0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

Remember last Thursday when you were enjoying Thanksgiving with your family and friends? You know, when you chilled out with yummy food, a Packer win, and thoughts of gratitude?

We bet you thought the lesson horses were chilling out in the pasture or in their stalls, munching and napping on their day off.

They were not.

This school horse of the year election has become very important to them, so while you were chilling at home, they were holding debates and primary elections. It seems our horses have become organized, so look out world.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the winners of the primaries, and the parties they represent:



Fred is running for school horse of the year, and is the candidate representing the Energy Conservation Party.

Known to be the best napper in the barn, Fred truly enjoys his ‘last stall on the left,’ which is also a deluxe stall and a half.  This extra space allows him to snore while spread out, and absolutely nothing wakes him up, even cats crawling around him.

Fred exhibits the same aura in the arena, and can be trusted on all occasions, once you get him going.

He’s a true gem, having taught many, many riders diagonals, posting, and relaxation.

Did you know he likes accordion music?

Anyway, he was nominated by Beau, whose legal name is Beaucoup Revival for all pertinent documents.

Beau is the chairman of the Energy Conservation Party for obvious reasons.

Says Beau, “A vote for Fred is a vote for just slowing down.’



Jelly is running for school horse of the year representing the Blonde Surfer Dude Party.

Known for his laid back attitude, Jelly is always up for a lesson or two. We’ve never seen him upset, even when his dinner might be a little late. Jelly loves everyone, from tiny tots to ‘grown ups,’ and just takes things as they come.

Photo by Hanna Agathen

Jelly is a true surfer dude in the arena, staying chilled out even in the busy Saturday arena, and see’s the show horses not as scary, but as exotic creatures to meet.

Jelly loves Knollwood shows, and is quite photogenic. Yup, he’s a favorite of photo shoots, and even played the role of Easter Bunny for photos this Spring.


Jelly was nominated by fellow dude Bilbo, leader of the Surfer Dude Party.

Mac is an honorary member of the party, and continues to practice their mantra of ‘Stay cool,’

Bilbo says,’ A vote for Jelly is a vote for chilled out dudes everywhere.’



Leon is a candidate for the election representing the Kindness Movement.

Known for his big brown eyes and cloud-like canter, Leon has never met a soul he couldn’t get along with. Known in  the Saddlebred Association’s registry as Keep the Change, Sir, Leon is the diplomat of the lesson horses. A gentleman in the arena, he’s taught countless Knollwood Kids the joys of cantering, and or riding a really nice Saddlebred.

Leon loves traveling, especially to academy shows. He’s so kind that he’s even worked for other barns when they found themselves short a horse.

This grand soul was nominated by the Kindness Movement’s chairman Sparky, who also happens to be the 2020 School Horse of the Year winner.

Sparky says, ‘A vote for dear sweet Leon is a vote for treating everyone with kindness,’




Pumpkin is running for school horse of the year representing the Master of All Trades Party.

A relative newcomer to the Knollwood faculty, with four years of teaching on his resume at a place where some horses have 20+ years of experience, Pumpkin has quickly become a favorite of all.

Pumpkin joined us from his last job in Kentucky where he was trained in dressage. Being the brilliant fellow that he is, he quickly learned the ways of a saddleseat lesson horse, and is excelling with his new teammates.

Pumpkin is now teaching everyone from tiny Tots to grown ups, and even traveled to his first academy show this season.

Pumpkin loves being a lesson horse, and is willing to learn anything. He likes Knollwood shows, camps, pattern camps, lunge lessons, and just hanging out with his peeps.

Nominated by party chair Hugo, who could have joined many, many parties, Pumpkin is a master of all trades.

Hugo says, ‘A vote for Pumpkin is a vote for master teachers everywhere.’




Thomas is a candidate for school horse of the year representing the Academy Superstar Party.

Known in the Saddlebred registry as Fort Chiswell’s Aristocrat, Thomas is one of the most important teachers on our academy team.

Photo by Hanna Agathen

Known for his smooth gaits and light mouth, Thomas has become a master of introducing new stars to the show ring. In fact, he traveled to 10 academy shows this season, the most of any of our faculty members.

Thomas is willing to do any pattern at any time, even though he can’t find the way to his own stall in the morning.

Thomas was nominated by legendary Baxter, officially known as A Champagne Toast, Knollwood’s Lesson Horse of the Year in 2021.

Baxter says, ‘A vote for Thomas is a vote for future show riders everywhere.’



The election winner will be announced to the 2023 banquet on February 24 at Merrill Hills.

Be sure to join or renew your Knockout membership during December to receive your ballot.




What’s Coming Up?

Going on Now Through December 31

The Knollwood Sale!

From now through December 31, you can purchase lessons for 10% off when you purchase using promo code HOLIDAY2024.

You can purchase in-person or online, and the promo code must be used to receive your discount.

Instructors and admins are always happy to help you give the best gift of all!



Enrollment meetings

Academy show riders will meet with their instructors during the month to set up 2024 enrollments and schedules.

If you’re not currently a show rider and would like to add a show or two, or would like to include your Knollwood shows or camp into your monthly payment, please talk to your instructor or admin who can get in touch with a senior instructor to help you out.


December 1

Last day for stirrup orders!

Please contact Ann who will order the perfect length and size for your rider.


December 1

Polls Open!

The School Horse of the Year election begins in the school barn lounge. Simply pay your dues to receive a ballot for the big election.

Vote for your favorite candidate, whatever the reason!



December 2

Academy Demo Night

Sign up in the school barn lounge to learn more about our academy program. It’s a continuation of our meeting in November, and it’s your chance to see a few of our academy stars fully dressed in their show attire. Experienced academy parents will be on hand as well to answer questions.




December 9

Knockout Holiday Party

All Knockouts are invited to join their friends for the annual holiday gala.

After a team scavenger hunt that will take Knockouts inside and outside all over the farm, we’ll enjoy pizza and election of 2024 officers and board members.

Interested in running for office? Please talk to Ann, Thea, or Adrienne for more info.

We’ll finish the night with an optional gift exchange. If you’d like to participate, please bring a wrapped gift of $25 value.

Parents are welcomed, and encouraged to join the fun. And, you are welcome to BYOB.


Holiday Closures

Team Knollwood is taking off December 24, 25, 31, and January 1.

We wish you and yours a joyful holiday season!




January 5

7-9 PM

Private Shopping Session with Midwest Saddleseat Consignment

Join your Knollwood friends for a shopping session for Midwest Saddleseat. It's a great way to start a search for your 2024 show attire, and Jen's customer service can't be beat.


February 24

Knockout Award Banquet

Merrill Hills

All Knockouts and their families are invited to join our annual celebration of all things Knollwood.

Dinner, awards, entertaining speeches, more awards, a slide show, and dancing to a DJ, all fit into one evening!

Invitations will be mailed to all current Knockout members in January.

Not yet a Knockout? We’d love to have you! Please talk to your instructor or admin to join.

Please remember, Merrill Hills is a country club, and as such, has a dress code that they enforce.

 No Denim

 Men must wear collared shirts

 Men’s shirts must be tucked in.

Our banquet is a celebratory occasion for all the hard work these riders put in all year. Let’s celebrate in good style!



Photo by Hanna Agathen


See you at the barn!







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