2023 has been a year of adventures, accomplishments, friendships, laughter, and teamwork.
Here, in no particular order, are our favorite stories from the year. Please feel free to add your own in the comments!
The Return of Halloween on Horseback
After an absence of a few years, we brought back the craziness of costuming horses. The sold out event was a blast, and was impressive in a couple of ways. The design and execution of the costumes were beyond creative, and we were reminded once again just how much our lesson horses will put up with!
Seeing Hooper transformed into a Hula Dancer, and the always patient Pumpkin changed into a pumpkin spice latte with a barista aboard made the evening non-stop entertainment.
We owe great thanks to the special group of Knockouts who assisted with costume execution and kept the evening of games on horseback fun for all the riders.
At the Fall 2022 Knollwood Show, Knockouts were able to bid for the chance to give Scott a riding lesson. It was so popular with friends from throughout Scott’s career that we had to limit the bidding to current Knollwood Kids.
An all star group of Scott’s riders pitched in $450 for the right to ‘teach’ a lesson to the master. Shelby, Richie, and Brooklyn banded together to create a lesson plan for the event.
Those who wished to audit the lesson paid their tuition for the right, and all fees went directly to the Knockouts. Yes, people paid to watch this.
The teaching panel brought Murphy to the arena along with Scott’s helmet for the lesson.
The lesson plan quickly went out the window.
Scott was that adult student that instructors dread. He asked a million questions to test his teachers, but he couldn’t rattle the panel, as all three of the teachers have learned from Scott.
While Scott acted like he had no idea what to do, and Murphy looked like he might have a mental breakdown, the instructors remained calm and perhaps a bit sarcastic.
Of course, the lesson ended with Scott riding intricate patterns and offering advice to his instructors.
The Knockouts are looking forward to doing something similar next year. Who has ideas for an experiential auction prize?
The Performance Riders Were Stars
Knollwood’s performance show riders kept getting better and better throughout the season.
Margit and Charlie trotted and racked their way through the season with wins at Madison, Summerfun, and Mane Event.
She also showed big, handsome Robert in the show pleasure division. Margit and her charismatic Robert, who rarely makes a mistake, were in the ribbons at every show they attended.
Finn and Jade are a pair of fierce ladies in the amateur 5 gaited division. This is arguably the toughest division out there, and Finn and Jade fought their way into the ribbons. Heck, they even earned ribbons at the Kansas City Royal in the 5 Gaited Amateur 5 Gaited National Championship.
Tori and beautiful Stella continued to make a splash in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure division. This stunning bay mare and Tori are a great match, and they earned ribbons throughout the season at Louisville, FASH, and Summerfun to name a few. She accomplished all this during her first year at college!
Alexa and Joe were a duo to watch in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure division. Calm Alexa and ramped up Joe are a great match, and enjoyed great success in 2023.
This team earned wins at FASH, Summerfun, and the Monarch Championship Show. They were in the ribbons at the big shows, including Louisville and the Royal!
Lifelong exhibitor Tancy enjoyed a great season with her expressive three gaited mare Mia. With good ribbons all season, Tancy and Mia finished their season with a win in the Amateur three gaited stake at Mane Event!
The Honkamps had quite a season. Kerry was busy showing the one and only Henry in show pleasure classes to great success.
Kerry also had the pleasure of showing Uno while her niece Tatum was out with a basketball injury. Lucky Kerry!
Tatum was able to return to the show ring in the fall to show her show pleasure horse, Hershey.
Knollwood Kid Tess joined the ranks of show riders this year, and looks fabulous in a suit.
Tess has been fortunate to gain experience on several horses this season, and is looking forward to a grand 2024!
Senior Equitation Stars
Knollwood’s Senior Equitation riders rode a heck of a season.
Maiya and Riddle enjoyed a successful first year in the senior division. These two were in the ribbons all season, and were very successful in the pleasure equitation national finals.
Maiya and ‘Rescue Riddle’ rode to the silver medal in the Senior Pleasure Equitation Olympics, and won the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup National Final for senior riders.
It’s quite an accomplishment for a 14 year old!
Mia has a very zen way of being around horses, and Thaylee doesn’t own a zen bone in her body. The match is perfect.
Mia and wild woman Thaylee have become quite an equitation team in 2023, with great performances earning wins at Mid America Signature, and Reserve Equitation Championships at the Monarch National Championship and at Mid America Mane Event.
Natalie has always wanted to be an equitation rider, and spent her offseason working really hard.
She worked through many three lesson a day Saturdays, lunge lessons, and riding every chance she could.
She and Mariah became a team, and earned many good ribbons in deep company, including winning the Pleasure Equitation Championship at Summerfun.
Natalie worked super hard to win the Horsemanship Challenge at Summerfun as well. She had to ride horses new to her and compete against others while exhibiting their show skills.
Natalie rocked it, and received the trophy from last year’s winner, Richie.
Payton and Gigi were meant for each other. The fiery mare and the dynamic cowgirl in a riding suit present a picture you can’t take your eyes away from.
While they both had days when things didn’t click quite right, when it did click at the end of the season, they were glorious.
Payton and Gigi were 5th in the USEF Medal National Final, were 4th in the Good Hands National Final, and were reserve national champs in the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Final.
Richie is a horseman.
You may remember Richie working with the great Leila, who always had opinions about everything. He took what he learned from the queen and applied the lessons to his new horse Doc.
As with everything involving horses, Richie’s season didn’t move in a straight line.
Doc turned up lame on the way to the ring in Louisville and a trainer friend offered a horse so Richie could qualify for the championship. On a horse he’d never ridden, and who had just finished a class, Richie pulled off a 5th place ribbon to qualify.
Doc needed some more time, and couldn’t compete in the championship, and Brooklyn’s family offered Gamora to Richie. Still an equitation work in progress at the senior level, Gamora and Richie were up for the challenge.
Then she pitched a shoe in the ring.
After searching and searching, the shoe couldn’t be found. Richie rode in the World’s Grand Championship of Senior equitation on a horse graciously shared with him, and who was only wearing a pad on one front.
Richie made the workout, and displayed pure horsemanship to work through a difficult workout and exit the ring with an 8th place ribbon.
In addition to his Louisville horsemanship demo, Richie and Doc finished 8th in the USEF Medal Final, 3rd in the UPHA Challenge Cup Senior Final, and won the Good Hands National Final.
He will also travel to South Africa in January, 2025 to represent the US at the Saddleseat World Cup.
New Lesson Horses
2023 brought us two new wonderful lesson horses.
Earl is a beautiful, HUGE gray quarter horse who we have named Earl Grey.
He is calm as can be, gets along with all the boys in the pasture, and is pretty perfect.
Mulligan is an approximately 19 year old registered Saddlebred that a Minnesota trainer rescued from a kill pen in Kansas.
Thanks to great detective work by Nikki Duerr, we now know that his registered name is An American Soldier. He’s getting stronger every day, loves his new life, is addicted to mints, and adores everyone he meets.
A Knockout Year to Remember
The Knockouts have been busy, really busy.
The annual banquet was held at a new venue last year. Merrill Hills welcomed the group, and the party was grand.
Members enjoyed a trip to the Kettle Moraine Curling Club to learn a new sport, adopted two families for the holidays, and held a super successful food drive in May.
The Knockouts donated many, many food kits to the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, and enjoyed the Knollwood Olympics to celebrate the accomplishment.
Club members elected new board members at their holiday party, and are currently voting for School Horse of the Year. The winner will be announced at the banquet.
Not yet a member? We’d love to have you!
Knollwood Summer 2023
There's no better time to be a Knollwood Kid than in the summer. No school, long sunny days spent with the horses, riding at camp, immersion in pattern camps, horse shows, and helping with camps. What could be better?
Knollwood Summer 2023 featured sold out camps from Tiny Tot Camps to advanced pattern camps.
Kids rode bareback, played games on horseback, learned many many things about horses, and improved their riding skills.
We can hardly wait for Knollwood Summer 2024!
Junior Equitation Riders Rule
Our 13 and under equitation riders earned their rewards for the hard work they have put in.
Amelia, Brooklyn, Maddie, and Shaye made Team Knollwood proud over and over again.
At the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup Final, Shaye and Teddy finished first, Brooklyn and Gamora were second, Amelia and Garfield were third, and Maddie and Eva were 4th.
At the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion Final, Shaye was the champion, Brooklyn was reserve, and Maddie was 4th.
At the Pleasure Olympics, Shaye was the gold medal winner, Brooklyn took home the silver, and Maddie earned the bronze medal.
These ladies are great competitors and teammates, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.
Academy Show Fun
Yup, we traveled to eleven academy shows, and what a time we had.
In addition to learning countless lessons about sportsmanship and competition, we enjoyed every minute.
We held a beautiful kitten for ransom, but returned him after the owner laughed at our $10,000 ransom note! We also fashioned a bib for Nacho so he wouldn’t eat his reins, we hugged inflatable unicorns, and even ate tacos in the warm up ring while mounted.
We also learned a lot about horses and ourselves, made friends from other barns, and learned the importance of good sportsmanship for all.
We can hardly wait to kick off the 2024 season, and introduce nine new riders to the joys of academy showing.
Izzy Joins the Matton Family
Scott and Carol adopted a beautiful boxer mix puppy in the fall, and named her Izzy. Currently in training with the one and only Hazel Belle Boxer Matton, Izzy is currently learning how to be a lovely dog.
She’s a gem.