0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

After new riders have finished their beginner groups or mini camps, many students start to ask how they can best progress their skills. Whether your goal is to ride at the Knollwood shows, to show in the academy division, or perhaps to make it to the show horse world, many of the principles are the same:



Ride as often as you can.  The more saddle time you get, the faster you’ll solidify your skills. Consider adding a group lesson to your package, or adding another private lesson. Summer riding school is a great way to immerse yourself in the barn for a week with lots of riding every day.

Ride any horse you can. Don’t get hung up on riding ‘fancy’ horses. Often, the ‘less fancy’ horses offer unique challenges. Have you ever tried to get an incorrect lead with Picasso? Enough said.

Ride bareback. Ride in a saddle without your stirrups. Practice patterns. Ride in a game day. Any saddle time is wonderful for building your skills.

Ride makeup lessons with different instructors. Knollwood is fortunate to have many different instructors, and while they all teach the same skills, their methods, personalities, and delivery are quite different. Like horses, you can learn something from every instructor, and it’s fun to mix things up.

Be sure to come to your lesson 30 minutes early if you get your own horse ready, and 15 minutes early if you’re too young to do that.  Come in correct riding apparel with hair pulled back, and tie downs on your jods.

Be sure to mentally prepare to ride, and don’t let distractions of the day cloud your mind. Your horse will notice if you’re not paying attention.

Ask questions! If you’re not sure of a concept, or what you’re being asked to do, always feel free to ask your instructor to explain in a different way.

And, of course, leave enough time after your lesson to take care of your horse. Bathing, walking, grooming, and dressing your horse after a ride are all part of horsemanship. You can never spend too much time with your lesson partner.


Spend Time With Horses

Riding is only part of becoming a horseperson.

Spend time with the horses you ride. You’ll learn so much about them while grooming, tacking, and taking great care of your horse after your ride. Walking your horse out after a summer bath allows for quality time walking and talking with your horse.

We have several retirees in the school barn who love to spend time with people, and to be spoiled. Check with the barn manager, and see if you can groom one of them. Tink and Panic LOVE quality time with people.

Work on chores in the barn. Whether it’s cleaning up behind the slip stall horses, or watering the box stalls, you’ll learn all about how horses live.



Knollwood is a magical place with some of the best trainers in the country working in the arena. Knollwood Kids have the chance to watch them work show horses and teach lessons. You’re welcome to sit on the bench in the arena and watch lessons, and even ask questions when there’s time. In particular, Scott loves to explain what he’s doing with a horse and why.

While you’re at horse shows, watch classes and see what you can learn about the different divisions. See if you can follow the judge’s decisions. Better yet, participate in the junior judging programs offered at many of the local shows. It’s free to participate, and you get to ask the judge questions to learn more.

Help the newer riders you see around the farm. Everyone was once a beginner, and your help makes the new Knollwood Kids feel comfortable. Plus, you’ll feel more confident with your knowledge after you teach it to others.

Help out at the barn in structured situations, too. We’re frequently looking for help with mini camps, birthday parties, Welcome to Knollwood lessons, and summer camp. The more time you spend around horses, the more you’ll understand their world.


If you have any questions about moving forward with your riding, please talk to your instructor. They’re always happy to make a plan to achieve your goals.


What’s Coming Up?


Camp Enrollment is Open!

March 1

All sessions of our Tiny Tot and Summer Riding School are available on our website, www.KnollwodFarmLTD.com . You can also sign up by calling the school barn at 262-367-2391.



Entries Begin for the Knollwood Spring Show!

March 13

Entries will close April 1.



Knockouts Curling Outing

March 26

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Knockout members are invited to cross the street to the Kettle Moraine Curling Club for a lesson. Curlers must be age 10 or older, and the younger members can enjoy some crafting activities while the older kids are on the ice.

The event is limited to 20 curlers, so please sign up soon in the school barn.


Easter Bunny Photo Shoots

April 2

Jelly will be posing in costume to raise funds for the Knockouts. You can sign up here for your photo session with Hanna Agathen Photography.



Parents Night Out

April 8

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Join the Knockout officers and board members for some fun in the barn.

We’ll start signup soon!


Happy Easter!

April 9

We will not be holding lessons on Easter Sunday, and your instructor will help you schedule a makeup lesson.



 IASPHA Spring Show

April 15-16

Come cheer us on at our first show of the season. We’ll be at Beyond Stable Farm in Woodstock, Illinois for the weekend.

The facility is weatherproof, and we’re looking forward to a great show.



Academy Palooza 

May 5-6

We’re returning to Beyond Stable Farm for an academy show for some of our newer riders. Please join us!



Knollwood Spring Show

May 12-14

We’ll be celebrating the first in-barn show and Mother's Day over the weekend.





See you soon at the barn!






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