0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

Knollwood’s 40th anniversary year was, in Scott’s immortal words, ‘’way more betterer.’ Than what, we’re we’re not sure. 

We are certain, however, that we enjoyed lots of successes, lots of ‘almost’ successes, and plenty of learning experiences.

And fun? We had plenty of that.

So here, in no real particular order, are our 5 favorite stories from 2018, and 5 stories we're watching for 2019!




Knollwood In-Barn Shows

The starting point for our riders’ show educations, the Knollwood events offer friendly competition for all of our students.  So in April, July, and November, Team Knollwood gathered to celebrate the progress of the students in our program, and showcased the best lesson horses in the world.

Highlights of this year?




We introduced the popular ‘Mother Daughter’ division.  Daughters ride the first way of the ring, and the moms take over for second way. To add more ‘excitement’ to the class, we offer a prize for the fastest tack change. Yes, there were a lot of daughters cantering to the rail with, well, their reins and stirrups not quite in order.


We were thrilled to have a 3 generation entry with Holly, Lin, and Oli.

Oli wisely decided to skip the riding portion of the competition, but was there for the photo op. Future equitation star on the way, no doubt.

The November show in particular showcased our youngest riders with a split leadline division of 13 entries. These future show stars meant business, and even did their first ‘workouts’ when judge Sarah Thordsen asked all competitors to show a 2 point position in the line up.




Show Barn Rookies

It was an exciting year for the show barn as four of our academy stars moved up to the ‘A’ show ring.

Maria rode into the adult equitation division with Sadie, and then showed Smyth in the pleasure division.  What an exciting way to break into the adult divisions!

2018 Knockout president Jordan had the opportunity to show Maddie (Tura Lura Lura) in the Country Pleasure divisions. These two learned a lot, and quickly became a team. Look for Jordan to enter the ring this season with a different partner as she continues to enjoy the process.

Emma enjoyed her entry to the big time showing Fergie (Impressive Asset) in the highly competitive senior Pleasure Equitation division. This charismatic duo made their mark quickly, even winning the championship at the IASPHA spring show. Emma and Fergie had a spectacular year in one of the toughest divisions out there.

Heather partnered with Tucker (Fine By Me) in the junior Pleasure Equitation division and acted like she’d been there her whole life.  This polished team even finished reserve in 3 national equitation finals, the Saddle and Bridle Junior Pleasure Equitation Medallion Final, the Pleasure Olympics, and the  UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup Junior Final. She also finished third in the ASHA Pleasure Equitation National Championship for riders 17 and Under.




Knollwood Summer 2018

What a summer it was …

Our summer riding school was a complete sell out, as were all of our tiny tot camps. For our more experienced riders, we offered a Knollwood Show Prep week, a prep week before the ASAW Summer Showcase for our maiden riders, and 3 weeks of advanced pattern camps.

Between spending time with the best lesson horses in the world, crafting with our friends from Soul Fire Art Studio, and just goofing off and making friends, the summer created memories for a life time.

Oh, and the shows … We traveled from Oshkosh to Woodstock with our academy stars, and enjoyed horses, hotel pools, and became better horse people as we learned from the best.



Equitation Excellence

Sometimes, you just have to toot your own horn, and we think we’ve earned it this season.

By the numbers, Knollwood riders earned 12 National Championship or Reserve National Championships against the best in the country.

Counting our Top 10 finishes, the number jumps up to 24.

From Richie in the 10 and under walk and trot division to Heather, Hanna, and Payton in the 13 and under divisions to Ainsley, Amanda, Finn, Emma, and Haley in the 14-17 divisions, Knollwood was knocking on the door of every national final they entered.



Queen Haley

Knollwood Kid Haley has grown from riding Dudley in the walk trot academy division to being only the 13th rider in history to win the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation.

Haley has spent her entire equitation career showing horses owned by others, and she has had quite an education along the way. At last count, the queen has shown 7 horses to make it to where she is today.

This season, legendary Park mare Leila (Brookhill’s Passion Punch) didn’t have a rider, as owner Kerry was expecting a child and sitting out the season. Scott and Carol thought they’d try to make Leila into an equitation star, and as they say, the rest is history.

Haley and the firey mare were a team almost from the beginning and were knocking out patterns together. Leila has become very talkative in the ring, whinnying after segments of patterns. Haley wisely lets the wild woman express her opinions.

So, Haley won 6 National Finals, and was reserve in the 7th.

We couldn’t be more proud of this Knollwood Kid who’s joined the elite Triple Crown Club.  

Fellow Knollwood riders in the club?

 Sarah Thordsen who won in  2001,

and Nick Maupin who did the triple in 2010!




Stories to watch in 2019

Knockout Excitement

Our award winning youth group, the Knollwood Knockouts has a new set of officers and board members.  They’re taking over from the successful administration of Jordan, and hope to live up to her leadership.

They’re already fundraising with a monthly night at Culvers at which a portion of all sales are donated to the Knockouts.

We’re looking for great things from this great group of kids and their leaders!


Knollwood Summer 2019

Signups have begun, and we can hardly wait for Knollwood Summer. It’s going to be warm soon, right?

With half day Tiny Tot camps for our youngest riders, Classic Summer Riding School for our beginner and advanced riders, and advanced show prep and pattern camps for our more experienced riders, Knollwood is the perfect place to start or expand your riding experience.

The best lesson horses in the world are waiting.


Knollwood Knockout Banquet

Our award banquet is coming up at the Legends at Bristlecone on February 9. There’s added excitement this year with the announcement of the School Horse of the Year for 2018. We’re also looking forward to recognizing the achievements of our academy riders at our home and away from home shows, recognizing the contributions of our show riders, watching a slide show about 2018, and listening to enlightening addresses from our treasurer and of course, Scott’s annual ‘State of the Farm’ address.

We’ll finish the celebration with dancing and merriment.  We hope all our members can join us. If you’re not yet a member and would like to join us, becoming a member is easy. Just ask your instructor!


The Youth Movement

We have a spectacular group of up and coming academy riders.

In both the walk trot canter and walk trot divisions, there’s unbelievable depth in the younger divisions. We’re looking forward to a season of many, many excellent adventures!

 In fact, 10 year old Mia won the Knollwood Challenge Final last November as a 9 year old, and will be competing against the 17 and under walk trot and canter riders in the Challenge qualifier for the WTC Final. Watch out, world!


New Teams Are Coming!

One of the greatest things about our leasing program is that riders can show different horses each season to further their education.  We have lots of new teams that we’ll be announcing soon.

Right now, we can confirm one new team for 2019…

After a season of learning from several different steeds, Hanna is reuniting with Fine By Me, AKA Tucker for her final year in the junior equitation division.

We’ll have more news soon!



We look back fondly on a year to remember. 

We are looking forward to more adventures and making more memories in 2019.

  We hope you join us for the excitement!


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