Posted by Ann Wilt

Our fall celebration of all things Knollwood academy was an absolute blast.  As usual, we have some great stories to tell, so read on…

We’re SO Glad They Always Come Back.

Knollwood Kid Kelsey Nicole Farnham returned to preside over both days of the show.  She learned to ride in the same arena, and accomplished feats most of us can only dream about.  Winner of the Worlds Grand Championship of Saddle Seat Equitation in addition to many, many, equitation finals including the prestigious USEF Medal, Kelsey enjoyed watching the newest generation.  Having judged the show a few years ago, Kelsey said she enjoyed watching the riders' progress, and felt like she was part of their growing up.

Always a good sport, Kelsey filled in for Wendy in the Mother Daughter class when the concession stand called Wendy away. And following in the tradition started by Shelby, Kelsey joined the gaming portion of the show, hopping aboard Hugo for the slowest canter event.


Knollwood Kids Always Find A Way.

Knollwood Kid Emilie finances her academy shows through her creative decorating business.  She creates cups, cosmetic bags, and just about anything else you can imagine.  Her creativity has allowed her to attend pattern camps and horse shows.

For the fall show, we were happy to present her unique Knollwood ornaments as trophies to all of our class winners.


We Know How To Play.

Knollwood Kids know how to have fun, and our gaming division was a great example.  Richie started it off by winning the first ever Open Bareback Equitation class, and he ended up in the ride off in Musical Towels event.  Super helper, Knollwood Co-President, and horse show organizer extraordinaire Erika handed Richie his first ever defeat in musical towels.

Actually, Pony Frank is just faster than Duke, but the effort in the ride-off was pretty amazing.  And we’re very impressed with the bravery of our front row spectators who believed those two would stop before they reached the crowd.


The Circle Continues.

Honestly, the best part of these shows is watching the progress of riders as they grow up.  Our leadline division had to be split, and both classes were pretty great.  The eight and under walk trot classes were fierce, and included riders as young as 6 managing the arena like pros.

Our walk trot and canter division for riders 10 and under was a spectacle.  While many of these riders are showing as 10 year olds and will move up the the WTC divisions out of barn next year, we have a rocking group of 8 year olds knocking on the door of the in-barn WTC division.


Team Knollwood!

An event of this size takes a small army to pull off, and we’re fortunate to have an incredibly supportive one. The weekend included volunteer hair stylists, ringmasters, announcer Jeni, concession stand masters Lisa and Wendy and all of their Knockout volunteers, and griller Anne.

Knollwood helpers put together the gift baskets, and they took fabulous care of the lesson horses and their riders all weekend. These ladies (and Richie) make every rider feel comfortable at the show, and offer advice and support, run with leadline riders, and take great care of the best lesson horses in the world.

A special shout out is needed for Erika and Maya.  These two worked ALL day both Saturday and Sunday, and kept the whole show running smoothly while making sure horses and riders were comfortable.  They are amazing and are getting great experience.


The Grand Finale of the Season.

The Fall show finishes each session with a Knollwood Challenge Final. 

Based on the National finals, riders have to qualify during the season by competing and finishing first or second in a qualifier.  The top two places in each of the three qualifiers meet up at the end of the show for rail work and pattern work.  The patterns for the final are more difficult than the qualifier, and are quite challenging.  Riders see the pattern for the first time in the morning, and have time to walk it in the arena.  They have never ridden it before.

On Saturday afternoon, six riders performed a pattern that included circles, diagonal changes, and a diagonal line that included a dropdown from a canter to a trot.

At the end of the highly competitive class, Lauren was named the champion and Emma was reserve.


On Sunday afternoon, the walk and trot finalists rode a pattern that included diagonal changes, a circle and a serpentine.  After a hotly contested final, last year’s winner Mia presented the trophy to Maiya with the reserve award going to Jule.

We love the Challenge Final, because it allows riders to perform under pressure. They get to ride a pattern in competition that they haven’t performed before.  It’s one thing to ride on the rail in a group, but it takes another set of horsemanship skills to work through a new pattern.

We’re so proud of all these finals riders who competed under pressure and did a tremendous job.


Thoughts From The Weekend:

Barn friends are the best.  Riders interact with friends of all different ages and levels, because they have one thing in common, being horse kids. They support each other, love on all the horses, and stay away from their phones.


These lesson horses are truly the best in the world.  All weekend, they performed with patience and good senses of humor. (Although by Sunday afternoon, Sparky WAS trying to tell Kelsey when he thought the classes should reverse.)


From Willis learning his new job to Dudley enjoying the change in his routine, they seemed to enjoy the weekend as much as their people friends did.


We have an unbelievable group of friends and customers. Horse moms were helping kids other than their own,  kids who don’t even ride were helping in the concession stand, show riders worked their whole weekend when they probably should have been doing school work before heading to Kansas City for the finals, and everyone cheered for each other.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to make the show a memory for a lifetime for so many.


What's Coming Next?

Our show horses and riders are in Kansas City competing at the UPHA National Championship American Royal Horse Show.  With National Championships and the last big two equitation finals in the balance, Team Knollwood will be in the thick of the competition.  We'll keep you posted on social media!

Harvest Day

This Saturday you can join our fall celebration from 3-6 PM.  For the admission price of two food kits for the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, you can participate in fun games like sack racing and bobbing for apples. Please bring an extra food kit and sign up soon if you'd like to compete in the big relay race at 6:00 PM in the arena.

Please sign up here if you'll be joining the fun!

Soul Fire Craft Day

Join us in the show barn lounge on Saturday, December 7 from 11 AM to 3 PM when our friends from Soul Fire Art Studio will be on hand to help you make holiday ornaments.  Just drop in, and the helpful staff will assist you in making a unique ornament.


Parents Night Out

Join us from 5 PM to 8 PM on Saturday, December 7.  Parents can enjoy dinner out, or get some shopping done while kids make posters for the School Horse of the Year Election starting on December 1, play games in the barn and enjoy dinner with the Knockout officers and board.  It's only $10, and you can sign up in the school barn.


Knockout Holiday Party

Join us at 6:00 PM on Saturday, December 14 for our annual extravaganza.  It includes a scavenger hunt, pizza, an optional gift exchange, and the election of our 2020 club officers.  If you'd like to learn more about becoming a Knockout officer or board member, please talk to Erika or Korinne.

The event is free to all Knockout members, and parents are welcome to BYOB.

If you're not yet a member, your instructor would be happy to help you join.


Knockout Banquet

We hope to see everyone at the Legend at Bristlecone Pines on Saturday, February 8 for our annual celebration of all things Knollwood.  It sounds like a long way away, but be sure to keep the date open for an event you won't want to miss!



See you at the barn!