• Forest Tells All About the Knollwood Fall Show

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Hi Everyone,

    Forest here!

    As the official spokeshorse for the best lesson horses in the world, I’ve been asked to update everyone about our fall show coming up this weekend.


    First of all, we’re thrilled to welcome Sarah Agrawal as our judge for the weekend. She’s a full grown Knollwood Kid who grew up around here, and went on to  win the coveted Triple Crown of saddle seat equitation in 2001. After lots of school, she’s now a physician, and has given up a rare open weekend to judge the show.  I just know she’ll appreciate the lone Fjord in a sea of saddlebreds.


    The concession stand will be located in the show barn, and they’re offering some new menu items. Please test them, and let me know about the quesadillas!


    We will have some bouquets for sale at the show with proceeds to benefit the Knockouts. At only $15, these arrangements designed by our friends at Bank of Flowers will delight the rider in you house, or a friend, or just about anyone.


    Gift baskets and silent auction items are displayed in the back of the arena.  If any of the baskets contain lots of food or anything Norwegian, please buy some tickets for me. I promise I’ll share.


    There are still songs available for some classes. For only $5, you can choose the music for your class, or for a friends.  ALL of the proceeds are going to Saddlebred Rescue, the Knockouts’ favorite charity. I would love to hear some pleasant New Age music to calm my performance anxiety.  I cover up my stage fright pretty well, wouldn’t you say?


    Our friends at the Kettle Moraine Curling Club are hosting an event of their own all weekend, so we absolutely cannot use their parking lot.  Instead, we’ll be parking in the pasture.  Just follow the signs, and remember that unless you’d like a visit from a Delafield police officer, don’t park between the ‘No Parking’ signs on the curve of Horseshoe Bend!


    It’s your last chance to order Knollwood sweatshirts and tees for holiday delivery. Size samples and order blanks are in the school barn  lounge which, of course, serves as the horse show office this weekend. How do I know this? I’ve been there!


    This weekend starts the Knockouts winter coat drive.  You can drop off gently used or new coats in the show barn lounge and they’ll be donated to One Warm Coat. Donations are being accepted until December 15, the day of the Knockout Holiday Gala, of which I’m a star.

    Here’s the really important stuff, the stories we’re looking forward to this weekend:


    Our grown-ups asked for, and received their own pattern class. We have 6 brave adults who going to ‘attack’ a pattern without pesky teenagers around.  Somehow, I wasn’t invited to be in this class. Erika has taken the challenge and will be showing me in the 14-17 pattern class, and I doubt you’ll want to miss this performance.


    We have 13 lead line riders, so we have a split class!

    And I’m in both of them!

    We’re thrilled to have so many young riders who even have a split championship. Watch our smallest riders compete and even perform their first workout in the final where they’ll either 2 point in the line up or drop and pick up their stirrups.


    The finale of the Mother Daughter melee takes place on Saturday afternoon. Sadly, I was not invited to the party, probably because part of it is a race. Fast, I am not.

    You won’t want to miss the race for the fastest team to get Mom off and daughter on.  It’s worth the price of admission, which happens to be free.



    Newish lesson horse Thomas, officially known as Fort Chiswell’s Aristocrat, will be making his official Knollwood show debut on Sunday with Mia in the 10 and under walk trot and canter division. Equitation star Hanna will be working him during the show on Saturday to prep him for his first trip to the big time.


    The biggest story of the weekend is the finals of the Knollwood challenge. Modeled after the equitation finals that took place in Indy, and those taking place this week in Kansas City, our challenge introduces our riders to the qualification process as well as the excitement of a final. Pictured above is Knollwood Kid Haley and Leila who won the UPHA Senior Pleasure Challenge Cup National Final in September.

    Riders have qualified at the spring and summer shows, and more will qualify this weekend.


    The challenge finals will finish the show each day with all qualified riders performing rail work followed by a new pattern not seen before show day. The winner of each final will receive a traveling trophy and a custom show shirt from deRegnaucourt.  Last year’s winners, Maddie and Emma, will present the trophy to this year’s champions.


    Actually, I lied.

    The biggest story of the weekend is our celebration of a fun filled academy show season.

    Whether your showing is currently limited to the Knollwood shows or you’re a well traveled academy show pro, all the lesson horses are proud of everyone’s accomplishments this year.

    Even Mark and Big Frank agreed they’re proud after I explained what proud meant.


    So on behalf of the best lesson horses in the world, have fun this weekend.

    With your family,

    with your barn friends,

    and with your favorite horses.

    Like everyone at Knollwood, we love what we do.



    Tradition. Honor. Passion.


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  • Academy Season Finishes On A High

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Team Knollwood finished their out of barn academy season on a high note at the IASPHA Fall Show in Gurnee, Illinois. Always one of our favorite shows, IASPHA features a relaxed, well run, friendly show in a facility with the same strengths.  Add Halloween festivities to the sold out show, and it’s pure gold.

    Not just an academy show, Team Knollwood traveled to Gurnee with 14 horses including  our three ‘B’ horses, Heist, JD, and Panic as well as Geronimo and Maddie who  who compete at the ‘A’ level. There wasn’t a spare stall to be found, and the atmosphere was buzzing.


    These shows are known for their hospitality, and this edition lived up to expectations. Exhibitors and friends enjoy parties every night during the evening performances. We love them because everyone can grab food during the show instead of waiting for a late dinner after the performance.

    Saturday featured a second party as well, with the annual costume class. Team Knollwood was in the thick of it with Hugo dressed as a Hershey bar thanks to Mary’s imaginative soul.  Tori added to the vision of the costume by designing costumes for Hazel and Billy. We won 5th place, $15, and lots of personal satisfaction. Plus, we already have some ideas for next year already!

    Carol came to the show to put the training horses in the ring, and the show teams competed well at the busy show.  Jordan and Maddie have learned a lot about each other during the season, and they’ve become a compelling team. They won their qualifier and finished as reserve champions in their final.

    Susan and her grand gelding Geronimo have a special bond. This classic team was third in their Country Pleasure qualifier and was reserve in their championship.

    Jodi, Mary, and Laura all enjoyed great rides last weekend, and Jodi even finished with a reserve championship in Country Pleasure for limit riders.

    The biggest story of the weekend was the strength and numbers of the academy division. We brought 24 riders to our final out of barn show of the 2018 season, and they represented all phases of the learning process. We had some of our most experienced stars showing in the adult walk, trot, and canter division, and welcomed 2 new riders to the academy show ring, too.

    Academy classes were big, and they were deep. Riders were competing for spots in the busy show ring, and they had their horses working hard. Judge Whalen really earned his salary at this show.

    Our riders impressed us this weekend. Their progress over the season was evident as they worked their way through impressive classes and earned some good ribbons as well.  Many of the Knollwod Kids were riding more powerful horses than they were earlier in the season, and they looked good doing it.

    A couple of our favorite stories from Sunday…


    Hugo doesn’t go to many horse shows. He lives outside and isn’t fancy. In fact, he’s a little quirky in his personal habits and his view of the world.

    Well, with 24 riders going to the show, we called on hairy Hugo. Maiya gladly took the opportunity to show ‘non-fancy’ Hugo at the show and did a grand job with him. Maiya had him working hard and taking passes off the rail and the team looked fabulous. They scrapped their way to a reserve championship in the 10 and Under Walk Trot Equitation championship, and they deserved the ribbon. Maiya reminded us that it’s always a good idea to ‘make something out of nothing.’


    Cashew came to Knollwood a couple of years ago after some rough patches in his life.  Thanks to the patience of Scott, Carol, and the show barn riders, he’s now enjoying life as an academy horse, even a walk and trot academy horse. Cashew traveled to shows all over the country with the show barn as the practice horse for the last 2 seasons, and now he’s comfortable and confident in his new role. It sure looks like he enjoyed his victory pass with Juliet on Sunday. He also earned a reserve championship with Maddie on Saturday.

    We are especially grateful to Haley and Hanna for all their help this weekend. These two show stars who grew up Knollwood Kids were indispensable. H and H prepped horses, warmed up horses, helped with hair and make-up, mentored young riders and smiled through all of it.  They were rockstars.

    And thanks to everyone who pitched in to help this weekend. We couldn't do it without you!!

    The Knollwood Kids and the best lesson horses in the world finished the season on a really high note, and we couldn’t be happier.

    Great thanks to everyone who contributes their time and talents to make these shows such a wonderful experience for so many riders!


    What’s Next?

    The show horses are leaving for the UPHA National Championship American Royal show on Saturday. Home to more than 70 national championship classes, the UPHA Classic Championships, the UPHA Challenge Cup finals, and the USEF Medal Final, it’s a big deal. 

    The show IS being webcast for a fee, and we’ll share the information soon.

    If you’re a horse show geek, particularly an equitation geek, you won’t want to miss it!


    The Knollwood Fall show on November 10 and 11 is almost here! We’re putting finishing touches on the event, and we’re looking for some help with staffing the indoor concession stand, chili donations, gift basket donations, and Songs for Saddlebreds participation. Please talk to your instructor about baskets and songs. You can sign up for concession stand help HERE.


    Sweatshirt and tee shirt orders are due on Sunday, November 11 so that holiday delivery is guaranteed.  Size samples are available in the school barn lounge.


    Soul Fire Art Studio is coming to Knollwood on Saturday, December 1 for ornament creation. For only $10, you can drop in between 10 and 2 to create your own holiday keepsake. Completed ornaments will be delivered to the Knockouts Holiday Gala!



    You can now sign up for Parents’ Night Out on Saturday, December 8. Drop your rider off at 5, and pick them up at 8 while you enjoy some shopping or dinner. Meanwhile, your Knollwood Kid will be busy making posters for their School Horse of the Year, eating dinner, and playing games with their barn friends. All this for only $10! Please sign up in the school barn with your instructor.



    The Knockouts Holiday Gala is coming up on Saturday, December 15. Join us at 5:30 for caroling with Dudley and Forest and return to the barn to enjoy a scavenger  hunt, pizza, club officer elections for 2019, and optional gift exchange, and just plain old fun with friends. All Knockout members are invited, and the sign up sheet is going up soon. If you’re not yet a Knockout, we’d love to have you.  You can sign up in the school barn lounge.



    Finally, remember to save February 9 for the Knockout Awards banquet at Bristlecone. You won’t want to miss this, especially since we’re announcing the winner of our first ever ‘Lesson Horse of the Year!’



    See you at the barn,

    or at the in-gate!

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  • Two States, One Weekend? No Problem.

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Here at Knollwood, we pride ourselves on our multi-tasking abilities, and last weekend was no exception.  At the home office, lessons were in full swing as riders were preparing the final academy shows of the 2018 season, the IASPHA Fall show this weekend, and the Fall Knollwood Show on November 10 and 11. Lin and company kept the show barn going strong with horse and rider prep for the Royal. Scott, Carol, Carlos and crew were in Springfield, Illinois at the Mane Event Horse Show. More about that adventure later...


    The highlight of the weekend at home was no doubt our sold out Halloween on Horseback. 12 riders designed costumes for the best lesson horses in the world, and the competition was fierce. Many of the participants were new to costuming horses, so we were fortunate to have a judge with plenty of theatrical experience as Wendy joined us for the evening.

    After prizes were awarded in several categories, the games began with the horses. After musical towels and the hostage race, we’re happy to report that the only rider to dismount unintentionally was an enthusiastic helper who pretty much jumped off Pony Frank to claim the towel.

    Following games, we all retired to the lounge for a potluck and to watch the Brewers game. Great thanks to all the creative riders who impressed us with their costumes.  Thanks, too, to the fabulous helpers who assisted with costume creation and with keeping everyone safe in the arena. Most of all, thanks to the best lesson horses in the world who continue to amaze with their senses of humor. Even Forest.




    Meanwhile, back at Mane Event ...

    Home to the first of the ‘Big Three’ equitation finals, the show attracts the best equitation riders in the country as they start the quest for the coveted Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation.  The field for the Good Hands final was, well, impressive to say the least.

    Of course, Mane Event is a terrific horse show in the performance divisions as well. Allison and Kim enjoyed a fun Mother-Daughter weekend of horse showing in Springfield. Kim showed Maddie in the Show Pleasure division, and earned some nice ribbons in deep competition.  Allison showed charismatic Roy in the amateur Park division, and finished with a reserve championship in their stake Sunday!

    Ainsley and Millie make possibly the perfect team.

    Full of an interesting mix of athleticism, sass and grace, they made their presence known by winning their qualifier in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited qualifier. They returned on Saturday night and rode to a strong third in their stake.


    Richie and Tink continued their march to the Royal, winning their 10 and Under Walk Trot Equitation Class. This always enthusiastic team was reserve in their championship after showing off a bit of their cantering skills coming into the line up. These two are having a blast together, and we can’t tell if Richie or Tink is having more fun.


    The Good Hands is a Big Deal.

    It’s the oldest of the 3 Big Finals, and it’s first. 20+ riders came to Springfield from all over after qualifying throughout the show season.  Team Knollwood was proud to send 5 riders into the competition. Ainsley, Finn, and Haley represented the senior division while Hanna and Payton showed for the juniors. All riders showed together in this 17 and under final.

    After all the riders performed rail work and the Good Hands preliminary workout of cantering a figure 8, trotting to the judge, backing, and exiting the ring, the field was narrowed for the championship phase.


    All of Knollwood’s senior riders made the cut along with many of the best riders in the country. Hanna and Payton didn’t make the cut against the more seasoned riders, but they gained valuable experience and exposure for the future.

    After more railwork and a pattern, the field was narrowed to 10 riders, and Haley made the cut. Ainsley and Finn weren’t in the top 10, but they both rode very well, showing horsemanship skills that made us all proud.

    At the awards ceremony Saturday evening, it’s traditional to announce the placings in reverse order. Haley and Leila waited while ribbons were awarded starting at 10th, and they were the last ones waiting, having won the whole thing.

    Haley started riding with us when she was 7, and started in groups like many other Knollwood Kids. She showed Dudley at her first out of barn show, and is always up to ride any horse at any time.

    Haley has shown a number of horses along the way, and has learned from each of them. From Batman to Nugget to Felix to Leila, the lessons learned have been countless. She's a proud member of the US World Cup Team, and is a sought after catch rider for other trainers.

    A few of Haley’s adventures?

    Baxter trotted away with her at Oshkosh when she was 9, she had some interesting classes with Felix, and learned that Maddie isn’t really a fan of patterns at horse shows. She never gave up, just added to her experiences.

    Haley also loves to work.

    She helps with academy riders, and loves spending time with the walk and trotters. She’s coming to IASPHA with us next weekend to mentor the academy stars.

    Congratulations to Haley on this wonderful accomplishment, to Scott and Carol for their vision pairing Haley up with the one and only Leila, and to the Honkamps for loaning this beautiful horse to the adventure.


    What’s coming up?

    Academy, ‘B’, and a couple of ‘A’ horses are off to a sold-out IASPHA show in Gurnee this weekend. We’re looking forward to seeing the progress made through the 2018 season by our 24 academy riders showing at Fields and Fences. Hanna and Haley are joining us for the adventure which includes a costume party on Saturday night. Our own Crazy Mary has designed a costume for Hugo, and he’ll be joined by our trick or treating academy kids for the costume class. Please come down and join us, and be sure to bring a costume to join the party!


    Show horses head out for the UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show in Kansas City which runs November 5-10. The final show of the 2018 season is home to the UPHA Classic Championships, and over 70 National Championship Classes. It also showcases the best in equitation, with the UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals and the USEF Medal National Final.

    If you can’t make it to KC, the show will be webcast for a fee, and we’ll post the links so you can watch from anywhere, even work.


    While show horses are duking it out for National titles in Kansas City, we’ll be looking at the future stars of the show ring at the Knollwood Fall Show on November 10 and 11.

    Judged by 2001’s Equitation Triple Crown winner Sarah Agrawal, our show will feature, well,  just about everything.

    Saturday will have your traditional classes plus the final ‘Mother Daughter Melee’ of the year, featuring a special award for the quickest rider change. The highlight of the day will be the finals of the 2018 Knollwood Challenge. The champion will receive a custom show shirt from deRegnaucourt!

    Sunday will showcase our up and comers, including a record number of lead line riders with 14. The final class of the day will be the walk and trot Knollwood Challenge, also with a custom shirt for the champ.

    We’re still looking for help at the concession stand, and with gift baskets. You can sign up for the concession stand here, and for gift baskets in the school barn lounge.

    And don’t forget to support Saddlebred Rescue with your $5 song requests. All funds raised help the Knockout’s favorite charity.


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





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  • It's The First of the Big Three!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Equitation finals season 2018 is moving along to the final events which also happen to be the most prestigious.  The road to the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation is starting off this weekend with the Good Hands event held at the Mane Event in Springfield, Illinois.

    The Good Hands is the oldest of the ‘Triple Crown’ finals.  Originally starting at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in 1929, it was originally called the ASPCA Good Hands. Early on, both saddle seat and hunt seat riders competed in the event, and a rider could win the final more than once. One rider even won it three times in the 1930’s.

    Times have changed, the hunt finals have separated, a rider can only win the final one time, and the event has moved to the beautiful Illinois State Farigrounds, centrally located to the saddlebred industry.




    A shameless plug for Team Knollwood... Our riders have won this prestigious final twice. Sarah Thordsen Agrawal won the event in 2001 riding the stupendous CHF First Light of Dawn while Nick Maupin was tops in 2010 aboard Coco Mojo.

    Sarah will be judging our Fall Knollwood Show next month, too! 


    Riders have been qualifying all over the country by competing in Good Hands classes where they performed railwork and a set pattern of cantering a figure eight, trotting to the judge, backing, and returning to the line up. A rider must have finished first or second in a qualifying class to compete at the final.

    All finals riders at Mane Event will compete in the preliminary round where they will perform railwork and the same pattern they rode in their qualifying class.

    Following the preliminary rides, judges will select 10-15 riders to perform in the Championship Phase I which consists of railwork. From that group, the judges will pick a minimum of 8 riders to perform the Phase II pattern.

    The Top 10 riders in the final will return for the Awards Ceremony on Saturday night when the placings will be revealed.

    The best equitation riders in the country are gathering in Springfield, and this promises to be a wonderfully deep group of riders. The final is ‘open’ which means that the best pleasure equitation riders and saddle seat equitation riders will meet head to head for the first time since the World Championship in Louisville.



    Team Knollwood is well represented by five riders this year. Ainsley will be showing the always exciting Frankie, and will be showing her beautiful gaited horse Millie in Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited classes as well.


    Fresh off her reserve grand championship win in St Louis, Finn will be showing the elegant Sophie in the final.


    After winning the ASHA Pleasure Equitation National Championship, the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation Senior Medallion Final, the UPHA Senior Pleasure Challenge Cup, and finishing with the silver medal in the Pleasure Equitation Olympic Senior Final, Haley and Leila will be looking to continue their fantastic fall.


    Teamed with the charismatic Robert, Hanna is representing the 13 and under riders in this final for riders 17 and under. She may be young, but she’s a mighty force looking to gain lots of experience.


    Did someone say mighty? Payton and Eli are also looking to make the 13 and under riders' presence known. After a summer of showing Dos in the pleasure division, Payton is back in the equitation ring and is ready to shine.



    Of course, there’s plenty of other horse show in Springfield!

    Richie and TInk are continuing their march towards the Royal, Roger and Rex are showing, Kim and Allison are having a mother/daughter show weekend, and Millie and Ainsley are ready to rack.


    Meanwhile, back at the home office, we’ll be hosting a sold out Halloween on Horseback on Saturday. If you’d like to watch, join us in the arena at 6:00 for the costume judging. We’ll enjoy games on horseback and a potluck in the lounge. Please being a dish to share.


    Our academy. ‘B’, and some ‘A’  horses are heading to Gurnee for the Fall IASPHA show the following weekend. With 24 academy riders joining us for the last ‘out of barn’ show for the year, it’s going to be a blast.


    Add the Saturday night costume class with Hugo as a Hershey bar and our riders as trick or treaters, and it’s going to be a weekend to remember.

    (We're trying to out do last year's costume effort, Forest as a bee with his swarm.)



    And don’t forget the Knollwood show is fast approaching!

    Make sure you’ve got your hair appointments set, your ‘Songs for Saddlebreds’ set up, signed up to help in the concession stand or with the gift baskets, signed up for practice rides, and placed your orders for Woodwear!


    We’re looking forward to a celebration of our adventurous year of academy showing!



    See you at the barn or the in-gate!

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  • Your Pre-Fall Show Checklist

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Our academy team stayed warm and dry at the UPHA Chapter 10 Fall Show in Woodstock, Illinois last weekend. Held at beautiful Beyond Stable Farm, the show is relaxed and social in the new, peaceful facility. Team Knollwood rode strongly and learned many things.

    The star of the weekend was Cashew, officially known as Captain Kaos. Thanks to lots of hard work by Scott and Carol, he has become an academy star, and is enjoying his new role. He and Maddie won several classes in the walk, trot, and canter division before Juliet showed him in the Sunday walk and  trot classes. Team Cashew even won the 10 Walk and Trot Horsemanship Championship!


     The big news coming up is the Knollwood Fall Academy Show on November 10 and 11. The last show of the season gives us all a chance to appreciate the progress all our riders have made throughout the year. It’s going to be a big show with lots of opportunities to help the Knockouts, so we’ve put together a checklist so you don’t miss any of the chances provided at the show.


    Not sure how to make a perfect horse show bun that will stay in, and look great under a helmet? Let our bun experts help you out for only $5. Appointment signup sheets are available in the school barn lounge.



    Whether it’s your first show or your 50th, our practice rides offer great instructions on the ways of the show ring. We highly recommend them for first time show riders and anyone else who would like a refresher. We’re offering these classes on Friday, November 9 at 5:30 or 6:30. They’re a bargain at $35, and you can sign up with your instructor.



    Want to congratulate the rider in your family for their beautiful rides? The Knockouts are selling bouquets from our friends at Bank of Flowers for only $12 during our presale.  Purchase them now with order blanks in the school barn to guarantee availability. We may have some available at the show for $15.  Proceeds benefit the Knollwood Knockouts.


    Does your rider have a favorite song that they enjoy and that motivates them? Our benefit for Saddlebred Rescue lets you purchase a song for only $5 to be played during the class of your choice. Act fast to get the class(es) you want! DJ Maria will be playing songs all weekend! You can purchase your songs with cash, or checks made out to Saddlebred Rescue.


    The concession stand will be rocking all weekend, and is looking for Knockout members who would like to volunteer for a shift or 2.  You can meet fun people, watch the show before or after your shift, and fulfill your club service requirement. This is the last event of the year for service hours, so be sure to get yours in so you can be eligible for high point awards at the banquet on February 9. You can sign up here.


    The best helpers in the world are competing at this show to see which night can create the best gift basket, and they need your help. Please check out the sign up sheets in the school barn lounge, and donate some items to the basket(s) of your choice.  The helper team that wins will receive a pizza party courtesy of the Knockouts, so please show your helpers how much you appreciate their efforts.


    Most of all, we want you to have fun. The best lesson horses in the world will be showing their skills, and you’ll be able to enjoy watching riders from our record setting lead line class all the way to our most experienced riders showing in the finals of the 2018 Knollwood Challenge. The horses are amazing, the riders are amazing, and we love what we do.


    Sit back and enjoy the show!




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