Yes, we’ve turned the iPad over to the lesson horses, who are the real stars of the show this weekend. We gave them a list of questions, and pasture leader Hugo assigned who should answer each.
What’s with all the pattern classes on Friday?
I’m proudly the current chairman of the pattern horse department.
We love patterns, and all the things they teach riders about horses’ minds and bodies.
We’re complicated creatures, and will do almost anything if a rider asks us in a way we understand. Sometimes, a rider will make a pattern look really simple, and sometimes communication gets a tad, shall we say, confuzzled, and the result looks more creative than correct.
We turn out riders who understand how we think, and how our bodies work. My department couldn’t be prouder of the riders we turn out.
What’s the Knollwood Challenge?
As the holder of the corner office, and of the most wins in Knollwood Challenge history, I’m uniquely qualified to take this one.
The Knollwood Challenge is our own equitation final modeled after the UPHA Challenge Cup Final.
We hold qualifying classes at each show for both walk trot and walk trot canter divisions. Each qualifier features rail work and a predetermined pattern.
The riders who finish first and second in each qualifying class will advance to the final at the October show.
The finalists will ride railwork at the fall show, followed by a challenging pattern. The winner of the final receives a traveling trophy, and a custom show shirt from deRegnaucourt, who outfits our show barn riders.
What’s a maiden class?
Legend Sparky here.
It’s for riders who have never shown before, and we love it.
As the department head for the beginner horse group, we enjoy introducing new riders to the show ring. We sometimes ‘take the reins’ for riders who forget what to do next. My best employees work in most of the maiden classes, as they’re the experts in all things beginner.
Shout out to Fred, Pumpkin, Bilbo, Jelly, Hugo, and Hooper. Of course, I’ll be there in all splits, keeping an eye on my boys.
What’s the Premier walk trot division about, and why do these small riders compete in the BIG arena?
Academy star Cashew here.
This is a great set of classes, where we continue to educate riders who have shown away from home in the academy division.
These sometimes cocky young stars get to experience the big outdoor ring with all of its distractions such as cars on Oakwood Road, hawks overhead looking for lunch, and an enthusiastic crowd along the rail.
We get to challenge the riders in a safe environment as we continue to educate them in the ways of the show ring.
And, it’s great to not have to canter, too…
What’s the difference between horsemanship and equitation classes?
First of all, I’m adorable. I am a little worried that the new guy Earl may give me a run for the money in the handsome department, but I digress.
Horsemanship is, unfortunately, not judged on how beautiful the horse is. Rather, it’s judged on what the rider does with the horse.
The rider should find the horse’s best speed to trot, keep his head up at an appropriate height for his or her build, and get the horse around the arena wisely.
Equitation is judged solely on the rider’s position and skills.
Body position is very important, because proper position is the most efficient way to ride a horse. If the rider is out of balance, so is the horse.
Riders are judged on those pesky diagonals, body position, use of the voice and bridle, and their ability to plan ahead.
What is a personal assistant?
Dear Sweet Leon here.
Personal assistants are the best.
They’re experienced riders who volunteer their time to take care of a lesson horse all day on Sunday.
They give us a spa treatment before the show, and are in charge of our tack changes, rider changes, and getting us in and out of the ring.
They keep us comfortable, making sure we have water breaks, are safe from flies, and even get baths during the day if it’s hot.
We couldn’t do it without these heroes.
Who’s Judging this affair?
Duke here. Really.
Jeni Burton-Kleba is handling judging duties for the weekend.
Jeni is a lifelong saddlebred exhibitor, and was my teammate in a game day event a couple of years ago.
This woman can RIDE, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together.
I think she’ll be looking for riders who really get the most out of their horses this weekend.
Who’s taking show pictures this weekend?
Pony Frank here.
All around Knollwood Kid and great photographer Hanna Agathen is capturing memories this weekend. She’ll be in the ring all three days, and she’s really great at catching moments that mere mortals could miss.
Oh, and she’s always had a great sense of humor, as evidenced in this camp pic of little Hanna.
Ha Ha Ha. Put the cone on the pony’s head.
I deserved it.
Who is the concession stand sponsor?
Knollwood Kid Shelby Hader has sponsored the concession stand in memory of her father Steve, who passed away earlier this year.
While she can’t be here this weekend as she’s enjoying a trip to Germany, she’d want to tell everyone to ride hard, and that you can do anything when you’re on a horse.
Former Knollwood equitation rider Shelby is a graduate of Lawrence University, and is currently a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
She is an honorary member of the Tuesday night academy group, instructs when Ann is at horse shows, and took great care of me at the Summerfun horse show in July.
Hooper has been assigned the miscellaneous section, as it resembles his unique style of mental organization.
Parking lots will fill in fast. Our friends at the Kettle Moraine Curling Club have allowed us to use their parking lot for the show.
You can also park on Horseshoe Bend, but PLEASE do not park between the posted ‘No Parking’ signs unless you’d like to meet a Delafield Police officer.
Plus, it’s a scary blind turn in the best of times, and with all the pedestrian traffic this weekend, please use the curling club lot.
The concession stand and gift baskets all benefit the Knollwood Knockouts. The money is used to fund their charitable activities and their awards banquet.
I’m going to campaign for horse of the year for 2023!
Finally, from Pumpkin, who is everyone's friend: