0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

We just finished our 2017 academy show season at the Fall IASPHA show in Gurnee.  The organization hosts 3 shows a year at Fields and Fences, a wonderful facility where everything is under one roof.  It’s heated, has the best concession stand food in the land, and can accommodate a large event comfortably.  The show offers hospitality events every night, welcome goodies for each barn, and one heck of a costume class on Saturday night. (More about that later…)

Here are our favorite stories from the weekend where we had a blast.

 Our ’B’ Riders Rocked


Jodi, Laura, and Mary enjoyed a successful season showing JD, Heist, and Panic.  Competing in pleasure classes, these three love spending time with their show horses at these friendly shows.  This was a particularly good show for them, with Laura finishing reserve champ in the Show Pleasure division for Limit Riders, and Mary came in third.  Jodi and JD had some strong rides as well.

Besides showing at these events, these three are invaluable keeping everything running smoothly during big academy performances.  They help us prep horses, keep stalls clean and bedded, wash millions of legs and tails, and offer confidence boosting advice to our up and comers.  We couldn’t do it as well without them!


 Forest Made The Trip

So, it’s always been Lauren’s dream to show Forest at an out of barn show, and we wanted to bring him for the costume class, so her dream came true this weekend.  Lauren is a fan of all horses, serving as the president of ‘The Fred Fan Club,’ and always choosing unusual horses to show at the Knollwood show.  She is a true animal lover, as witnessed by her home menagerie and her success at showing goats with the one and only Mabel.

Lauren and Forest worked the arena, going deep and making passes off the rail.  Some of the horses in the ring looked unsure about the short, rather round yellow horse with the mohawk who was making his way around the show ring.  The rather unusual looking team was rewarded with some great ribbons including third place in the equitation championship.  The audience was treated to a picture perfect workout by the equitated Fjord.

After his championship, Heather who was supposed to ride JD in the pattern class decided to give it a try on Forest.  She talked Forest into cantering a respectable serpentine, and finished in third out of 9 good patterns.  We applaud these riders and their performances of horsemanship and sportsmanship. 



 Forest and The Crazy Bees

So after the Saturday afternoon academy performance, we switched gears to prepare for the main event of the evening, the costume class.  After 3 hours of painting and drying the paint, Forest was transformed into a bee.  (Great thanks to Mary for creating his wings!)

We added riders dressed as bees, and a bee whisperer to complete our “Crazy Bees’ entry for class 1313.

We finished 5th in a crazy competitive class with fabulous costumes.


The Dynamic Duo

Haley and Lora joined us for the weekend to help us with 19 academy riders, a bee costume, and the ‘B’ horses.  Their years of experience made them an invaluable addition to the weekend as they worked lesson horses, washed tails and legs, helped academy riders warm up, perform tack changes, and pitched in wherever they could,

Haley also had the privilege of changing Forest back from his bee costume to his everyday Fjord suit. Our 2 super helpers will be off to compete in the equitation finals at the Royal next week, and we’re so grateful for their time and energy last weekend!



 Grownups Galore

The adult academy division is thriving at IASPHA.  Classes in horsemanship and equitation each had 10 entries, and Team Knollwood accounted for 5 of them.  We had an assortment of ages and experience among our riders, and they all had a great time.




 Rachel’s First Show

Rachel started riding at Knollwood in 2000,  having grown up almost next door to the farm.  She enjoyed showing at the in-barn shows, but could never quite swing out of barn shows as a kid.

Rachel went to college and to vet school in Minnesota where she found a friendly barn to ride.  She’s now a practicing small animal vet in the area, has purchased her first house, and just attended her first out of barn show.

Rachel showed one of our newest horses, Rumours of War, and did a great job.  We’re really proud of her patience and her accomplishments at the first show.



 Friends Helping Friends

So this was a really popular show, and we were short on horses for the walk trot and canter academy division.  Our friend Sammy at Lance Hayes Stables offered us the use of Deker’s All American who was born and started his show career at Knollwood.  (He actually shares his daddy with Dexter and Hooper.)

Maddie made a trip to Neenah for a lesson up there, and then did a practice ride on Friday at the show.  She and Sharky ‘clicked’ at the show, and won all three of their classes in the 13 and under division.

Great thanks to Sammy for helping us out.

On Sunday, our friends at Huntoon Stables found themselves with a lesson horse that wasn’t having a great day, so we lent them our walk trot academy rockstars Klem and Hooper so riders could continue to show.

We live in a small industry, and we try to help friends whenever we can. 



 Our Walk and Trot Future is Bright

We may have had fewer riders for the walk and trot academy performance on Sunday, but we had plenty of quality horse/rider combinations in the ring.

Sofia  has made a lot of progress this season, and finished with a bang at IASPHA.  She and Baxter used the ring well in some heavy traffic and got a little better with every ride as their confidence increased.

We’re super excited for our 2 riders who were showing at only their second show.  Aiden and Rachel made their show ring debuts at the ASAW Summer Showcase in August, and wanted to show one more time in 2017.

They both rode in big classes full of experienced show riders, and looked like they belonged in the group.  Aiden and Eddie gained confidence with every ride, and even finished 5th in their championship of 10 riders.  Rachel had Hugo trotting with a real purpose, even winning their equitation qualifier and their championship.



 Richie and Tink

Richie has enjoyed a great academy season in 2017 as he’s been working hard at home learning to ride his new horse, the incomparable Miss Mheiry Mack.  All his effort paid off this weekend as he made his debut with ‘Tink’ in the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation division.

While they were the only competitors in their division, these 2 showed great progress with every ride.  Tink is all show horse through and through, so she feels incredibly different than even our fanciest lesson horses.  She’s been a show horse her whole career, loves every minute of it, and has a lot to teach.

Richie showed again that he’s a true student of horses.  After each ride, he and Carol would discuss the class and their strategy for the next class, which he executed like a professional.

We’re incredibly proud of all that Richie has accomplished in the lesson program, and we can hardly wait to see the further adventures of Richie and Tink.  Next up for them is the UPHA National Championship American Royal.




What’s Ahead?

The Knollwood Fall Show is coming up fast on November 11 and 12, and it’s going to be a great one.  We’re a little short of help with the concession stand, as the show horses and their families will be in Kansas City at the Royal.  We’re looking for help staffing the stand as well as contributions of taco meat and goodies for the bake sale.  If you’d like to join the fun, you can sign up here.

Hair appointments are going fast!  If you don’t already have yours set, please do so soon.  And remember to bring your supplies:  a hair tie, bobby pins, hair nets, a brush, and hairspray.

There’s still time to sign up for practice rides on Friday the 10th at either 5:30 or 6:30. Please talk to your instructor if you’re interested in this little bit of extra practice.



Our show horses are heading to Kansas City on Friday for the UPHA National Championship American Royal Show.  Home to the UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals, the USEF Medal Final, and numerous national championships, this last show of the 2017 campaign will be a great one.  We'll post schedules and links to purchase the webcast soon so you can follow along.


See you at the barn!




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