0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

What a weekend we enjoyed at Knollwood and in Kansas City.

We have wonderful stories to tell from the Knollwood Fall Academy Show and from the UPHA National Championship American Royal Horse Show!

The field at the Royal was even deeper than in previous years.

Maybe it was the move to Hale Arena last year, maybe it just shows the strength of the industry, we’re not sure. But, any ribbon in any class was an accomplishment to be proud of.


We’re proud to report that our performance horses all showed to ribbons in the always tough Junior Exhibitor divisions.

Dos, Millie, Charlie, Robert and Garfield all won ribbons with their hard working Knollwood Kids onboard.


 At home, the Annual Knollwood Basket Challenge was a great success this year.

Each team of helpers was given a theme, and asked customers and friends to donate to their theme.  Horse show judge and 2001 Triple Crown winner Sarah Thordsen had the difficult task of picking her favorite basket, and the winner was Team Tuesday with their holiday theme. Tuesday helpers Heather, Margit, Maya, Maddie, Nicole, and Kristen will enjoy a pizza party!! Somehow, we think the Tuesday amigos will crash the party as well…



 In KC, all of our equitation riders made it to at least the second phase of the Challenge Cup and Medal finals at the Royal!

All season, equitation riders around the country have been training and dreaming of success during Royal week. We’re happy to report, once again, that hard work pays off!



 Meanwhile, back at world headquarters, lead line riders have never been more plentiful or looked better!

The Knollwood show featured 13 lead line riders showing in split classes AND a split championship.

Our youngest riders were even asked to perform a ‘workout’ in the line up, when they all showed the judge how to correctly hold a 2 point position. Championship winners in the big field were Zoe and Leighton.



 At the Royal, Richie and Payton made the Top 10 in their UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals, and Finn made the Top 10 in the Medal Final!

 Richie and the great Miss Mheirry Mac (Tink)  made their last walk and trot appearance at the Royal, and finished 5th in the Walk and Trot National Final. (Even with a little cantering thrown in during the preliminary phase!)

They were a vision of horsemanship and poise while obviously enjoying every minute.


Payton and Undulata’s Crystal Illusionist (Eli) have re-entered the equitation world after showing in the performance division for most of the season. This personality plus team earned a great 6th in the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup National Final. Look for more great things from them in the future!


Finn and Sophie finished 8th in the USEF Medal National Final. Featuring the best of the equitation world, the Medal is often considered the most difficult of the Big Three. Finn's placing  was a wonderful way to finish her first season in the senior equitation division!



 The Knockouts pitched in this weekend to raise funds for the club while running the show.

Some highlights?

The silent auction had some really unique items, and the new items at the concession stand were a hit. In fact, additional shopping was needed twice on Sunday as the crown couldn’t get enough of the quesadillas and walking tacos!

Thanks to generosity of Knockout members and their friends, the club raised over $1800 this weekend. The funds will be used to subsidize the banquet as well as the Knockout’s charitable efforts. We also sent Saddlebred Rescue a check for $450 thanks to everyone who purchased songs at our three academy shows this year!



 Not to be outdone by the leadliners, the ‘grown up’ divisions at the Knollwood show were also exceptionally strong.

The adult walk and trot division returned after an absence of a few years. Nancy and Rachel kept switching placings throughout the show. They both enjoyed showing and are looking forward to welcoming more adults to the ring.

After last entering the academy show ring 17 years ago, Kristen showed Hugo this weekend and rode to the adult walk trot and canter championship as well as the pattern championship. These classes were strong from top to bottom, proving that riding is, indeed, a sport for life.


 The Knollwood Challenge Final is the highlight of the fall show. Modeled after the UPHA Challenge Cup and Good Hands finals, riders qualify throughout the year by riding in a qualifying class. All riders perform the same pattern to qualify, and riders placing first or second in a qualifier advance to the November final, and are eliminated from future qualifying classes.

Both our walk trot canter and walk trot finals featured talented, hard working riders who rode hard trying to win the bronze traveling trophy and a custom show shirt from deRegnaucourt.  After railwork and challenging patterns, we’re proud to announce that Lauren S won the walk trot and canter final with Lauren B in reserve.

In the walk and trot division, Mia won the final with Samara reserve.



 So, Ken hasn’t traveled to away horse shows all season because he thought Haley and mom Sue had a routine and schedule that he didn’t want to interrupt. He stayed home this summer and fall, watching the shows online and logging many cellular minutes.

When Haley was getting so close to possibly winning the triple crown, she placed a call to her Dad and told him to get on a plane to KC. Ken made it in time to see…

Haley win the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation.

In one year, Haley and Leila won the Good Hands Final, the UPHA Challenge Cup Senior National Final, and the USEF Medal National Final. She’s the 13th member of the elite club who can call themselves Triple Crown winners.

Knollwood has produced 2 other club members, Sarah Thordsen who did the triple in 2001, and Nick Maupin who won all three in 2010.


In addition to the Big Three finals, Haley and Leila were also reserve national champs in the Pleasure Olympic Senior Final.

They were National Champions in the ASHA Pleasure Equitation Final, the Saddle and Bridle Senior Medallion Pleasure Equitation Final and in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup Final.

What a year for this Knollwood Kid.


Like so many, Haley started in group lessons when she was 7. She started taking private lessons, and the rest is history. She enjoyed a successful academy career, and even won the Knollwood Challenge Walk Trot final.


Haley went on to show lots of different horses in the equitation division.

Some of her horse partners include Batman, Nugget, Maddie, Felix, Butters, and Robert.

This season, Kerry Richter agreed to let Scott teach her great park mare Leila, officially known as Brookhill’s Passion Punch, the ways of the equitation horse while she sat out the season on maternity leave.

Leila has always been athletic, talented, and brilliant. She can also be opinionated, sure of herself, and, well, challenging. Scott saw the intelligence in Leila, while he and Carol knew that they had the rider who could get it done in Haley.


Haley and Leila debuted at Chapter 5 last May, qualifying for the Good Hands and the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup. The rest is history.



The two shows merged on Sunday afternoon when Haley stopped in on her way home from Kansas City.  Judge Sarah introduced Haley to the crowd, and told them about the amount of work and dedication required to reach this level of success.



Triple Crown winner 2001 got to meet Triple Crown winner 2018. It was magic.


Haley stayed long enough to meet up with some of her ‘littles’ who she helps at horse shows, and brought her Medal bouquet to show.



Magic? Yes!

See you at the barn.






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