The holidays are coming up super fast, and sometimes your Knollwood Kid sounds like they're talking a foreign language when they list their dream gifts. (Besides a horse, that is.)
We’re happy to decode some of the most popular requests that you’re hearing about. Here’s your chance to look like a riding expert with the perfect gift under the tree.
If it still sounds Greek to you, we’d be happy to help, and Ann will be happy to order some of the technical stuff!
For the academy show star in your house, these are the best show jods out there. They’re extra long, the fabric doesn’t attract dust, and these even offer a bit of stretch. Luckys look neat and tailored while being super comfortable.
(And they're worth every penny even at full price!)
Warm Riding Gloves
While we heat the arena to a temperature that’s comfortable for riding, warm riding gloves will help the rider in your house maintain a good feel on the reins. Here are options for kids and adults that will keep hands warm while keeping the reins from slipping, and allow good communication with the horse’s mouth.
(If you really want to hear your Knollwood Kid sound like they’re talking a foreign language, ask them how they keep their horse’s head up while they ride. Take a seat first …)
Stirrup Irons and Leathers
Sure, our school saddles all have stirrups on them, but having your own sure signifies that you’re serious about your riding, and that you’d like to spend more time riding and less time adjusting stirrups before your lesson. Plus, having your own ensures that the irons are the correct size for your feet to prevent stirrup slippage, and that the leathers won’t be crazy long. Plus, you can keep them at the barn where they’re always handy!
And when you embrace the 'saddle-no-stirrups lifestyle like we do, you can really miss your own when you see them hanging on the wall before and after your leg strengthening rides(s).
These are the professional grade stirrups we use and highly recommend. We’d be happy to order the correct size for you, and we’re really good at being sneaky at getting the gifts to you!
Your Own Helmet
After your initial lessons, it’s a fantastic idea to buy your own helmet.
There are lots of options to choose from, and here are a few of our favorites. While individuality is a great thing, we ask that our academy show riders purchase a black helmet cover for out of barn shows.
Saddle Horse Report
If you have a serious horse show junkie in your house, there’s nothing better than a subscription to Saddlehorse Report. Besides receiving newsprint magazines in the mail, you can also purchase online access to show results and even judges cards. It’s a good online addiction!
Lessons at Knollwood are always a great gift, and they’re even 10% off through December 31. You can purchase group lessons, private lessons, even summer camps and some horse show expenses at a discount.
If you purchase online, use promo code HOLIDAY2020 to receive your discount.
Of course, your instructor would be happy to help design a package for your rider.
See you at the barn!
And a whole lot of fun.
You know, the first EVER Knollwood School Horse of the Year.
I won last year's election fair and square, and my official stall bears the plaque that proves it.
As the only winner so far, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to opine on all of the candidates. In no particular order, here are my thoughts on all of my co-workers. I know I'm supposed to be unbiased, but I clearly have some favorites.
You can start voting on Monday, December 2. Simply pay your Knockout dues for 2020, and place the dues envelope with a completed ballot in the ballot box.
May the best horse or pony win!
This retired gentleman (and my pasture mate) has taught countless Knollwood kids to canter, and has allowed millions to paint him. He has the best eyes, and thoroughly enjoys his spa treatments from his best friend Addison. Although he’s retired please consider writing him in for a ‘lifetime achievement award!’
The master of the pasture.
Officially known as ‘Bonnie Novel Santoro,’ a name that even he thinks is klutzy, my friend has ruled over the pasture for years. He has taught millions of riders to pay attention, he keeps his eyes off the ground, and introduces countless kids to the beauty of riding a saddlebred. He’s been a mainstay of our lesson program for years, and was quite an academy star back in the day. An icon.
Relatively new to the Knollwood lesson tribe, and ‘blessed’ with a name equally as klutzy as Sundance, ‘Fort Chiswell’s Aristocrat’ has become a favorite in short order. Thomas loves going to academy shows, and excels at bareback and saddle no stirrup rides in addition to being an up and coming pattern star.
He’s fast. Really fast.
And he’s working on his anger management problems. Rachel and Erika love him.
He’s had a tough year, with the loss of his best friend Forest, but he’s carrying on. He’s a tiny tot expert, is getting over his fear of horse shows, and is currently working on his arena heater issues.
I know that as the elder statesman of the group, I’m not supposed to have favorites, but I can’t help it. Dudley is the real thing.
He’s a beginner star, a saddle-no-stirrup favorite, and a gaming stand out. In case you missed Maddie’s ride off in the musical towel game at the summer show, it was epic.
Plus, he loves welcoming visitors to his stall, and may not let them leave until they curry and brush his ears until he says it’s enough.
He bends in the middle.
A good challenge to advanced beginner riders, he never goes any faster than is required. Except when he’s trotting and the rest of the class is cantering. Then he road trots.
A true character.
Another icon. My favorite half Morgan and half Quarter Horse, he’s known for his nickering and love of all things peppermint. He can be lazy, pushy, and just the thing to teach kids to follow through. He’s perfection.
He snores. Really loud.
And he eats. A lot. Sometimes he won’t even leave the round bale in the pasture when it’s time to come in.
He’s also an angel in a chestnut suit. He teaches kids to post quickly with his lofty trot, and then excels at teaching the wee ones circles and serpentines. When he’s not sure what to do, he just stops.
A true genius.
He’s been called ‘the next Willy,’ but I’m not retiring any time soon.
Master of tiny tots, willing to do any walk and trot pattern as long as he doesn’t have to leave a group of horses to do it, he’s a gem. He doesn’t even get irritated at Hugo when he runs into Sparky’s stall because he’s too lazy to remember which stall is his.
He poops in Picasso’s feed bin. Every day.
That being said, he’s a favorite of every walk trot rider on the farm. With his smooth trot and his saddlebred neck, Hawaiian Cat makes them all feel very fancy.
Hugo enjoys patterns, games, and naps. Naps especially after he’s been groomed.
He’s tortured by Hugo every day. But he’s pretty pushy, so I feel it may be karma in action.
Picasso is a marvelous cantering teacher, as he’d rather canter than trot. He’ll canter for anyone, probably even Bengal the cat, although Bengal’s loud voice may scare even the great Picasso.
Mark is a classic. He thinks he likes teaching first time riders, but he can’t remember. Don’t worry, it’s not an age thing, he’s never remembered anything. Every day is a new adventure.
Large Frank is an original. Never sure of where he’s going, but he’s trying to get there first.
Frank has learned his patterns, and is a favorite of our younger cantering riders because of his quick response time.
He is, however, a slob in his stall. As soon as the first horse leaves the aisle, Frank is sure a mistake has been made, and he starts circling and digging. We all have our issues, but his is a little more obvious than most.
A recent addition to the crew, Mac has quickly become a walk and trot star. He doesn’t care about much, and even worked at the Knollwood Fall show. He learned to find his own stall much more quickly than most of the horses back there, too.
Possibly the best academy horse ever, A Champagne Toast is a legend. Really.
He’s given many academy riders their first taste of a horse who loves his job while looking through his perfectly hooked ears.
This one in a million gentleman is a dream in his stall, and even keeps a very clean house. He welcomes all kinds of treats!
Murphy thinks he’s beautiful, and don’t you forget it.
Dekscalibur is an unsung hero in my lesson program. He’s extremely handsome, has no attitude, enjoys teaching small academy stars to work a bridle, and loves going to horse shows. Did I mention how handsome he is?
Hula Hooper is another star. Hooper will perform any pattern at any time, even if you’re a six year old with kind of short legs.
Note, he lives a few stalls down from me, and he believes in a very strange conspiracy theory. He really thinks that his clothes are trying to kill him. He even has to have clothes that open in the front because traditional ‘over the head’ clothing is just too scary for him.
Like I said, we all have our issues, and his is pretty noticeable.
The only girl in my lesson program, Sadie is beautiful. She teaches advanced academy stars the ways of a show horse, and gives them pointers on how to keep her balanced. She’s very pretty!!!
A new addition, Willis is fast learning his academy lessons. Baxter is his idol, and Willis hopes to be as grand as the great Champagne Toast. He already has the stall manners down, and is learning to work in the company of other horses while keeping his concentration.
Klem is a man after my own heart. We’ve both struggled with weight issues at points in our lives, and I fear Klem may have an eating disorder. Have you ever heard him beg for food? Of course you have, everybody on planet earth has heard it.
That issue aside, Klem is a marvel. He’ll teach the youngest walk and trot star to pay attention to his minor tricks like straying off the rail, and really delights in teaching patience to his more advanced charges. Every rider on the farm has been ‘Klemmed’ on that left lead while he makes eye contact with the instructor in the middle.
Oh, and did I mention that Klem is the official mascot of Knollwood's Tuesday Amigos? He's always up for a silly photo with some of his favorite horse girls.
Pattern camps are his favorite weeks of the year when he gets to teach in the big outdoor ring. Ah, the space he can cover…
Pure and simple, Eddie is a rock star. Hylee’s Red Fox loves his job, loves his people, and loves the challenge of patterns.
Traveling is not his favorite thing, but he endures since it means going to horse shows.
Panic has never had a bad day in his life. Riders who earn the right to ride the great CH Callaway’s Don’t Panic have a grin on their face that you’ll never forget.
He can’t do enough for you, loves to beat other horses down the rail, and enjoys the occasional yippee yahoo canter start, usually on a diagonal line.
At horse shows, Panic starts buzzing before victory passes, and tries to get those slow gaiting passes in, re-living his glory days with Lin. If he can’t get the slow gait started, he’ll just trot REALLY FAST.
A true gentleman, Cashew has quickly become a favorite teacher. With smooth gaits, and a handsome face, Kaptain Kaos is a pro at showing his students the importance of bridle rhythm. Once they ‘get it’ that canter is smooth and slow as can be.
Heist loves Laura, and loves going on trail rides with her. He also loves living next to Agatha while she convalesces.
There you have it, the list of candidates for the 2019 election. The winner will be announced at the Knockout banquet on Saturday, February 8.
Be sure to talk to the candidates, and to do your own research. Bragging rights and a stall plaque are at stake. And the winner has big shoes to fill!
See you at the barn!
Team Knollwood capped off a tremendous 2019 show season last week at the UPHA National Championship American Royal. Competing for national championships against the best in the country, our horses and riders were in the thick of the deepest of competition. We’re so thrilled with all of Knollwood's performances.
Horse shows create stories, and we have some great ones to share.
The always enthusiastic pair of Gabby and Charlie lit up the ring in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited Show Pleasure division. These two enjoy every step, and always look like they don’t want the class to end. The dynamic duo finished third in their qualifier, and a fabulous 5th in the championship.
Another charismatic pair, Bella and Garfield, turned in impressive rides in the deep Country Pleasure division. These two have been working hard all season, and it showed in KC, finishing 5th in their qualifier, and 4th in the highly competitive national championship.
Carol and Allison both had a chance to show Eva at the Royal, and the mare has made great progress. Eva finished 8th in the Ladies Three gaited under 15.2 class with Carol, and Allison showed back in the championship and finished 6th in the Ladies 3 Gaited National Stake. Look for great things next season from Allison and Eva!
Payton had the chance to show Eli in the 13 and under Three Gaited division, and they rocked the their classes, finishing 4th in both their qualifier and in their National Championship. These two have a special bond, and it shows in every step they take.
Richie and Tink had a ball in the Country Pleasure division for riders 13 and under. After a little too much enthusiasm and an 8th place ribbon in the qualifier, the one and only TInk and her young man rode to a reserve title in their national championship.
The Royal showcases equitation like no other show, as it hosts the UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals, the USEF Medal Final, and National Championships in Saddle Seat equitation. Team Knollwood brought serious contenders in each division they showed in.
In her first year in the senior division, Heather made an impact showing Tucker. 14 Year old Heather made the cut to Phase II in both the Senior Challenge Cup and the Medal finals. It was quite an impressive finish to her first senior year.
In her first year showing saddlebreds, Laney also finished strong. After showing Robert in the Senior Challenge Cup and Medal Finals, Laney debuted her new horse Aaron in the national championship. The new team made the cut to do the pattern, and finished 8th in the senior national championship. Keep your eyes on this new combination next year!
Richie and Payton were stars in the junior equitation division. Both made Top 10 in the Junior Challenge Cup Final, and showed well in the Junior Equitation National Championship. Richie turned up his performance and finished third in the final, and Payton and Dos rode to a good 7th as well.
Finn and Leila finished the year in fine style. Leila is beautiful, powerful, and has a high opinion of herself. She and tall, calm Finn make a beautiful combination of power and grace, and caught the eyes of the judges. These two made the cut in both finals, and finished 4th in the prestigious Medal final.
Some of the best horse show memories happen outside the actual show ring, Besides the show arena, Team Knollwood enjoyed the sights and dining in KC, shopped for new horses, (we hope to have some announcements soon!) and celebrated Scott and Carol’s anniversary.
The farm is a little quiet this week, with Scott and Carol enjoying some down time, and everyone is working on organizing and cleaning after the 2019 campaign. Huge thanks to the show horses' personal assistants who take such terrific care of the stars, and to Lin and Parker for holding down everything at world headquarters while the show string is on the road.
It's been a marvelous season of learning lessons, meeting goals, and enjoying the process of progression. Thanks to everyone who supported us along the way.
Just imagine what we can do next year!!
What's coming up next?
Our Annual Sale!
Starting the day after Thanksgiving, you can purchase lessons at 10% off through December 31. That's right, group lessons, private lessons, summer riding school, even horse shows! It's the one time of the year that 'the good stuff' goes on sale, and you can ask your instructor for details.
Voting is Starting for School Horse of the Year
Starting on December 1, you can vote for school horse of the year when you renew your Knockout membership for 2020. The winner will be announced at the Knockout banquet on February 14, 2020 possibly introduced by last year's winner, Willy.
Ornament Making with Soul Fire
Our friends from Soul Fire Art Studio will be in the show barn lounge on Saturday, December 7 from 11 AM through 3 PM. They'll help you create your own unique holiday design. No reservations needed, just drop in!
Parents' Night Out
Leave your Knollwood Kid with us on Saturday, December 7 from 5-8. While you go out for dinner or do some shopping, your rider will be entertained by the Knockout officers and board members making posters for the school horse of the year contest, eating dinner, and playing in the arena. And it's only $10! You can make your reservation in the school barn lounge.
Knockout Holiday Party
Join us at 6:00 PM on Saturday, December 14 to celebrate the season with the Knockouts. Enjoy the scavenger hunt, dinner, an optional gift exchange, and help us elect Knockout officers for 2020.
Members can sign up in the school barn. Not yet a member? Talk to your instructor to join, and you'll get a ballot to vote for school horse of the year!
Knockout Award Banquet
High points have been totaled, and preparations are underway for the Knockouts annual award banquet on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at the Legends at Bristlecone. You won't want to miss it!
See you at the barn!
Our fall celebration of all things Knollwood academy was an absolute blast. As usual, we have some great stories to tell, so read on…
We’re SO Glad They Always Come Back.
Knollwood Kid Kelsey Nicole Farnham returned to preside over both days of the show. She learned to ride in the same arena, and accomplished feats most of us can only dream about. Winner of the Worlds Grand Championship of Saddle Seat Equitation in addition to many, many, equitation finals including the prestigious USEF Medal, Kelsey enjoyed watching the newest generation. Having judged the show a few years ago, Kelsey said she enjoyed watching the riders' progress, and felt like she was part of their growing up.
Always a good sport, Kelsey filled in for Wendy in the Mother Daughter class when the concession stand called Wendy away. And following in the tradition started by Shelby, Kelsey joined the gaming portion of the show, hopping aboard Hugo for the slowest canter event.
Knollwood Kids Always Find A Way.
Knollwood Kid Emilie finances her academy shows through her creative decorating business. She creates cups, cosmetic bags, and just about anything else you can imagine. Her creativity has allowed her to attend pattern camps and horse shows.
For the fall show, we were happy to present her unique Knollwood ornaments as trophies to all of our class winners.
We Know How To Play.
Knollwood Kids know how to have fun, and our gaming division was a great example. Richie started it off by winning the first ever Open Bareback Equitation class, and he ended up in the ride off in Musical Towels event. Super helper, Knollwood Co-President, and horse show organizer extraordinaire Erika handed Richie his first ever defeat in musical towels.
Actually, Pony Frank is just faster than Duke, but the effort in the ride-off was pretty amazing. And we’re very impressed with the bravery of our front row spectators who believed those two would stop before they reached the crowd.
The Circle Continues.
Honestly, the best part of these shows is watching the progress of riders as they grow up. Our leadline division had to be split, and both classes were pretty great. The eight and under walk trot classes were fierce, and included riders as young as 6 managing the arena like pros.
Our walk trot and canter division for riders 10 and under was a spectacle. While many of these riders are showing as 10 year olds and will move up the the WTC divisions out of barn next year, we have a rocking group of 8 year olds knocking on the door of the in-barn WTC division.
An event of this size takes a small army to pull off, and we’re fortunate to have an incredibly supportive one. The weekend included volunteer hair stylists, ringmasters, announcer Jeni, concession stand masters Lisa and Wendy and all of their Knockout volunteers, and griller Anne.
Knollwood helpers put together the gift baskets, and they took fabulous care of the lesson horses and their riders all weekend. These ladies (and Richie) make every rider feel comfortable at the show, and offer advice and support, run with leadline riders, and take great care of the best lesson horses in the world.
A special shout out is needed for Erika and Maya. These two worked ALL day both Saturday and Sunday, and kept the whole show running smoothly while making sure horses and riders were comfortable. They are amazing and are getting great experience.
The Grand Finale of the Season.
The Fall show finishes each session with a Knollwood Challenge Final.
Based on the National finals, riders have to qualify during the season by competing and finishing first or second in a qualifier. The top two places in each of the three qualifiers meet up at the end of the show for rail work and pattern work. The patterns for the final are more difficult than the qualifier, and are quite challenging. Riders see the pattern for the first time in the morning, and have time to walk it in the arena. They have never ridden it before.
On Saturday afternoon, six riders performed a pattern that included circles, diagonal changes, and a diagonal line that included a dropdown from a canter to a trot.
At the end of the highly competitive class, Lauren was named the champion and Emma was reserve.
On Sunday afternoon, the walk and trot finalists rode a pattern that included diagonal changes, a circle and a serpentine. After a hotly contested final, last year’s winner Mia presented the trophy to Maiya with the reserve award going to Jule.
We love the Challenge Final, because it allows riders to perform under pressure. They get to ride a pattern in competition that they haven’t performed before. It’s one thing to ride on the rail in a group, but it takes another set of horsemanship skills to work through a new pattern.
We’re so proud of all these finals riders who competed under pressure and did a tremendous job.
Thoughts From The Weekend:
Barn friends are the best. Riders interact with friends of all different ages and levels, because they have one thing in common, being horse kids. They support each other, love on all the horses, and stay away from their phones.
These lesson horses are truly the best in the world. All weekend, they performed with patience and good senses of humor. (Although by Sunday afternoon, Sparky WAS trying to tell Kelsey when he thought the classes should reverse.)
From Willis learning his new job to Dudley enjoying the change in his routine, they seemed to enjoy the weekend as much as their people friends did.
We have an unbelievable group of friends and customers. Horse moms were helping kids other than their own, kids who don’t even ride were helping in the concession stand, show riders worked their whole weekend when they probably should have been doing school work before heading to Kansas City for the finals, and everyone cheered for each other.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to make the show a memory for a lifetime for so many.
What's Coming Next?
Our show horses and riders are in Kansas City competing at the UPHA National Championship American Royal Horse Show. With National Championships and the last big two equitation finals in the balance, Team Knollwood will be in the thick of the competition. We'll keep you posted on social media!
This Saturday you can join our fall celebration from 3-6 PM. For the admission price of two food kits for the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, you can participate in fun games like sack racing and bobbing for apples. Please bring an extra food kit and sign up soon if you'd like to compete in the big relay race at 6:00 PM in the arena.
Please sign up here if you'll be joining the fun!
Soul Fire Craft Day
Join us in the show barn lounge on Saturday, December 7 from 11 AM to 3 PM when our friends from Soul Fire Art Studio will be on hand to help you make holiday ornaments. Just drop in, and the helpful staff will assist you in making a unique ornament.
Parents Night Out
Join us from 5 PM to 8 PM on Saturday, December 7. Parents can enjoy dinner out, or get some shopping done while kids make posters for the School Horse of the Year Election starting on December 1, play games in the barn and enjoy dinner with the Knockout officers and board. It's only $10, and you can sign up in the school barn.
Knockout Holiday Party
Join us at 6:00 PM on Saturday, December 14 for our annual extravaganza. It includes a scavenger hunt, pizza, an optional gift exchange, and the election of our 2020 club officers. If you'd like to learn more about becoming a Knockout officer or board member, please talk to Erika or Korinne.
The event is free to all Knockout members, and parents are welcome to BYOB.
If you're not yet a member, your instructor would be happy to help you join.
We hope to see everyone at the Legend at Bristlecone Pines on Saturday, February 8 for our annual celebration of all things Knollwood. It sounds like a long way away, but be sure to keep the date open for an event you won't want to miss!
See you at the barn!
My name is Frank the Pony, and I have stage fright.
Because of my fears, I’m unable to participate in the Knollwood Fall Show. As part of my therapy regimen, I’ve been collecting information about the show in an attempt to de-sensitize myself. Please bear with me as I work my way through explanations that I know very little about. I hope my co-workers aren’t leading me on …
The show runs two afternoons, with walk trot and canter classes on Saturday, November 9 starting at 1:00 pm, and the walk and trot performance follows on Sunday, November 10 at noon. The riders you’ll see on Saturday are the ones who enjoy riding me bareback, love playing games with me because of my zero turning radius, and who make me behave and not act like a pony.
The Sunday riders are the ones I teach on a daily basis how to follow through to get what they want from me. They may be small, but I’ve made them mighty.
Show shirt and back number packets will be ready for pickup in the school barn lounge starting at noon on Thursday.
New for this show? You’ll receive a program with your packet! Great thanks to Wild Impact Marketing for the fun show shirts.
The concession stand will be up and running on both days of the show. Be sure to stop by and enjoy some delicious food and terrific service, served up by the Knollwood Knockouts. They still have some opportunities to volunteer in the stand, and you can sign up here. (If someone could sign me up, I think I could make it there…)
The show also features the annual Helper Basket Challenge. Judge Kelsey will pick her favorite basket, and the helpers from the winning night will receive a pizza party courtesy of the Knockouts.
These are major fundraisers for the Knollwood Knockouts, our award winning youth group.
Speaking of Judge Kelsey, everyone is excited to welcome celebrated Knollwood Kid Kelsey back to judge our final show of the year. She grew up here, and went on to become a top rider, even winning the World’s Grand Championship of Saddle Seat Equitation.
Her expertise will be needed this weekend at the grand finale with full classes, hard riding stars, and the best lesson horses in the world. (Including me, even though I won’t be showing.)
We have depth.
Our leadline division is so full that we split it into 2 classes. Many age divisions had to be split, the pattern classes are full, and the ‘grown-ups’ are out in number.
This show features the finals of the Knollwood Challenge.
Based on the big equitation finals, the Knollwood Challenge offers riders the experience at an academy level. Riders compete in a qualifying class at each of our three shows where they ride both on the rail and perform a predetermined pattern. In the walk and trot division, riders all trot a non-inverted figure eight, and in the walk, trot, and canter division, all riders trot an inverted figure eight.
The top two placings in each qualifier advance to compete in the final at the November show.
The Final class features railwork, and a more difficult pattern that the riders see for the first time the morning of the show.
The winner of each final receives a bronze traveling trophy for a year, and a custom show shirt from deRegnaucourt.
We have that in spades.
In addition to the really competitive classes, we host a gaming division on Saturday before the WTC Challenge Final.
Show and academy riders are welcome to join the games of Slowest Canter, Musical Towels, and Ride a $5.
Even the judge joined in at the summer show!
There are a couple of spots left for gamers. Contact Ann if you'd like to join in!
This is the first division I'd like to compete in after I've completed my therapy!
The Fine Print:
Parking is limited to our lot and the street. No parking is permitted in the Kettle Moraine Curling Club lot, as they have a major event this weekend as well. Please help us be good neighbors.
Knollwood Challenge Final riders will show in their academy show outfits. If you're riding in a qualifier, please have your show clothes ready.
Future academy star Willis made his debut at the IASPHA Fall show, and ill continue his education on Saturday. Korinne will again be riding him during the show on Saturday to help him become more comfortable in groups.
See you at the show!!
If anyone has any ideas to help me over my stage fright, I'll be taking advice in the pasture this weekend. You'll find me at the round bale.
And a lot of fun.