0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

Last weekend, Team Knollwood traveled to Gurnee, Illinois for the first show of the season put on by the Illinois American Saddlebred Pleasure Horse Association. Held at the beautiful, weatherproof Fields & Fences Equestrian Center, the sold out show kept everyone toasty and dry through a most unspringlike weekend.

We had a great time with our barn friends, both human and equine, and enjoyed the chance to catch up with horse show friends after a long off season. We created many great memories and have some great stories to share!


Knollwood in Numbers

For the first time, both the show and school barns competed at an IASPHA show! With an early season show moving out of the area, Scott and Carol took advantage of the nice show in our ‘neighborhood,’ and brought eight show horses to Gurnee.

We had so many horses that we didn’t all fit in the traditional Knollwood stabling area. With the show horses living in temporary stalls, we enjoyed Knollwood East and West at this show.

Eight show horses, three ‘B’ horses, and close to 20 academy riders made for a fun, full weekend.

Geronimo Rises Again

Horses dream of owners like Susan.  She respects her horses and takes responsibility for their comfort wherever they are in their careers. She uses expensive, sometimes experimental treatments in her attempts to keep the boys comfortable as they age. If they can no longer show, she makes every effort to make them pasture sound so they can enjoy the sun on their backs as retired gentlemen.

Geronimo and Susan forged a bond through several show seasons before he injured himself a while back. After trips to Kentucky for treatment, it looked like he might finally be pasture sound.  Geronimo had other plans, however. He started looking really good, so he started jogging and kept progressing.

Susan and Geronimo showed again this weekend and we couldn’t tell who was happier, Susan or SA Denmark’s Geronimo. This team finished their reunion weekend with a Reserve Championship in the Adult Country Pleasure division.

Three Debuts

Knollwood takes great pride in our lesson program, and this weekend was a special accomplishment for us when three of our experienced academy stars showed in the ‘A’ show division for the first time.


Emma has been an academy equitation star in the area for several years. With wins at all the major shows, she was ready to make the step up to a show horse.


She’s leasing Impressive Asset for the season to show in the equitation division, and she got off to an incredible start. Emma and Fergie won their equitation qualifier and performed a flawless pattern to win the championship as well.

Heather was one of the stars of 13 and under academy equitation last season, and is fortunate to have leased CH Fine By Me for this season. Heather and Tucker will be competing in the equitation division, and we’re looking forward to watching this charismatic team.


Tucker was a little under the weather the first day of the show, so Heather showed Panic while Tucker rested. On Sunday, Team Tucker made its debut, topping the field in the UPHA Challenge Cup qualifier.


Jordan has been a rock star in the academy division for the past few years. Known for her quiet horsemanship skills, Jordan is teamed with the expressive Tura Lura Lura this season.  These two made quite a splash this weekend winning all three of their classes at their first show.

Side note: Also known for her fashion sense, Jordan’s coat was a great reflection of her sense of style.



IASPHA Supports Academy

IASPHA is very friendly to the academy division, offering a full slate of age divisions and championships. Adult riders love this show because they have their own championship on Saturday afternoon, keeping the younger riders in their own division. Because of this, we had three adults competing at this show as well as five junior exhibitors on Saturday.

Our walk, trot, and canter riders did Knollwood proud in nice, deep classes on Saturday.  Highlights of Saturday afternoon were Rachel winning her classes on Heist, and McKailey’s wins on the one and only Baxter.

Sunday afternoon brought the always full and deep walk trot academy classes. With 11 riders in the 9-10 year old division and nine in the 8 and under classes, it was a testament to the strength of the  academy programs in the area.

The 10 and under equitation championship was split, and we’re happy to report that Mia won the older split, and Juliet was reserve champion of the second split.

We’re so proud of all our riders this weekend. From riders like Samara competing at only their second show to seasoned academy stars like McKailey and Mia, these ladies all rode to the best of their ability. Our riders are at many different points of their riding journey, and every one of them showed great poise and ambition in their rides.

Boys Rock!

Our two Knollwood boys had a great show to start the 2018 season.

Matthew turned in some strong rides in the equitation division, finishing reserve to Emma in the qualifier, and reserve to Heather in the Challenge Cup.

Fresh off the reserve national championship at only his second show in a suit, Richie and Tink picked up right where they left off. The dynamic duo won the walk and trot equitation championship, and perhaps more importantly, Richie didn’t grow out of his suit over the winter!



Hanna and Payton

Payton made the trip to show both Robert and Michael this weekend. Payton rode to a strong 4th in her Show Pleasure qualifier but couldn’t show back on Sunday due to a schedule conflict. She kindly asked Hanna to show Robert back, and Hanna’s horsemanship skills helped her show a new horse to a 3rd place championship ribbon.

Payton also got to show a gaited horse for the first time and earned a 2nd place in her pleasure qualifier. She came back Saturday night to win the championship, and cap off a wonderful horse show weekend.



We enjoyed our weekend at the IASPHA Spring Show. Great thanks to the show management for putting on a welcoming, friendly show with a relaxed schedule and great hospitality.

Best of all, everyone made it home safely after the spring ice storm on Saturday and Sunday!

Next up on the show calendar? Academy and show horses will be off to Woodstock, Illinois for the UPHA Chapter 10 Spring show on April 27-29. We can hardly wait to show again!


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