Posted by Ann Wilt

Our spring show last weekend was a wonderful adventure, and the May Classic Show at State Fair Park this weekend will be another exciting weekend of horses and friends.

The Knollwood Show was an adventure with lots of twists and turns.

Saturday went off without a hitch thanks to sunny warm weather, and a  super organized pit crew of Heather, Margit, Erika, and Emma who were joined by the instructors as their assistants.

Judge Shelby Hader had her hands full sorting through large, deep classes in our big outdoor ring.

With our audience spread throughout the shady spots of the arena, it looked like an old timey horse show.

Our Saturday show featured 26 classes with a total of 142 entries. It finished with a rollicking game division, and even judge Shelby joined in the finale.

 

Let’s talk about Sunday.

Originally scheduled to start at 11:00 AM in the little outdoor ring, on Thursday we decided to move the start time to 9:00 AM to beat the weather forecast.

Then the forecast called for all day rain, so we moved the show inside starting at 2:00 PM so the show horses could finish their last workouts before heading off to May Classic on Tuesday.

Heck, we even changed the class scheduling in our attempt to keep the spectator population down in the arena during these days of Covid.

Our customers were fantastic with all the schedule insanity. We cannot thank them enough for their flexibility and good humor about the whole thing.

Oh, and it didn’t even really rain.

 

Our Sunday riders impressed us beyond belief, and Judge Shelby was having a really difficult time placing the walk and trot riders.

Twenty-eight maiden riders showed first in pleasure, equitation, and championship classes. Due to the numbers, we split the maiden riders into five divisions.

Riders were ‘on,’ and rode like they were born to it. Heck, even most of the diagonals were correct.

Leadliners showed next, and the classes were not to believed. The personalities and smiles on our youngest  show stars surely brightened up an overcast day. The contestants even had Shelby laughing, and being as funny as she is. THAT'S quite an accomplishment.

Best line from a leadliner? Before she went into the ring, she asked, “Wait, is this a competition?’

 

Our experienced walk and trot riders finished the day, and really put on a show. Classes were fierce, hotly contested, and fun.

For those of you counting, the Sunday show featured 159 entries, bringing the two day total to 301.

 

This was a weekend showcasing the teamwork of Knollwood.

Our crack parents’ team went into action changing cooking and food prep times when the Sunday schedule was altered, and prepared a rain plan for their ‘tent city’, home to gift baskets, silent auctions, and raffles. Look in Wikipedia under ‘unflappable,’ and there’s probably a picture of them.

Jeni announced from under a tent, in full sun, and from center ring. And she was always funny.

 

Knollwood Kid For Life Shelby Hader joined us for the weekend to judge all events. Even a life long exhibitor and student of the sport admitted the classes were difficult to rank.

Photographer Hanna shot in full sun on Saturday, and in the lighting-challenged indoor arena on Sunday.

Ringmaster Nicole worked on her tan on Saturday and  on staying warm on Sunday.

 

 

The unbelievable personal assistants went above and beyond. They got sunburned on Saturday, were told they’d have to be there at 7:00 AM on Sunday and then were told they could sleep in and arrive at noon. They encouraged, informed, and calmed the maiden and leadline riders, and drove the more advanced riders to strong performances in the ring.

Our customers have the best senses of humor. We changed Sunday plans three times, because we have to admit that we cannot control the weather. Through it all, our customers were patient, supportive and humorous about all the changes. Thank you.

 

Most of all, we owe the weekend's success to the best lesson horses in the world.

They worked in hot sunny and muggy weather on Sunday.  Our walk trot and canter horses entered the ring ready to work for every class. While we gave them mini-baths when we could and took water breaks, they worked through a lot of early summer heat.

Our walk and trot horses were stars on Sunday. With 28 maiden riders, our most patient boys worked for many classes and maintained their senses of humor. Gentlemen to the end, they created many, many memories for their riders.

We are grateful for all of it.

 

This Weekend?

Most of our show horses and eight academy horses are heading to Wisconsin State Fair Park for the May Classic Horse Show. Usually held in Madison, the show has moved closer to us because the New Holland Pavilion in Madison is currently a Covid vaccination site.

We’re thrilled for the ‘home show’ and look forward to a weekend of horse showing and friends.

 

See you soon at the barn or at the in-gate!

 

 *All Saturday photos are from Hanna Agathen Photography.