Team Knollwood kicked off show season last weekend with our Spring In-Barn Academy show. Our two-day event showcased riders who have been working hard all winter to advance their riding skills. Both horses and riders enjoyed showing off in front of family and friends as well as our enthusiastic judge.
As we started this year’s show campaign, we created some amazing stories that we’d like to share!
Deep, Deep, Deep
Riders of all ages and level enjoyed classes filled with hard riding competitors. From our eclectic adult classes with riders new to the show ring as well as seasoned show ring veterans to our lead line class showcasing the youngest stars, none of the classes were easy for our judge, ASAW President and lifelong saddlebred exhibitor Vicky Holston. We enjoyed three strong splits of walk trot and canter equitation, and our nine and 10-year-old walk trot championship was one of the best we’ve seen for a long time. Nine riders of different levels rode on the rail and work outs, and it was exciting!
Mother Daughter Mayhem
So, we tried something new this time. Eight hard riding teams of mothers and daughters joined us for the first ever Mother Daughter class. Mothers rode their horses the first way of the ring, and following a most entertaining tack change session, riding daughters took over and showed the second direction.
Keep in mind that there was a delightful prize awarded for the quickest tack change, these are competitive ladies, and let’s just say it was a very exciting change over.
While Nicole and Mia were winners of the class, Holly, Lin, and the littleist Knockout, Oli Shearman, stole the show on Brinkley.
And yes, we’re including this newest division in all of our in-barn shows this season, and have added it as a high point award for the banquet next February!
Show Horses on Display
We were treated to a couple of exciting demonstrations of show horses on Sunday. Since many lesson students ride at times when the show barn has completed their training for the day, these shows are a valuable chance for everyone to witness the beauty of the American Saddlebred.
Our first demo treat was an equitation display by Emma and Fergie, officially known as Impressive Asset. Emma has been a star in the academy division, having grown up a Knollwood Kid. This season, she’s fortunate to move up to the ‘A’ division and will be showing in the Pleasure Equitation division.
She and Fergie put on quite a show as this beautiful horse fed off the enthusiasm of the crowd and Emma’s instructions. We can hardly wait to see them in their debut at the IASPHA show in April.
Later in the afternoon, we were treated to a demonstration of a 5 Gaited show horse when Haley hopped aboard Gabby’s horse Ken Follett. Haley also grew up a Knollwood Kid and enjoyed a great academy career before moving into the Equitation world. She has enjoyed great success and is now a member of the US World Cup team that will be competing in Lexington this July.
Haley showed her horsemanship skills as she rode Charlie for the first time in front of a crowd, and made it look easy.
Knockouts Worked It!
The Knockouts put a lot of effort into preparing for the show and it was evident this weekend. With the concession stand moved indoors to the show barn due to the very un-springlike weather outside, they rose to the challenge and had a most successful weekend. They added bouquets to their list of show efforts and had a strong presale even before the show started.
It was exciting to see so many new parents and members manning the stand. It’s a fun way to get more involved in the club, meet more friends and watch the show.
The Knockouts also staged a great silent auction in addition to the gift baskets. Great thanks to everyone who donated to the baskets and solicited for the silent auction items. These shows are the biggest fundraisers of the year for the club, and we really appreciate everyone’s efforts.
The Rookies Rocked!
We welcomed a really strong group of 11 riders to the show ring for the first time this weekend, and they performed like pros! The group was split by age, and while some of the shorter riders had a hard time finding their diagonals, it certainly wasn’t from lack of trying!
We applaud their efforts and look forward to seeing our newest show ring stars progress as the year goes on. We’re so proud of them!
They Always Come Back!
We were excited to welcome back two of our ‘college girls’ this weekend. Heather and Molly were home for spring break and decided to join the fabulous group of personal assistants in the school barn just like old times. They dug right in with tack changes and supporting the riders like they never left.
Heather was even trusted to ride Willy in a few classes on Saturday, so he wouldn’t be too excited when he entered the ring on Sunday!
Sportsmanship is ALWAYS in Style
One of our favorite sayings has always been, “It’s not the ribbon, It’s the ride,” and it was obvious that the message is being absorbed by our riders. Whether clapping for each other in the line-up, embracing ribbons of all colors, or being good sports about horse changes after more than one rider qualified for a championship on the same horse, these kids were all good sports.
Big Knollwood Kids Give Back
Our experienced show ring riders from both the academy and show horse divisions come on Sunday to serve as ‘personal assistants’ to our newest show riders. Each lesson horse has his own assistant so the riders experience continuity throughout their show day. These mentors make sure saddles and stirrups are adjusted properly, offer pep talks and show ring advice to our up and coming riders. They also serve as great examples of good sportsmanship, and we can’t thank them enough for their efforts.
The Real Stars Have Four Legs
We say it often, but we’ll say it again. These are the best lesson horses in the world.
They’ve worked hard in the weeks leading up to the show and worked hard both days of the event. They acted like the gentlemen they are through lots of riders, many different classes, and plenty of championships. It seems that they love what they do as much as two legged staff at Knollwood!
Finally, a big 'Thank You' to everyone who contributed to our wonderful weekend of horse showing. It takes a village to put on an event of this size for so many people, and we have a great one!
Don't forget to join the Easter Egg hunt this Saturday at 10 AM. Kids can search for eggs filled with candy as well as some Knollwood gift certificates.
Our first out of barn show is coming up on April 14-15 at Fields and Fences in Gurnee. It's going to be quite an affair, with show horses as well as academy horses making the trip. It's just a short drive away, and you won't want to miss it!
See you at the barn!