Riders of all ages start out thinking we’re going to take riding lessons. Sure, we learn to ride horses, but we learn so much more from these wonderful giants. Horses teach lessons that make our lives happier and more enjoyable than they’d be without them.
Here are just 10 lessons that horses excel at teaching all of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy their company.
After you’ve ridden for a little while, you figure out that it’s not as easy as experienced and professional riders make it look. Watching the skilled amateurs and the pros, you appreciate the training needed to reach that level of expertise.
Riders also learn to appreciate great horses of all disciplines. A great horse is a great horse, no matter his job or the style of his person’s chosen discipline.
Horses teach compassion in spades.
Like humans, horses have good days and bad. They sometimes fall ill, or injure themselves. Horses require our help constantly, and teach us to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Horses age, and not always gracefully. Our senior horses require patience and care more than the young and well. Care and human companionship keep them comfortable and happy in their old age, and Knollwood Kids learn this lesson well.
Horses die. While we give them the best care possible, all horses will die. Riders will show compassion to their friends who were most attached to the lost horse, as well as all their fellow horse kids who knew the horse.
Riding gives kids confidence they carry into other aspects of their lives. Once a new rider realizes that they can control a big animal, they start to realize how much power they have. These kids often see improvement in their school work, and even behavior.
Riding teaches kids to be creative to solve problems.
Can’t reach the bridle on the wall? Go get a ladder.
Can’t get the giant beginner to trot using your voice? Try your leg, body, or crop.
Got a global pandemic on your hands? Spread out in the great outdoors and invite a Morgan to lunch.
Horses are creatures of habit, and have completed years of training to get them where they are today. As a result, horses need things done in a way they’ve been trained to understand.
Riders must learn to communicate in the way their horse has been taught. If you don’t do them in the right order, or skip a step, the result is a confused horse wondering what is being asked of them.
Discipline also keeps riders safe around horses. Making sure your horse is safely secured in his stall, making sure your saddle and bridle are adjusted correctly, and many other details require discipline to keep you safe.
Horses teach students to prioritize constantly. Here at Knollwood, we have a saying, ‘Horses first, the rest later.’
It means that after a ride, you care for your horse first. Before your tack, before your wraps, and before you take care of yourself.
Horses teach us to prioritize our schedules so we have time to take care of them, to schedule vacation time, so we can spend time with them, and to be willing to make sacrifices when we need to for them.
Oh boy, horses are the best teachers of resilience…..
We’re all learning, and a riding education is a winding journey. Some rides will be near perfect, and will leave you feeling like you can do no wrong, while others will leave you wondering how you got this far. Horses keep us humble, and teach us to pick ourselves up and move on.
Riders fall off. Stay with this wonderful sport long enough, and it’s a certainty.
When you show, you’ll have classes when everything is beautiful, and classes that you’d like to forget.
A love of the animal and of the sport will always bring you back wanting to master new skills, and connect with your horse in a better way.
Horses teach us respect for their size, strength, and for their instincts. They also teach us to respect their calm quietness in their stalls, and the comfort they can bring us.
Horses could kill us with their size and strength if they wanted to. Instead, they choose to partner with us for companionship and lots of fun.
Horses are pretty helpless without human assistance, so they teach us responsibility. Humans are responsible for providing food, shelter, vet and farrier care.
Riders quickly learn how to care for horses before and after each ride, how to care for horses when they are unwell or injured, and to keep their behavior in line so horses can remain happy.
Life isn’t fair. It’s just not.
Horses teach us that anything can happen in competition. You may win, you may not. Your horse may be well, he may be injured and unable to take part. The judge may see your brilliance, or he may not. The judge may see the other rider crash into you, of she may just see the aftermath of the blow. You may remember and execute your pattern in a near perfect way, or your horse may decide it’s not the day, you may blank on the pattern, or someone may make a loud noise and blow your or your horses’ concentration.
It’s all part of life, horses teach us to accept it all and learn from it.
Horses are wonderful teachers of so much more than riding. We're all grateful that we get to spend so much time with them, for all they teach us on their backs and in the barn.
What’s Coming Up?
Saddle Rentals Are Due for 2021
Riders enjoying the use of upgrade saddles, please be sure to pay your annual fee to the saddle’s owner.
Patchwork Pony Road Show
Saturday, February 20
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Comfort Suites Convention Center, Johnson Creek
Knockouts Virtual Banquet
Saturday, February 27
Live online from the arena
Final Academy Show Meeting
Saturday, March 6
Team Knollwood is looking forward to 2021, and we're thrilled to announce our Summer Riding School and Academy show schedules.
You just can't beat summertime spent with horses, or weekends spent at horse shows. There's nothing better.
Summer Riding Schools
Summer Riding School dates are out, and weeks of our popular summer program can now be purchased on our website.
For riders aged 7-17, session dates are:
June 28 – July 2
July 26 – 30
August 16 – 20
Summer riding school is perfect for new riders, or those who have ridden a little bit. It’s a real ‘hands-on’ week with most of the time spent in the barn or in the arena. Riders learn to behave safely around horses, learn to groom and prep them to ride, and will ride twice a day every day except Wednesday when we’re joined by our friends from Soul Fire Art Studio for horse crafting afternoon.
We’ll finish the week with a demo for parents and friends on Friday and some refreshment time to learn more about our extensive lesson program.
These action-packed sessions are only $650, and sell out every summer.
Tiny Tot Camp
For ages 4-6, session dates are:
June 14 – 16
July 5 – 7
July 12 – 14
August 2 – 4
Our mini summer riding school is the perfect introduction for the smallest of Knollwood Kids. Our 4 to 6 year-olds will spend three hours a day at the farm for three days. Each camper will enjoy their horse introduction with their very own personal assistant. They’ll learn horse safety, grooming, and riding all under the watchful eyes of experienced riders as personal assistant and their instructor.
These sessions are $350 and fill up fast. We only take six riders per session, so be sure to purchase your session soon!
Knollwood Prep Camp
We’re offering a special week July 12 - 16 for our riders gearing up to participate in our summer show on July 17 and 18. Our advanced beginner and intermediate riders will spend their week learning more about horse showing and horse prep while spending time with their barn friends.
This camp is also $650, and is open to any rider showing at the July show. Not available on the website, please talk to your instructor to sign up for this special week.
Showcase Prep Camp
Our second special week of camp will prepare riders to compete at their first show, the ASAW Summer Showcase at the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds on August 15.
Riders will attend camp at Knollwood on August 2-5 where they’ll learn all about academy showing while learning more about their horse for the show. They’ll practice the pattern they’ll perform at the show, and spend just about every second with their horses.
On Friday, August 13, the campers will travel to the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds where they’ll enjoy a day on the show grounds. Knollwood Kids will ride in their show arena and give their horses a final prep for the show.
Please talk to your instructor if you might be interested in this opportunity.
Academy Show Schedule
Our 2021 academy show schedule is out, including our three in-barn shows, and is available here on our website.
We’re hosting Knollwood shows outside on May 22-23, July 17-18, and October 9-10. These shows are relaxed ways to enjoy entry-level showing with other Knollwood Kids on the best lesson horses in the world.
We offer classes for all levels of riders, from our new riders in the ‘green’ division to our most experienced riders competing in pattern classes and the Knollwood Challenge classes. There’s plenty of fun for everyone.
A major fundraiser for the Knollwood Knockouts, the shows also feature a pre-order concession stand, gift baskets, and silent auctions.
Our out of barn schedule remains fairly similar to previous years with a few date and venue changes.
We can hardly wait to begin a full season of showing with friends both human and equine.
Think you might be interested in academy showing, or are you an experienced show star? Please join us for an evening of demos and information on Saturday, March 6. We’ll gather in the arena where we can distance and enjoy demos from some academy riders. In addition to instructors, experienced show riders and their parents will be available to answer questions.
Please sign up in the school barn. We hope to see you there!
We won’t let the pandemic stop the celebration of Team Knollwood’s 2020 accomplishments. The Knockouts will be broadcasting on Facebook Live at 7:00 PM on Saturday, February 27.
Please tune in as we present high point awards, announce the lesson horse of the year, watch a slide show, and, of course, listen to Scott’s ‘state of the farm’ address.
We have plenty of fun banquet ideas, and we’d love to hear yours as well. Please talk to a Knockout officer or board member with your brilliant ideas!
A reminder that saddle rentals are due for 2021. If you rent an 'upgrade' saddle, please talk to your instructor about your $250 payment to the saddle owner.
We're looking forward to many new adventures in 2021, and we hope you can join us!
See you at the barn.
To state the obvious, 2020 has been a year like no other.
As a group that has always been talented in the pivoting department, Team Knollwood was quick to adjust to the changes that just kept on coming. And of course, we had a good time doing it.
The stories make the year, and here are our 10 favorite Knollwood stories of the year that was.
Now known as Dear Sweet Leon, this wonderful fellow arrived to Knollwood just before ‘Safer at Home’ started in March. Officially known as Keep the Change, Sir, Leon has quickly become a favorite of, well, everyone.
He made his academy debut at Glen Valley and was a perfect angel. Ever since, he’s been an academy rock star, never turning back an ear while taking care of all different levels of riders. At home, he taught his first pattern camps, and has even become a cantering teacher.
If you don’t yet believe in unicorns, come meet Leon.
9. Academy Evolution
So, we had some time off from teaching lessons. We decided to use it wisely and strategize how we could be better coming out of our forced sabbatical.
We looked at EVERTHING. Curriculum, horses, progression of riders, scheduling, retention, …you name it, we dissected it.
From the meeting of many minds, we came up with new, introductory programs that have been selling out from the start. New riders to Knollwood now start in a Mini-Camp, Welcome to Knollwood intro session, or Summer Riding School to get a taste of our lesson program. Following their intro, riders who wish to continue enroll in our new monthly enrollment program.
The new intro programs are paying off already as we’re seeing faster progress in our riders riding in private lessons, more involvement with the new riders, and we’re having a ton of fun with our new friends!
8. Camp 2020
Yes, we had a few bumps. We rescheduled the first few weeks of camp while we developed safety protocols. With the help of an unbelievable group of super helpers, custom handwashing stations designed and built by Mr. Berget, and the best lesson horses in the world, we held sold-out camp sessions for Tiny Tots, new riders, and pattern camps for our academy stars.
Things may have looked a little different with masks, distancing, and endless sanitizing, but the spirit was the same. Great thanks to Brenda, Erika, and Parker for keeping it all so fun for the kids!
And great thanks to Teresa and her staff at Soul Fire Art Studio for making craft day pandemic friendly!
7. Facebook Live
So, this was actually a fun part of the craziness. Customers couldn’t be at the barn, so we brought the horses to them thanks to Facebook. Our Saturday afternoon cocktail hours were the most popular. We hosted conversations with the lesson horses, blowing bubbles with the lesson horses, derby day with the lesson horses, school horse Olympics with Knollwood staff as helpers, and the most popular Facebook event, the Ask Scott Anything broadcast.
We had an absolute blast reconnecting with customers online, answering questions, and letting riders get up close and personal with their favorite lesson horses via FB.
Horseshow geeks like us also got to watch show horses work in the big outdoor ring.
The little yellow and white kitten saved us during the shutdown.
We had wanted a yellow cat for a while, and his timing couldn’t have been better. Richmond entertained those of us ‘essential workers’ at the barn and kept our spirits up. Instructors missed teaching so much that they attempted to teach the kitten to ride. Let’s just say that his talents and attention span are, well, limited.
The horses loved him, and the internet loved the #dailydoseofrichmond.
Then came the adventure. Our adventurous friend Richmond was looking pretty punky, so Knollwood Kid (they stay kids to us forever) and small animal vet Rachel took a look at him, and determined that another living creature had invaded Richmond’s neck. She took him to the clinic, cleaned out the maggot, and returned him to the barn.
THEN, he scratched it open, removed the stitches himself, and generally made a mess of Rachel’s hard work. As a result of his handiwork, Richmond was humiliated for weeks, wearing a sock around his neck to keep him from exploring his wound any further while receiving daily treatments and antibiotics.
He’s remained relatively safe since then, but we truly believe he’s used up a few lives already.
5. Outdoor Shows
COVID may have forced us to cancel our spring in-barn show, but we refused to let it cancel all the fun of our home shows.
Team Knollwood got together again and worked out all the logistics to move the two day show to our outdoor rings. Our walk trot and canter riders showed in the BIG outdoor ring on Saturday, and our walk trot riders showed in the small outdoor ring on Sunday.
Parent involvement was unbelievable, as they redesigned a touch free concession stand and raffle in the great outdoors. We simply cannot say enough about our super helpers who redesigned the whole ‘behind the scenes’ process of the show.
The horses? They loved it.
We enjoyed the extra space, fresh air, and relaxed atmosphere so much that we’re now planning on holding all of our in-barn shows in the great outdoors.
Officially known as Garden of Roses, this beautiful gelding was originally purchased as a fancy lesson horse or a lease horse, or really whatever he wanted to be.
He’s made a name for himself in many ways this past year. With her great horsemanship skills, Korinne helped him make his academy debut a success.
Richie teamed with Willis this season in the new Single Bit division started by the forward thinking Monarch Horse Show group. This division gives a horse the chance to show in a snaffle for any number of reasons, and Willis has benefitted by being shown in BIG arenas by a seasoned junior exhibitor while being worked by professionals.
Willis matured so much this season that he won the National Championship in the Single Bit division at the Monarch Finals. Both Richie and Willis learned a lot from each other this season!
This is the Cinderella story of the season. You might want to get the Kleenex out now.
The Duerr family rescued a yearling Saddlebred from a kill pen a couple of years ago. After some initial vet work and some training near home, they decided to send him to Knollwood to see what Riddle wanted to be.
It turns out that Riddle wants to be a rock star.
Payton showed him for the first time at Futurity, and won the Open English Pleasure qualifier in their show ring debut.
Riddle went to the Royal, and made his big time debut as a trimmed equitation horse. He and horsewoman Payton were a sight in Kansas City.
Great thanks to the Duerr family for their generosity and faith in taking a chance on this wonderful horse who had somehow fallen through the cracks.
2. Show Ring Excellence
This year was different.
Show after show cancelled early in the year, so the academy riders didn’t get to show until some forward-thinking trainers decided to hold a show at Glen Valley in late June. Our show horses traveled to Missouri to show at Bridlespur, and didn’t get to show locally until Summerfun.
Each show seemed to mean a lot more, and Team Knollwood was ready. With extra time spent with Scott, Carol and Lin, the show horses were extra sparkly, and the lesson horses were ready to go.
Summerfun was glorious, thanks to Vicky and her team saving it, and the fall shows went on as normally as possible.
Our academy riders were stars, with plenty of lessons learned along the way. We loved watching Leon fit into the band of academy horse stars, and our riders kept getting better and better.
Our show riders made huge progress as well in this most unusual season.
Richie and Sophie finished 2020 as the National Champs of the UPHA Challenge Cup Final for riders 13 and under after being named Reserve World Champions in Louisville in August.
Heather and Sammy finished Reserve National Champion of the UPHA Challenge Cup for riders 14-17, as well as Top 10 in both the Good Hands and Medal Finals.
Finn and Leila finished third in the Good Hands Final, and were top 10 in both the Medal and Challenge Cup Finals.
Laney and Aaron finished in the Top 10 of the Saddle and Bridle Medallion Final for riders 14-17, and Laney made fantastic progress through the season with her new horse.
Payton, riding as a 12 year old, finished 3rd in the National Championship of Pleasure Equitation, 3rd in the Senior division of the Pleasure Equitation Medallion because she won the Junior division last year, and finished in the top 10 of the National Championship of Equitation for riders 13 and under as well as UPHA Junior Pleasure Equitation Challenge Cup.
Allison returned to the equitation world with Ava, and won the Good Hands National Final for adult riders. Equitation never leaves you.
Margit and Charlie quickly became a team in their inaugural season, trotting and racking their way down rails around the Midwest.
1. TEAM Knollwood
What a year it’s been.
Through it all, our friends have been there with us. Show horse owners who couldn’t even visit their horses paid their bills in advance, academy riders walked the bridle path to see their horse friends, customers donated to the lesson horse unemployment fund at Merton Feed, while others made masks and plushies and donated the proceeds.
Lesson riders had a car parade past the farm so we could see them even if it was very briefly, and dedicated ‘essential workers’ kept the lesson horses groomed and in touch with people through it all.
We could not have possibly made it through the insanity and unpredictability without all of our friends.
We are ever so grateful, and are looking forward to a more peaceful 2021.
Tradition. Honor. Passion.
And a whole lot of fun.
The usual Wednesday blog is still in process as we distill the top stories of 2020.
As we finish the year that was, here are a couple of things to remember.
Our sale ends at midnight on December 31.
You can shop in your pajamas until 11:59 on New Year's Eve! Purchase gift cards at www.KnollwoodFarmLTD.com and use the promo code HOLIDAY2021 at checkout to receive 10% off your order.
If you're currently a customer, the purchase will be applied to your enrollment fees.
If you're new to Knollwood, please contact us to learn how to get started.
Richmond is closing the polls at midnight on December 31.
That's right, even barn cats celebrate New Years Eve.
Richmond will be out after midnight, meaning the polls must close on the election for Lesson Horse of the Year and Knockout Officers for 2021.
Be sure to pay your dues for 2021, and to complete your ballots.
on December 31 and January 1.
Horses and staff will enjoy a couple of days off to end 2020. We'll be back at work ready to start 2021 on Saturday, January 2.
It's the final countdown to Christmas, so we caught up with the best lesson horses in the world to see what's on the top of their wish lists. You might find some surprises here!
Brinkley has a special relationship with Addison, and requests daily spa treatments from his friend who curries him for extended periods of time as he stretches out his neck and makes happy faces. Retirement has its perks!
Big Frank would like an interiror designer to provide curtains for his stall to control his anxiety. If he can't see horses going to lessons or outside without him, Frank thinks his anxiety will diminish.
Duke would like the other lesson horses to stop tearing up his clothes in the pasture. We think Duke should perhaps take a look in the mirror and reflect on his own behaviour that could be causing the antics of others?
Fred would like a sound machine that will provide soothing ambient music in his stall. Many of his neighbors snore at nap time, disrupting his peace. If that's not a possibility, Fred requests sleep apnea machines for Tony and Hugo at a minimum.
Hugo is greatly enjoying teaching more advanced beginner lessons, and is requesting more little riders.
Jelly, our 'loaner' from our friend Sammy and Rose Tree Farms requests, as anticipated, more food. We're just looking out for his fine physique.
Leon, one of the newest members of the lesson posse, is enjoying his new life. He's happy as can be, and would like to meet some new little people.
Little Frank would like us all to stop with the pony jokes.
But we can't.
Because he's a pony.
Mac would like year round summer riding school.
Mark would like us to post signs to his new stall. He's figured out that Jelly is living in his old stall, but just can't figure it out. After that, and stands motionless in the aisle thinking. Other horses are coming in all around him, of course, and he looks a bit like a pinball.
Picasso would like more game sessions. He's addicted to 'steal the crop!
Sparky is so happy with his new sleeping inside at night arrangement, that he doesn't want to ask for anything else.
The retired legend wants for nothing, and simply wishes that all lesson horses could have had the career he has had. He has given many, many riders their first taste of a saddlebred, and still gives instruction to the lesson horses, as he remains the 'master of the pasture.'
Thomas would like some memory training so he can remember how to get to his stall. If he could just get the 'turning left first' thing down, it would be a great help.
Tony would like some Grecian Formula to cover his gray. We think it makes him look even more distinguished than he is, so we vote no.
Vaughn, proud winner of the 2020 Knollwood Challenge Final, would like a new tradition of a plaque for the winning horse. Mia and Brooklyn got trophies, so why should't their trusty steeds?
Willy would like 24 hour access to the feed room so he can munch on Equine Senior whenever he's hungry.
Baxter seconds the Knollwood challenge plaque idea, but needs a bigger wall to showcase his collection.
Cashew is another very happy camper and only requests more time for outside recess.
Dexter requests a menu change to more hot bran mashes. With peppermints in it, of course.
Eddie is wise even beyond his years, and wishes for world peace.
Heist would like lots of chew toys to keep him busy in his stall.
Hooper, AKA King of walk trot pattern instruction, would like an updated UPHA pattern book with trickier ones becuase he's memorized the current book.
Klem would like a sparkly jeweled crown because he's in so many photos. He would also like an open door policy so he can 'clean up' extra hay in stalls.
Murphy would like a full length mirror in his stall so he can admire himself. 24 hours a day.
Panic wishes for a video monitor in his stall so he can watch RIchfield Video archives of himself. Racking with Lin.
Alex can't remember what he wished for.
Sadie wishes for another mare in the school barn. On second thought, maybe being a queen is OK if she gets to steal Klem's jeweled crown.
Willis wishes Carol would stop finding all the good riding kids who don't let him be dramatic. He IS feeling better about himself, though.
What's Coming Up ??
We're closed for lessons on December 24 and 25 as well as December 31 and January 1. Please contact your instructor if you'd like to schedule a make up lesson.
Thanks to everyone for their help in completing our enrollment project. We're so excited to spend more time teaching and less time working on accounting.
Don't forget that Midwest Saddleseat Consignment is coming to the Hilton Garden Inn in Brookfield on Friday, January 8. Team Knollwood has a private shopping night from 7-9 PM before the sale opens to the public on Saturday.
We have plenty of spring ideas coming up, so stay tuned.
Team Knollwood wishes you the happiest of holidays.
See you soon at the barn!