The Mane Event Horse Show gets underway tomorrow in Springfield, and with it starts the quest for the triple crown of equitation.
Dating back to 1929, the Good Hands final is the most historic event in the crown which also includes the UPHA Challenge Cup Final and the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final. In order to be a triple crown winner, a rider must win all three finals in the same year.
It's a monumental feat, and we're proud to say that Team Knollwood has produced two Triple Crown winners so far. Sarah Thordsen won in 2001, and Nick Maupin won in 2010. They're the only Wisconsin/Illinois riders to have accomplished the feat, and both started their lessons right here at Knollwood.
The last 2 events are held at the UPHA American Royal National Championship Show in November.
Competition for the Good Hands final starts on Friday morning with Phase I. All riders who have placed first or second in a qualifying class throughout the season are eligible to show in Springfield. Phase I will consist of railwork after which each rider will perform the qualifying pattern for the final which is: canter a figure 8, trot to the judge, and back.
Following phase I, the judges will pare the initial group down to 10-15 riders. Those selected will move on to phase II on Saturday afternoon where the riders will again perform on the rail and perform a pattern of the judges' choice.
The awards ceremony when the Top 10 riders will be introduced and the ribbons handed out will be Saturday evening at 6:30.
Scores are weighted so rail work will count for 40% of the score while patterns will count for 60%. Phase I and Phase II scores are weighted evenly, so every ride counts.
This competition features the best of the best, and progressing into phase II is a major accomplishment for any rider.
Team Knollwood is sending a strong contingent to compete in the Good Hands.
Fresh off their successes in the pleasure equitation finals this fall, Haley and Madison are looking forward to the challenge of the open division.
As winners of the junior finals, Finn and Hanna can hardly wait to show against the best that the equitation world has to offer. Watch for these young riders try to make their presence known in the deep end of the horse show pool.
Lora has made a name for herself in the trimmed equitation this season. With reserve championships at the prestigious Lexington Junior League and the St Louis National, as well as the championship at the All American Horse Classic, Team Sophie is ready for the challenge that awaits.
The event also offers an adult edition of the final.
Team Knollwood is sending Sarah and Frannie to compete in the 'grown up' version on Friday night where they'll perform both on the rail and in pattern work.
In addition to the equitation events, the Mane Event show hosts a deep, deep horse show for all divisions of Saddlebreds and ponies.
Team Knollwood will be well represented in the 5 gaited divisions.
Coming off their impressive amateur championship win at St Louis, Allison and Roy are ready to 'turn and burn' again in Springfield.
Ainsley and Millie wowed us at the All American Horse Classic, and are ready to take on all comers in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited division this weekend.
Kerry will again be a force in the Park division with Leila, and will don her western gear again to show Rudi as well.
Parker and Smyth will take on competitors in the Country Pleasure division, and Scott has several horses going for the Jackpot classes.
You can follow all the action on the USEF Network.
Meanwhile, at home, Halloween on Horseback takes over the arena on Friday night. We're looking forward to seeing 12 of the best lesson horses in the world wearing costumes while exhibiting their endless ability to laugh at it all.