the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Sure, in many ways, 2020 has been a year we’d all like to forget. Even in these most unusual times, Team Knollwood has found itself surrounded by some of the most amazing people and animals imaginable. We are grateful for many things, and would like to share items on the top of our long list.
The best lesson horses in the world.
We are beyond fortunate to have this amazing group of horses working with us. The boys were pretty depressed during quarantine until their kids started showing up for bridle path visits. Some of them turned into scene stealers while we were trying to hold Facebook live broadcasts. (You know who you are, Vaughn!)
Can anyone forget the day we tried to blow bubbles with them?
The boys were quite happy when lessons started again.
We have a couple of individual thanks from some of the boys:
Sundance and Brinkley are grateful for their retirement plans. They enjoy great care, daily spa treatments, the chance to hang with their friends, and to bask in the company of Knollwood Kids.
Willy would like to thank everyone for not forcing him into retirement, and allowing him to work his own schedule at his own pace while enjoying lots of off time in the senior paddock.
Fred is grateful for round bales, good for both eating AND sleeping.
The academy stars give thanks for private lessons and teaching Knollwood Kids the ins and outs of patterns. They are thrilled that some horse shows were held, as they adore their trips away from home. Best of all, they enjoyed pattern camps almost as usual this summer when they get more attention than anyone would think possible.
The one and only Panic is grateful for the Van Hecke-Kellner clan for making him a lifetime member of their family, and allowing him to give lessons to Knollwood kids. He LOVES the chance to ‘panic’ kids, and was happy to make his walk and trot academy debut this fall.
The humans of Team Knollwood are grateful for:
Technology kept us in touch with the world even while we were closed. We had the chance to showcase horses working, to broadcast from the school horse pasture, to host ‘school horse olympics’ featuring KF staff, and even had an hour of ‘Ask Scott Anything.’ We LOVED everyone's online comments, too!
We have fantastic friends throughout the industry.
Special thanks to Vicky for fighting with beaurocracy to carry off a horse show in July. Summerfun was the first big show of the summer, and it was fantastic.
Thanks to Sammy Jo of Rosetree Farm for loaning us one of her lesson horses while we search for some more horses to support our growing program.
Thanks to Ginger and Keen for not giving up when the Oshkosh Show was cancelled, and reviving the outdoor Glen Valley show. These determined ladies performed the feat in just a couple weeks!
Wow. These parents amaze us in many, many ways.
When we made the call to hold our in-barn shows in the great outdoors, these miracle workers redesigned the concession stand to touch free service, created a tent city for raffles and concessions, and created the first ever “Knollwood suite’ fundraiser.
They have become ‘front desk concierges’ as we embark on our exciting new enrollment system, and have even taken over most of the special events for the Knockouts. Just this week, the Knockouts delivered 645 pounds of food to the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, and held a sold out holiday photo session day.
They are magical!
After lockdown, we had to develop new systems for the lesson program, and our super helpers rose to the challenge.
Our most experienced Knollwood Kids learned to be personal assistants to a specific instructor each day. They brought horses to and from the different arenas while the barn was only open to staff, they sanitized reins and brushes and surfaces, prepped and put up horses AND still managed to keep up with barn chores.
AND, they met every customer with a smile, and an update about their favorite horse.
We are grateful for Richmond who kept us all entertained during lockdown. The wild yellow and white kitten was a perfect distraction during those lonely days, and his #dailydoseofrichmond posts kept everyone up to date on his latest adventures. We’re still a little shocked that he made it to his first birthday.
Great thanks to Dr Rachel for intervening when the going got, well, interesting.
We are grateful for Hazel Belle Boxer Matton for serving as an emotional support dog at home, and as Wonder Woman at horse shows. She’s always ready to lean into you, to show you her tricks, to play with her buddy Richmond, or to just enjoy the party in the arena, even when it appears she’s sleeping on the bench.
Our Academy Team
We’re grateful for our enthusiastic team of academy stars. Their season may have been shortened by a virus, but they put their hearts and souls into their time with the best lesson horses in the world. The smiles on their faces could easily be seen through the masks at Summerfun as they returned to the show grounds.
Pattern camps may have felt a little different, but the enthusiasm was the same. We invented pattern challenges, new games, and enjoyed just being outside with horses, even if it meant inviting Klem into the socially distanced lunch circle.
These kids are just the best.
Big Knollwood Kids Always Come Back
They may go off to college, but they’re always there when you need them! Haley and Ainsley each judged a Knollwood show, Abby, Haley, Jordan, Shelby and Whit filled in for lessons, Kellyn helped us at Glen Valley, and Syd and Ainsley played games against each other after the October show.
We can’t wait to see who comes back to the middle of the arena over the holidays. Masked, of course.
We frequently say that we have the best customers around, and they really proved it in this crazy year.
During the shutdown, many of our customers offered to pay their bills ahead, and many others send funds to Merton Feed to defray costs. Some of our lesson customers even organized a car parade past the farm.
While we tried to send videos of show horses owners, and to FB live some more, we know it was really hard to not see your wonderful horses.
Some show customers had new horses to show, and had nowhere to go! Great appreciation to Margit and Charlie, Laney and Aaron, and to Heather and Sami for their patience in showing your grand new horses!
Special gratitude to the Duerr family for saving Riddle and sending him to Knollwood to see what he wanted to be.
A rock star.
It appears he'd like to be a rock star.
We could not have a more special group of customers from our new academy friends to show customers who have been with us for 20+ years.
Grateful doesn’t begin to describe our fellings, but it’s a start.
We wish you all a healthy Thanksgiving, and we’re looking forward to an even brighter future together.