0 comments / 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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