0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

Photo by Hanna Agathen

At 11:00 AM on Sunday, August 21, the first class trotted into Freedom Hall in Louisville at the World’s Championship Horse show for the matinee performance, and in Hartland, the first leadline class was led into the little outdoor ring for the Sunday walk and trot performance at the Knollwood Summer Show.

These 2 events are not unrelated.

The world champion in any event was, at one time, a beginner.

It’s not lost on us that part of Team Knollwood is starting the next group of kids on their horse showing adventures while another part of Team Knollwood is putting our hard working, accomplished kids who have risen to the top of the sport into the ring at the World Championships.


Photo by Hanna Agathen

Wherever you are in your showing career, you’ve no doubt learned some lessons. And honestly, the lessons may be on a grander scale if you are fortunate enough to continue to the show horse world, but they’re really not all that different.

And, some lessons are easier to learn early and often so here goes.


Showing horses isn’t easy.

Those of you just starting out may see the more advanced riders make showing look absolutely effortless. What you’re really seeing is the result of years of hard work, saddle sores on knees, frustration, and probably some tears. It may look like their horse understands everything they want, but again you’re seeing years of hard work and learning how to think and react like a horse

Trust the process of learning, and the results will come. If you’re willing to work for them.


 Cheer for Everyone, Especially Your Teammates.

Photo by Hanna Agathen

When you’re sitting in the lineup waiting for results, clap for riders who place ahead of you. Talk to the people next to you about their ride while you’re waiting.

 While you’re watching the show, cheer for everyone! It feels so good to be recognized.

 At a show away from home, maybe even in Louisville?

Cheer for everyone, compliment people you don’t even know on their good rides.

You’ll make some great horse friends along the way.



 Life Isn’t Fair. It’s Just Not.


Sometimes you don’t get the ribbon you think you deserve, sometimes you get a good ribbon that you know you didn’t deserve.

Sometimes you’ll make silly mistakes like missing diagonals, sometimes you’ll get cut off in the ring by mistake.

It’s all part of horse showing, so ask yourself if you and your instructor are pleased with your progress and performance. In the end, that’s all that really matters.


You’re not always going to win, nor should you. It’s a sport of mental organization and mental toughness. Showing horses requires a rider to control their thoughts and emotions in order to communicate with a big animal of flight who may be just as excited to be at a horse show as is their rider.

Learn to lose with grace so you can learn to win with grace. You can’t be a good winner until you learn to accept defeat with dignity.





Horse Showing Has Lots of Ups and Downs 

Sometimes the weather doesnt cooperate with outdoor shows, so we work out 'Plan B.'

Some shows you feel like you can do no wrong, some shows you think the judge doesn’t like anyone in your family.

Some shows your horse may be lame and you may have to change your steed for the show.

    Margit got all the way to Louisville and found out that her fabulous gaited pleasure horse Charley couldn’t show because he was sore. It meant no rides on the green shavings for them this year, but of course. Margit was most concerned about her horse and his well being.

    Horses will take you to the highest highs, and will bring you back to reality when they’re not feeling well, or are having soundness issues.


      Horse showing requires lots of support staff.

      At the Knollwood Summer Show, we are so fortunate to have a great mostly volunteer staff. Here are a few groups who make it fantastic:

      Concession stand leaders and Knockout workers

      Center ring staff who keep everyone safe

      Announcers who keep the audience informed

      Judges who place the riders and offer feedback where appropriate

      Photographer Hanna who shot memories all weekend.

      Gift basket donors and volunteers who run the program

      Creator of the unique prizes offered to winners

      Barn volunteers who mentor riders and take care of horses

      Families and audience who cheer for everyone.



      In Louisville, the staff behind the scenes is exceptional as well, of course.

      The grooms keep show horses in tip top shape and looking great in the ring.

      Scott, Carol and Lin work horses, train riders, coach at the show, teach lessons at the show, and so much more.


      Parents make sure riders look perfect for their show ring appearances.

        Knollwood families support each other throughout the show.


        Photo by Hanna Agathen

        Horse showing gives us lifelong friends, a life full of great memories, and a lifelong appreciation of these beautiful animals who makes our lives complete.

        Honestly, there’s nothing we’d rather be doing, and we’re glad you’re joining us for the adventures ahead.








        What’s Coming Up?

        September 5

        Labor Day

        We will not be holding lessons on Monday, September 5 in observance of Memorial Day.


        September 6-10

        All American Horse Classic

        Indianapolis, Indiana


        The show horses will be off to Indy for a great show, and the first of the National Finals in Pleasure Equitation.

        Indy is home to the Pleasure Equitation Olympics, and to the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup Finals. Both of these finals have senior and junior divisions, to expect to see lots of up and coming riders competing!


        September 14-17

        Wisconsin Futurity Horse Festival

        New Holland Pavillion, Madison, Wisconsin

        The show horses and 13 academy riders will be competing in Madison. The show features the state championships of academy equitation, so we expect the competition to be deep, as always.

        Please join us for this almost home show!


        Knollwood Fall Show

        Photo by Hanna Agathen

        October 7-9

        It’s coming up fast, and we expect to be taking entries already nest week. We know it’s a quick turnaround, and it’s going to be a fantastic show, featuring the finals of the 2022 Knollwood Challenge.

        Judge Terri Anne Ulmann from Winsome Farm will be judging all classes.



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


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