0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

Team Knollwood has released their academy schedule for 2020, and it’s full of opportunities.  Some people think we’re crazy for participating in 15 shows a season, but we have a blast every step of the way. We’ve laid out a dream schedule for academy riders of all levels to enjoy the experience of showing the best lesson horses in the world.  Here’s a brief introduction to our schedule and the thought behind it.


Three In-Barn Shows

  Interested in tasting the horse show experience, to return to it, or in just having an entertaining weekend with your barn friends?  All three Knollwood in-barn shows provide a wonderful way to start your experience.

We offer shows on March 21 and 22, July 13 and 14, and November 8 and 9 in Knollwood's own arena with riders showing all of our lesson horses. (Well, with the exception of a couple who just really aren’t into this horse show thing…)

Our first time show riders compete in their own classes, the maiden division. This entry level division lets our new stars compete on a level playing field against other rookies on the most experienced lesson horses in the barn. At their first show, riders get to compete in a pleasure class, equitation class, and an equitation championship.

We make the process super easy to try, as riders at these relaxed shows compete in their jods and boots and a shirt designed for the event. Riders receive their own shirt at each show to remember the event.

Competitors get to enjoy a horse show atmosphere complete with concession stand, gift baskets, demonstrations of American Saddlebred show horses, and plenty of fun.


Entry Level Academy Shows


We travel to four shows away from home that offer the perfect environment for the first ‘out of barn’ experience,  These shows are nearby, and offer special classes for our inexperienced riders.

The IASPHA series (run by the Illinois American Saddlebred Pleasure Horse Association) in nearby Gurnee, offers a Green Division for riders currently in their first year of competition. They get a chance to compete for an entire year against riders from other barns who are also showing in their first season.

The newbies get to compete in horsemanship, equitation, and their own equitation championship at these shows, and even feature end of the year high point awards for the division.

In 2020, the Green classes are held on April 19, August 2, and October 25.

These shows are famous for their comfortable atmosphere with the barns and arena all under one roof,  a terrific concession stand, exhibitor parties each night, junior judging opportunities, and the friendliest staff around. It’s the perfect place to fall in love with academy showing.


The ASAW Summer Showcase in August is another terrific place to start your academy experience. Held at the nearby Ozaukee County Fairgrounds in Cedarburg, the show features its own maiden division. On Sunday afternoon, the newest competitors show in a cozy indoor ring against other first time show stars. The classes are small in the little arena, and the atmosphere is really controlled for safety.

The two-day show offers a park like atmosphere, and the other show performances are held outside, weather permitting. The maiden riders get to show inside so their first show ring experience is free of distractions for horses and riders. They can focus on fun!

Team Knollwood features a special camp leading up to the show, so our riders can learn all about horse showing before their debuts. Riders will enjoy camp at Knollwood for Monday to Thursday July 27-30, and will actually hold camp at the showgrounds on August 7 before they show on August 9. We even offer a $100 show credit for those riders participating in both events.


The UPHA Chapter 10 Shows in Woodstock offer a wonderful opportunity for our inexperienced show riders in a fun environment as well. Held at Beyond Stable Farm in Woodstock, Illinois, these shows offer both Maiden AND Novice classes. So whether it’s your first show, or you haven’t yet won three blue ribbons, this beautiful facility is a perfect spot for the rider starting out. 2020 dates for walk and trot classes are April 26 and September 13.

The facility is new, all heated and under one roof. The show features great judging, a friendly atmosphere, and includes pattern classes in the academy division.


Mid-Level Academy Shows


After riders have competed at a couple of entry level shows, they’re ready to travel to some of our mid-level competitions. The IASPHA, Showcase, and UPHA shows all offer divisions for more experienced show riders, and some other classes become available to our show stars.

The Prairie State Classic show held at Beyond Stable Farm on May 30 and 31 offers a full schedule of academy classes, and is unveiling a new schedule for 2020.  Sponsored by a Morgan Horse association, the show offers competition against some different stables, as the Morgan programs attend this show as well as our usual Saddlebred friends.


For you Klem fans in the blogosphere, it's his favorite show.  In fact, he's kind of a big deal in the Morgan world .......

The show features LOTS of hospitality and a really fun atmosphere.  Morgan competitors like to have fun at their events, and it shows!


The Mid-America Signature Horse Show is held outside at the Ledges facility in Roscoe, Illinois. Showing outside is a new challenge, and the ring is beautiful. Our riders enjoy the atmosphere, the events for exhibitors which usually includes a water fight after the academy performance, and plenty of free food after other sessions. It’s a blast!


Big Time Academy Shows


After some experience, many of our academy riders like to show with the best, and compete at the academy classes featured at the ‘A’ level shows.

These shows offer stiff competition against the best academy riders in the Midwest, and gives riders the chance to show in the same big arenas and in the same ‘big time’ atmosphere as our show horses. Actually, our show horses compete at the same shows, and our show horse riders are there to serve as mentors to our academy stars.


We’re fortunate that Scott and Carol are at these shows as well to offer their experience and expertise to us, making it a real team event. Some of Knollwood's most seasoned academy riders who ride with them at home even get to step up and show our lesson horses from the show barn for an upcharge, allowing these riders to enjoy a really advanced education in a real horse show situation.

These shows are wonderful experiences for our whole team. We all enjoy spending time and cheering each other on throughout the weekend. Our academy riders benefit from the experience of our show riders who came up through the program, and from Scott and Carol who have coached many national and world champion riders in their careers. Heck, our riders sometimes have a triple crown winner helping in their academy classes!


For 2020, the Madison Classic academy classes are on May 23, Oshkosh Charity is June 27, ASAW Summerfun is July 11, and Wisconsin Futurity is September 19.


If you're a Baxter fan, know that these 'A' show are his favorite.  Nothing beats a victory pass in a big arena ...

 We may be crazy, but we love what we do. For more information on how to join our adventures in 2020, please talk to your instructor. We’ll be holding meetings soon with our current academy stars to plan a season of fun and learning. 



If you’re new to the process and interested in learning more, please let us know.  The lessons of academy showing extend beyond the riding part, and we’d love to share them with you.






....and a whole lot of fun.


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