• Lessons Learned in a (Very) Quiet Barn

    Posted by Ann Wilt



    Greetings from a very quiet Knollwood.  While we certainly never want to get used to the silence, we are pivoting and learning how to survive it in the short term.  Knowing that the more everyone complies with social distancing the sooner we can get back to doing what we all love with our favorite people. That makes this temporary normal a little easier to take. This will end.

    The quietness has given us more time to think, and we’re working on some terrific things for our grand reopening.  While people at home are cleaning closets and watching Tiger King (which we HIGHLY recommend), we’re working on some projects that we have always wanted to tackle but never had the chunks of time needed.  So, we’re actually grateful for the gift of time we’ve been given.

    Here are our lessons learned for this week:

    The World Goes On.

    Spring is coming, and the trees are budding. With the warmish weather, the trees of Knollwood are starting to look really beautiful..

    Oh, and the lesson horses are shedding like crazy! Never fear, they’re enjoying spa treatments, and they’re looking fat and shiny.

    Horses really miss their peeps.

    If you can believe it, Klem is even more talkative in the stall, Dudley keeps giving all of us his slow blink, and even Joey is asking to be petted. They don’t understand why their world has shifted, they just want their humans back!

    The show horses are missing their peeps, too. They're all looking fantastic, with their training routines ramping up for show season, whenever it may start.  These horses are  ready to get on the trailer!

    Walking down the show barn aisle, we’re greeted with eager noses poking out looking for their riders. Heck, Tink even sent a selfie to Richie!


    The pets of Knollwood are keeping us entertained. 

    Hazel is doing great on some new thyroid medication, and has her old energy back. She’s enjoying walking the trails again with Carol, but misses all the kids at the barn.

    Richmond and Holly have full run of the school barn during the day, and the results have been hilarious. Richmond has started riding lessons, and is looking forward to his first bareback ride soon. He’s also learning parts of the horse, and is identifying the parts by launching himself at the horse chart.


    Most of all, we miss our customers.

    We miss giving lessons, but we also miss the daily fun we have with everyone. Knollwood is about so much more than horses.  We miss hearing about kids’ sports schedules, achievements outside of the horse world, and horse show chat.  We miss the Tuesday parents enjoying wine while their kids ride, and we miss the kids' laughter in the barn.  We miss exchanging good books, hearing about vacations, and well, just joking around in the middle of the arena.

    Some of our recent highlights have been customers driving by and stopping in the middle of Horseshoe Bend to have a conversation from a safe distance. It’s amazing who you meet in the road when you’re taking the recycling out to the curb!



    This will end.

    We’ll get through this.

    And yes, we'll have quite a celebration when this is all over!

    We’ve got this.






    We Are Knollwood.

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  • We are Grateful, We are Amazed

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Knollwood Families and Students,


    As we all know, these are unprecedented times.  Many of us are experiencing a pandemic for the first time in our lives and are just doing what we can to keep our families, friends, selves, and animals safe by following recommendations from experts.  This has put many people out of work, out of childcare, and out of their routines. 


    Here at Knollwood we've done what we could to keep every sense of normalcy possible while being safe.  That did sadly mean closing our doors to our beloved customers who are the lifeblood of our community here at Knollwood.  While Knollwood is a strong business, there is no denying that horses don't eat less or require less care just because lessons aren't currently happening.... I mean we've all seen Klem right?  He's not dieting....  All joking aside, we had, had a few clients reach out early on to see if there is a way they might be able to help by "adopting" a school horse entirely on their own and out of the generosity of their own hearts. 


    These amazing people had decided come together to donate to the Knollwood feed bill with Merton Feed and have made gracious contributions to care for the crew of the best school horses in the world.  This gesture has brought tears into the eyes of all of us who know what it means for hard working people to donate their money to ease the burden of these trying times on small businesses like Knollwood and truly speaks to what kind of community we are blessed to find ourselves in.  We hope to show our gratitude by offering special donor programming once our doors are open; more info to come on that!


    Knollwood is more than just a barn.  It is more than just a place off the highway that is here to entertain your kids.  It is a family and we now feel that more than we ever have, though we always knew this to be true.  We are unspeakably grateful to the generosity of our clients that came up with this and are continuing to donate to the Knollwood feed bills with Merton Feed to take care of these amazing school horses.


    If you would like to donate as well, please call Merton Feed at 262-538-1250, or send a check with a note on it for Knollwood to

    Merton Feed Co
    PO Box 465
    Merton, WI. 53056

    Special thanks to the following people who have already donated in support of our amazing horses and barn:


    The Anderson-Penglase Family

    The Ball Family

    The Becker Family

    Tammy Cull

    The Dallen Family

    The Looysen Family

    The Rhode Family

    Catherine and Claude Scher

    The Schuh Family

    Mary Steinhardt

    The Traeger Family

    Jane Wagner

    The Wenzel Family





    We Are Knollwood.

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  • Saturday Circuit - Equestrian Exercises

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Hello again Knollwood Families and Students!


    It is Saddlebred Saturday here at Knollwood Farm, and the barn is eerily quiet save for the knickers of all the school horses as they await their turn for a spa treatment and some candies.  While we hate that the hustle and bustle of our usual Saddlebred Saturday is missing, we are determined to keep you, our students in riding shape so when we open our doors back up, no one has missed a beat and we can get right back to work preparing for show season 2020!





    Every Saturday, we will be coming out with a series of workouts that are focused on developing muscles and balance skills that we utilize every time we are in the saddle.  Be sure to properly warm up and cool down with some light stretching before and after you do this workout.  We wouldn't want anyone to end up with an injury that would prevent your prompt return!


    Exercise 1 - Squat Jumps - 10 reps

    Squat Jump

    This movement is an explosive, continuous movement that gets your large muscles pumping and therefore really works to kick up your heart rate.  Cardio fitness as well as strength in your lower body and core is extremely important for riding.  While many think that riding is just sitting on a horse as you go around in circles, we all know differently!  Feet hips width distance apart come into a 90 degree squat as if you were sitting down in a chair.  Then swing your arms up and come into a jump!  As you land come straight back down into a squat and repeat 10 times.

    Exercise 2 - 1 Legged Bridges - 10 reps alternating legs, hold each for 5 breaths

    Bridge Pose

    This movement is a slow and focused exercise the centers on your core, back and glutes; all muscle groups that help develop your seat, balance, and independence in the saddle. Laying on your back, place your heels just behind your glutes.  Lifting one leg straight up toward the ceiling, slowly step into your foot on the group and lift your hips toward the ceiling as if you're trying to stamp your foot print up there!  Breathe in slowly and out slowly for 5 breaths, slowly lower back down, switch legs and repeat.

    Exercise 3 - Burpees- 10 reps


    Burpees are quite possibly the most hated exercise in fitness by everyone except trainers and coaches.  This full body movement helps strengthen every part of your major muscle groups at once.  Like squat jumps they are another controlled continuous and explosive series of movements that require focus and control. Much like posting at a trot, though we aren't exploding out of the saddle and jumping into the air, we are using our core, leg muscles and balancing skills to control and smooth out a continuous up and down movement while traveling around the ring on a 1200 lb animal! From a standing position, squat down to touch your hands on the ground, jumpy your feet out behind you to come to a plank position, execute a push up, jump your feet back inbetween your hands and jump straight up into the air reaching toward the sky.  Ask you come down from your jump go straight into another burpee.

    Exercise 4 - Warrior 3 Pose - 6 reps alternating legs, hold each for 5 breaths

    Warrior 3 Pose

    Warrior 3 pose is another slow focused movement that takes a lot of gentle focus and core strength to maintain your balance.  Much like if you're looking around in the lounge or checking out what other horses are in the arena, rather than paying attention to your horse, it can be really hard to keep your balance and fluid movements on your horse.  From a standing position, begin to bring your weight into one foot.  Choose a spot on the ground in front of you to focus on, then slowly bend forward, letting your free leg to float up until your body is making a capital T shape.  You can have your hands at your side pointing back toward your leg, out to the side or stretched out in front of you.  All three of these hand positions offer different levels of challenges for your balance.  Once in this position, breathe in slowly, out slowly, for 5 breaths, then slowly lower your leg and stand up, switch feet and repeat!  If you are an at home yogi and have yoga blocks to help your balance, feel free to use them.  If you don't have yoga blocks and feel like you could use a little extra support in this movement, utilize a table or counter for some extra balance aid.

    Exercise 5 - Lateral Squat Jump Burpees - 10 reps

    Lateral Squat Jump Burpees

    This movement combines our first two cardio/strengthening movements into one frankenexercise that will truly get your blood pumping.  The only difference is this time, between each burpee, you will perform a squat jump to the side as if you were jumping over a broom.

    Exercise 6 - Lotus Pose - 5 reps, hold each for 3 breaths

    Lotus Pose

    For a final strengthening pose to calm things down after the torture that is a Lateral Squat Jump Burpee, come to your mat or floor on your stomach with your forehead on the ground and your arms at your sides, palms facing down.  Utilizing your core and back muscles only. Lift your head, chest and arms of the ground and then your legs.  Breathe in slowly and out slowly for 3 breaths, then slowly lower back down to the floor/mat and repeat.


    Again please be sure to do some light stretching after you've completed this workout!  You can do this workout daily, or a few times a week and even combine it with next week's circuit to continually challenge yourself!


    Happy exercising, Equestrians!

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  • Safer at Home Ordinance Extends Closure

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Knollwood Families and Students,

    As of 8:00am Wednesday March 24th the state of Wisconsin, along with so many other states struggling to contain their COVID-19 out breaks, has gone into a state of semi-lockdown. According to Governor Evers, this Safer at Home ordinance will be in place for 30 days and therefore in effect until Friday, April 24th. As an agricultural business, the way we are currently operating will not change. Our full time staff will still be there on their regular schedules caring for the show horses and school horses as they always do.

    This does unfortunately cause Knollwood Farm to extend our closure for another three weeks and two days. While it truly pains us and our entire staff (equine included) to not see all of your horse crazy faces for an even longer period than initially anticipated, we are committed to our social responsibility as a center of gathering for our community and have your and our staff's safety at the top of our priority list.

    While we are social distancing, we will continue to stay connected through our blogs and Facebook posts. Most recently, we've launched our imitate a school horse video competition! You can find details here. Make sure you submit a video via the comments section of the Facebook post. There are more fun virtual activities to come and we hope to see you all soon!

    Stay well!

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  • Video Contest!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Hey, all you new learn at home Knollwood Kids of all ages, it's time for film class!

    We're holding a school horse video contest with YOU being the lesson horse of your choice.  Simply video yourself imitating your favorite, or most dramatic school horse in your choice of category.

    You can choose from:

      In the stall

      In the arena

      In the pasture


    You build the set, you write the script, (if there's speaking involved, and we KNOW some of these horses talk...) and you play the part.  Family members and pets are welcomed as supporting actors.

    Last Tuesday, our last day open to the public, we enlisted the help of some riders to get the ball rolling. This acting company made a few videos to get you started:




     This is one of our favorites, with Emme and Maiya demonstrating Big Frank's unique skill of ALMOST being caught before he manages to escape. Every time.

     We're accepting entries through April 1.

    Please submit your entries in the comments of the Facebook post, and we'll award prizes in each of the three divisions: stall, pasture, and arena. Please add a description of the horse you're portraying, and the situation involved.

    We can't wait to see all your creative videos!

    We can't wait to see you all in person again. 


    The horses miss you!


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