All the Knollwood Kids have headed back to school, and six special ones have started their college careers.
Here’s a look at Knollwood’s class of 2019 college kids!
Robert has been a valuable member of Team Knollwood for many years. He worked weekends at the barn, was a Wednesday helper, and rode in the 7:30 Tuesday class as well. Always quick with a joke, he was a favorite of the Tuesday Amigos, and even pushed one of them back to the centerline of their horse during one of their initial ‘saddle no stirrup’ outings.
Robert always takes great care of horses, and was proud to serve as Tony’s respiratory therapist as well. Oh, and he's famous for his dance moves at the Helper Olympics, and at the Knollwood Banquet!
He’s settling in at Carroll University, and hopes to be riding again soon, when he gets used to his new school schedule and work load.
McKailey has been a Knollwood Kid since she was a tiny 5 year old enjoying her first Tiny Tot lesson with Mary. She rode the one and only Willy, of course. Originally known 'Red Boots’ for her stellar early fashion choices, McKailey has enjoyed countless hours in the barn.
She showed Mark in her first Knollwood show in the Leadline division, and went on to achieve a successful academy show career. She particularly enjoys the Summerfun Show, as it’s outside so her Dad can come and watch her show.
This past season, McKailey was fortunate to be able to lease Maddie, officially known as Tura Lura Lura in the Country Pleasure division. She enjoyed success in her first year out of the academy division
She’s been a Sunday helper for many years, and her mom Judy says that mucking stalls has made her an accomplished snow shoveler as well.
McKailey considers Knollwood her second home, and is taking a gap year working a number of jobs while she decides on her next move.
Judy adds, ‘As a parent, you have to decide if your child is serious about riding and if you can invest in sitting in barns. That moment their perfectly executed pattern brings tears to your eyes is when you know this IS the right decision.’
Kailee is another accomplished Knollwood Kid off to college. She’s been a Wednesday night helper for years, and has been active in academy shows as well. She’s also a Saturday stall cleaner, and spent last summer working full time in the barn.
Kailee is now settling in to the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, where she's studying nursing, and we’re looking forward to seeing her on breaks.
Jordan started riding at Knollwood when she was 8, after some trail riding on vacations, and fell in love with Ethan at her first lesson. She’s been a constant presence at the farm ever since, and has progressed to many roles along the way.
Jordan started out as an enthusiastic helper, and made friends with every new student she met. She was very involved with the Knockouts, rising to the office of president. Jordan has been a camp counselor, a valued assistant at pattern camps, and even became a Tiny Tot instructor after presiding over some great camps.
Oh, and Jordan can ride. Really well.
She had a fun filled academy career, starting with her first show on Brinkley, who she thought was perfect, even with his ‘funky trot.’
Jordan moved on to the ‘A’ Show Horse world, first showing Maddie last year in the Country Pleasure division. All the lessons learned there prepared her for showing the legendary CH Freaky Links this season. It’s actually hard to see whether Jordan or Freaky was having more fun in the ring.
Jordan’s favorite Knollwood memories are Friday nights at the barn when school was over for the week and she got to go to her favorite place and ride with her friends. She especially loved summer nights, taking horses out for their baths while the sun was setting.
She’s also loved teaching lessons and seeing her riders progress. Jordan finds inspiring to see their enthusiasm and watch them learn to post and steer on their own.
Jordan’s Mom Kimber says , ‘ Riding and working at the barn have taught Jordan so many valuable life lessons. She has learned that it takes practice and persistence to learn new skills, and that the privilege of riding comes with great responsibility to care for our equine friends. She has learned good sportsmanship – as a gracious blue ribbon recipient, and when not placing after a nice ride. Most importantly, though, Knollwood is where Jordan has made life-long friendships and has found a barn family that supports and encourages her in everything she does.’
Jordan is attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison where she’s planning to major in neurobiology with hopes of becoming a dentist or orthodontist.
Her advice to young riders? ‘Get involved with anything and everything you can. You won’t forget the memories you make doing new things and meeting new people. I’m so glad I chose to get involved in the Knollwood Knockouts and met so many great people.’
Knollwood college Kid Haley enjoyed her first lesson at Knollwood when she was seven, and showed Willy in her first Knollwood show.
Haley has been a beloved ‘barn rat’ from the beginning.
Her mom Sue says, ‘Riding horses allowed her to relax and be one with the horse. I don’t know how to explain it, but when riding she has a connection with that horse, which I believe allowed her to be more relaxed and allowed her to be more free. Picture after picture we have is of Haley standing with a horse head to head making that connection. Anyone who knows her now and not then would be scratching their head saying, ‘Shy??’ Her tenacity, drive, discipline, patience, and confidence have come from her dedication to horses.’
Haley has been a helper, an active Knockout member, and has shared her unique perspective as an equitation star to mentor many riders.
Her favorite Knollwood Kid memories? Haley lists working as a Saturday helper, lessons with Ann, moving up to lessons with Scott and Carol, lunge lessons, the first time riding Batman and Leila, the first time she showed in a suit, and winning the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation.
That’s quite a list!
It was evident early on that Haley had lots of talent. She had a very successful academy career, with many adventures along the way.
Haley was fortunate to show several horses along her show career in the ‘A’ division, including Batman, Nugget, Felix, Robert, and Fergie to name a few. She won many of the 13 and under equitation finals on different horses before she was paired with the one and only Leila.
New to the equitation division, the game mare and the talented girl enjoyed a legendary year in 2018, becoming the 13th rider ever, and the 3rd Knollwood Kid to earn the coveted Triple Crown by winning the Good Hands Final, the UPHA Challenge Cup Final, and the USEF Medal Final.
Haley is currently working on her core college requirements locally, and in planning to become a Sports and Entertainment lawyer.
Mom Sue’s advice to Knollwood parents?
‘Support your child whether it be as a hair dresser, scheduler, confidant, dry cleaner, nutritionist, or psychologist. We have grown to work as a partnership while away at horse shows. Be your child’s biggest cheerleader, not their critic. Allow them time with their trainers after a class as it’s the best time for their partnership to flourish. Don’t expect your child to win – it truly is about them doing their best and learning from each ride.’
Haley adds, ‘Knollwood has been instrumental in who I am today as a rider and a responsible young adult. Knollwood is my home away from home!’
Ainsley is a legacy.
Her older sister Sydney was riding when 3 year old Ainsley started coming to watch. She was an avid listener, and was quickly imitating all the instructors in the middle while lessons were in full swing.
Fearless from the start, Ainsley's own riding career started at age 5, and the rest is legend. She bonded with horses from the beginning, and progressed really quickly. Ainsley was showing academy at age 7, and made an impact even then.
Mom Tina says, 'Knollwood has helped to build her character, taught her the true meaning of compassion, and has given her an amazing work ethic.'
Mom Tina adds, 'Knollwood has been our second home for 15 years. It's a place filled with impeccable instruction, guidance, and support. I can't imagine our family anywhere but Knollwood.'
While she was learning, Ainsley hung in there with older kids, even attending pattern camps with them. She was the first rider to figure out that a helmet stored in the cooler was super comfortable on a hot morning in the big outdoor ring.
And, when the days got too long, she enjoyed spending quality time with her friend Dozer.
Ainsley was fortunate to show the legendary Cartman (CH-EQ What a Feeling) to a National Championship in the UPHA Walk and Trot Challenge Cup.
She partnered with him to win the Reserve World's Grand Championship of Equitation for Riders 13 and Under, TWICE.
(And once with a broken wrist.
SSHHH, her doctor still doesn't know she rode with the cast!)
Ainsley decided to go on a different path than sister Sydney, and showed the beautiful Ashlyn's Only Charm in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited division. This charismatic team was a memorable team in their years together.
Ainsley is also honored to have been a member of the gold medal winning 5 Gaited World Cup Team in 2018 as well as the USEF Young Riders Team where Scott was one of the coaches.
Ainsley is a Knollwood Kid through and through. In addition to her riding skills, Ainsley had been a mentor to so many hard riding kids, and served as a Tiny Tot Instructor in her high school years. She adds. "I'm grateful for being trusted and given the opportunity to each Tiny Tot lessons. There's nothing better than turning a Kid into a 'Knollwood Kid.'
Ainsley is attending Edgewood College in Madison studying business, and hopes to take on a key role and work with her Dad at the family business, Wild Impact Marketing.
We are grateful and honored to have played a role in raising these fabulous young adults.
Horses and Team Knollwood raise great kids.
We wish them all the best, and look forward to seeing them in the arena at Thanksgiving break!!
Tradition. Honor. Passion.
It's what we do, and we love it.