First of all, Knollwood Kids of all ages and generations are proud, though not necessarily surprised that the original Knollwood Kids, Scott and Carol were awarded the Richard E Lavery Professional Horseman award at the recent UPHA (United Professional Horseman Association) convention.
You can watch the convention presentation and video here.
Requirements to receive this prestigious honor are:
'The Richard E. Lavery Professional Horseman or Horsewoman of The Year shall be a person that has been involved in the training and showing of horses within our industry. He or she shall be a person that has given beyond the call of duty to promote the show horse industry and his or her profession, and to inform, educate, and promote in general. He or she shall be dedicated to the industry in an unselfish manner and shall have an interest in the industry and an interest in the respect of the profession and the professional horseman.'
Our fearless leaders live these requirements on an almost daily basis. (They are, in fact, allowed to go on vacation occasionally.) Whether it’s working from the inside by sitting on boards of industry organizations, giving clinics around the country, helping fellow horsemen, working horses at home, traveling to shows, teaching lessons, or running the business daily, Scott and Carol are a well-tuned machine. They pointed out in their video that they’re most proud of all the Knollwood Kids who have come through the programs.
So, here in no particular order, are things you know if you were lucky enough to grow up a Knollwood Kid.
Horses first, the rest later.
Admit it, you may have thought about putting your tack away before taking care of your horse after a ride on a hot (or cold) day. Bet you were gently reminded that your horse needed bathing or toweling or walking before mere ‘stuff’ was taken care of.
Your Knollwood Mom Might Not Always Be Your Biological Mother.
Your parents can’t make it to the show, but you really want to go? Live out of town but you really want to attend pattern camp? You can always count on another Knollwood Mom to step in. Just ask Mama Budzinski or Mama Berget who are frequently watching over Knollwood Kids until their ‘real’ parents can make to the show. Or Mama Kleba who opens up her home to Oshkosh rider Sofia so she can enjoy a week of camp craziness. Heck, the Bergets even open up their home to our out of town riders during the summer and school breaks. Welcome to the Hotel Berget!
It’s Never The Horse’s Fault. Never.
You know, when Scott utters ‘Stupid horse…’ Yes, that means that your horse didn’t receive enough information from the rider. Let’s face it, if your horse has been ‘Mattonized,’ the pattern boo boo was, in fact, rider error.
Life isn’t fair.
Think you won that class, and received a pretty brown ribbon instead? Did you not get your first pick horse for the upcoming academy show? Did someone pop a champagne cork just as you were starting your pattern on a tough horse? Did Baxter feel especially good one sunny afternoon at Oshkosh and show the road trot during a walk and trot academy class?
Stuff happens that we have no control over, so we had best get over it and move on.
Scott’s not the one you need to be worried about.
Yes, Scott has a voice that carries, and a laugh that fills a room. He is very direct in his speech, and often quite free with his opinions. Don’t let that fool you.
Watch out for the glaring blue eyes of Carol. She runs a business like a tight ship, and nothing scares her. Nothing.
Everyone was once a beginner.
Knollwood Kids of all ages know they get to give back to the newest members of the club. Running with beginner riders, helping with camp, and watching new riders fall in love with the lesson horses is all part of the fun of being a member of the club.
No chore is below your ‘pay grade.’
Every Knollwood Kid quickly learns how glamorous horses are.
Wading out in knee deep water in muddy pastures to rescue floating hay tanks while you’re praying that you don’t fall down OR lose your tall boots in the muck is a right of passage.
Walking pastures looking for lost shoes or halters can quickly become a game, and taking hay out to pastures with friends and hay in the wheelbarrow is lots of fun, even when it tips over.
Barn friends are the best.
Let’s face it, horse kids are different. Their phones are used for flashlights more than social media updates. They get excited when the show schedules come out, and when the school barn gets new brooms. Mud, snow, and horse slobber aren’t even noticed, sometimes much to their parents’ dismay.
So how great is it to walk into the barn and catch up with your fellow horse kids? Spending a night or a show weekend with your barn besties can’t be beat.
And, they become life long friends. Let’s face is, horses aren’t a phase.
Horses Can Break Your Heart.
While we wish our horse friends could live forever, they just can’t. (See ‘Life Isn’t Fair,’ above.)
Some horses leave this world suddenly while some age and just ‘wear out.’ However it happens, it’s tough on those they leave behind, and it’s a challenge to get through.
Knollwood Kids have lost their share of well loved horses including Cartman, Hootie, Louie, and Chip, and it never gets any easier.
Horses are great at keeping secrets.
Having a bad day, or going through a rough patch? Come to the barn, bury your face in your favorite horses’ mane and tell him your secrets. Repeat as needed.
And FYI, Panic, Baxter, Brinkley, and Forest are all great huggers.
Willy is a god.
Don’t think we need to explain that one. He’s been here for 28 years, his jog is legendary for teaching even the smallest rider to post, and he enjoys being a demanding, grand gelding. He’s taken to yelling for his senior food, and lets himself out of his stall to get it.
'That’s way more betterer' may be the ultimate compliment.
Scott’s not one to throw compliments around willy nilly, but if you can earn a ‘That’s way more betterer,’ consider it a great day. If you get a ‘That’s exactly how you do that,’ pat yourself on the back.
We Are Beyond Fortunate
All Knollwood Kids are grateful for the atmosphere created by these fabulous horsemen. Not many kids are lucky enough learn from mentors with such passion for what they do and who are willing to share all their experience to help the next generation feel the passion.
Thank you, Scott and Carol.