0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

Equitation finals season 2018 is moving along to the final events which also happen to be the most prestigious.  The road to the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation is starting off this weekend with the Good Hands event held at the Mane Event in Springfield, Illinois.

The Good Hands is the oldest of the ‘Triple Crown’ finals.  Originally starting at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in 1929, it was originally called the ASPCA Good Hands. Early on, both saddle seat and hunt seat riders competed in the event, and a rider could win the final more than once. One rider even won it three times in the 1930’s.

Times have changed, the hunt finals have separated, a rider can only win the final one time, and the event has moved to the beautiful Illinois State Farigrounds, centrally located to the saddlebred industry.




A shameless plug for Team Knollwood... Our riders have won this prestigious final twice. Sarah Thordsen Agrawal won the event in 2001 riding the stupendous CHF First Light of Dawn while Nick Maupin was tops in 2010 aboard Coco Mojo.

Sarah will be judging our Fall Knollwood Show next month, too! 


Riders have been qualifying all over the country by competing in Good Hands classes where they performed railwork and a set pattern of cantering a figure eight, trotting to the judge, backing, and returning to the line up. A rider must have finished first or second in a qualifying class to compete at the final.

All finals riders at Mane Event will compete in the preliminary round where they will perform railwork and the same pattern they rode in their qualifying class.

Following the preliminary rides, judges will select 10-15 riders to perform in the Championship Phase I which consists of railwork. From that group, the judges will pick a minimum of 8 riders to perform the Phase II pattern.

The Top 10 riders in the final will return for the Awards Ceremony on Saturday night when the placings will be revealed.

The best equitation riders in the country are gathering in Springfield, and this promises to be a wonderfully deep group of riders. The final is ‘open’ which means that the best pleasure equitation riders and saddle seat equitation riders will meet head to head for the first time since the World Championship in Louisville.



Team Knollwood is well represented by five riders this year. Ainsley will be showing the always exciting Frankie, and will be showing her beautiful gaited horse Millie in Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited classes as well.


Fresh off her reserve grand championship win in St Louis, Finn will be showing the elegant Sophie in the final.


After winning the ASHA Pleasure Equitation National Championship, the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation Senior Medallion Final, the UPHA Senior Pleasure Challenge Cup, and finishing with the silver medal in the Pleasure Equitation Olympic Senior Final, Haley and Leila will be looking to continue their fantastic fall.


Teamed with the charismatic Robert, Hanna is representing the 13 and under riders in this final for riders 17 and under. She may be young, but she’s a mighty force looking to gain lots of experience.


Did someone say mighty? Payton and Eli are also looking to make the 13 and under riders' presence known. After a summer of showing Dos in the pleasure division, Payton is back in the equitation ring and is ready to shine.



Of course, there’s plenty of other horse show in Springfield!

Richie and TInk are continuing their march towards the Royal, Roger and Rex are showing, Kim and Allison are having a mother/daughter show weekend, and Millie and Ainsley are ready to rack.


Meanwhile, back at the home office, we’ll be hosting a sold out Halloween on Horseback on Saturday. If you’d like to watch, join us in the arena at 6:00 for the costume judging. We’ll enjoy games on horseback and a potluck in the lounge. Please being a dish to share.


Our academy. ‘B’, and some ‘A’  horses are heading to Gurnee for the Fall IASPHA show the following weekend. With 24 academy riders joining us for the last ‘out of barn’ show for the year, it’s going to be a blast.


Add the Saturday night costume class with Hugo as a Hershey bar and our riders as trick or treaters, and it’s going to be a weekend to remember.

(We're trying to out do last year's costume effort, Forest as a bee with his swarm.)



And don’t forget the Knollwood show is fast approaching!

Make sure you’ve got your hair appointments set, your ‘Songs for Saddlebreds’ set up, signed up to help in the concession stand or with the gift baskets, signed up for practice rides, and placed your orders for Woodwear!


We’re looking forward to a celebration of our adventurous year of academy showing!



See you at the barn or the in-gate!


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