sure riders are ready for their classes, and running tack changes like the efficiency experts they are.  Heck, at the IASPHA Fall show, they did a timed tack change in 23 seconds!

    Even more importantly, these ladies support riders while they prepare to show. Hanna is a master hair bun designer, and she and Natalie straighten numbers, tape boots and gloves, ‘poof’ ties, and make sure the total look is ‘Knollwood ready.’

    Our mentors are seasoned show riders, so they can offer support and advice to the riders in-between classes while the instructors are coaching other riders.




    Education is Continuous.

    Riders learn something every time they come in contact with a horse.

    Over the course of a show season, riders learn about ring position, checking for diagonals and leads, and finishing rails.

    Riders will learn from their missteps in order to learn a new lesson next time.

    Our academy riders build confidence through the season of learning. Even our riders new to the ring in 2023 looked like seasoned pros at our show last weekend.

    We couldn’t be more proud of their progress!




    If you think your rider might be interested in joining our academy team for 2024, please plan on attending our parent meeting on Saturday, November 18 at 6:00 PM.

    We’ll discuss the whole process from schedules, lesson requirements, clothing, costs and benefits, and what the process can do for your rider.

    Because we’re discussing the details, including finances, we ask that only parents attend this meeting.

    We’re hosting a kid friendly meeting on Saturday, December 2 at 6:00 PM. Riders and parents are asked to join us in the arena to see current academy riders in their show gear. We’ll also have some experienced show parents on hand to answer questions.

    Please sign up in the school barn lounge if you can join us on the 18th. Each attendee will receive a folder of information, and we want to make sure to have enough  folders for everyone.

    We hope to see you there!


    What’s Coming Up?

    UPHA National Championship American Royal Horse Show

    November 6-11

    It’s time for the grand finale!

    The best in the country will gather in Kansas City to compete for national championships. The show also features the UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals and the biggie, the USEF Medal Final.

    Team Knollwood will be there in numbers, and we’ll keep you updated.




    Woodwear Orders Due

    November 12

    Don’t miss out on the perfect gifts!

    The signature jacket and the new backpack are wonderful presents for your Knollwood Kid, and their names are embroidered on both!




    Academy Parents Meeting

    November 18

    6:00 PM

    Parents’ join us to learn all about our fantastic academy showing program and all it has to offer our riders both in and out of the ring. Please sign up in the school barn lounge.





    November 23

    No Lessons

    Your instructor will be in touch to schedule a makeup.




    Parents Night Out

    November 25

    6:00 PM

    All Knockouts are invited to join us for a festive night as we enjoy  dinner and games. The main event of the evening is wrapping gifts for our adopted families. Gifts will be delivered to our families for the holiday season.

    Not yet a member, we’d love to have you. Please talk to your instructor or office admin for help.

    The event is $25, and can be paid in cash or by a check made out to the Knollwood Knockouts.

    Please sign up and pay in the school barn lounge.



    Polls Open for School Horse of the Year Election

    December 1

    The best election is starting!

    Pay your 2024 Knockout dues, and receive a ballot for School Horse of the Year. The winner will be announced at the banquet on February 24 at Merrill Hills.





    Stirrup Orders Due to Ann

    December 1

    Stirrup leathers and irons make the perfect holiday gift!

    Let Ann know you'd like to purchase them by December 1, and she'll order the appropriate sizes for your rider. You'll get the best equipment out there from Freedmans, the same brand used by our show barn competitors.

    Friendly reminder that all academy show riders need their own stirrup leathers and irons.




    Academy Demo Night

    December 2

    6:00 PM

    Parents and riders are invited to join us in the arena for an evening of demos and fun. Experienced academy parents will be there to answer questions as well.






    Knockout Holiday Party and Election

    December 9

    6:00 PM

    All Knockouts are invited to join our annual holiday celebration. It’s a real gala with pizza, a scavenger hunt, campaign speeches, an election for officers and board members for 2024, and even an optional gift exchange.

    If you’re not a Knockout member, it’s a great time to join. Just talk to your instructor or office admin.


    Christmas Eve and Day

    December 24 and 25

    No Lessons

    Happy Holidays!

    Your instructor will be in contact to schedule a makeup


    New Year’s Eve and Day

    December 31 and January 1

    Happy New Year!!

    No lessons




     See you soon at the barn, or at the in-gate!






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