0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

Show season 2021 is just about to begin for Team Knollwood. While last year threw us some curveballs, we’re looking forward to a more traditional season on 2021.

You may have possibly heard us say that we love academy showing. Well, maybe about 1000 times.

How much do we love it? Well, since we reopened after the shutdown, we’ve been teaching lessons non-stop.  Lots of lessons.

Riders who fell in love with horses before the pandemic  returned to their horse passion with incredible enthusiasm. Riders who started riding after the shutdown have taken to the best lesson horses in the world with great enthusiasm as well.

Trust the process and the results will come.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’re introducing 20 new riders to the academy show ring in 2021.

Some people think we’re crazy, but we’re traveling to 12 academy shows and hosting three in-barn shows at Knollwood. How do you get better at anything? Doing it over and over and over again.

In addition to the riders starting the academy show process, we’re proud that both Emma and Tori will be moving up to the show horse performance divisions.




The academy showing process is a winning one with many, many life lessons learned along the way.  Here are a few of our favorites:



Be a light.

This life skill starts way, way before the rider’s first showing experience. Be glad for others’ successes, be happy to learn from every single horse, view each ride as a chance to further your education, and learn that struggle is a sign of stretching your knowledge and limits.

At home shows, please welcome and encourage new riders, tell a first time rider you loved their ride, congratulate leadliners on their ribbons, give a hard working walk trot horse some of your time....and carrots! Tell a parent how good their new show rider looks, or offer to help with bathing horses during a break.

Away from home, if you enjoyed someone’s ride, congratulate them, even if you don’t really know them. Cheer on your friends, be there for them if things are a little rough. Offer positive comments only, and never comment negatively about anything, or complain about results.

As we like to say,

'Sit with the winners. The conversation is different.'





Your horse show friends will often be your forever friends. Being horse kids, and especially Knollwood Kids, you’re surrounded by other horse crazy people of all ages. Those older than you will offer their experience to guide you, those your own age will be your ‘gang,’ and you can help those coming behind you with your inspiration and support.



Horses are wonderful teachers.

Just like people, they have illnesses and injuries, and they may affect your riding or show schedule. Horses will teach all of us that this sport is really all about the horse. Their health and well being come first, and yes, it will change our plans sometimes. It just will.

Offer support to your horse, or to your friends who may not get to ride or show their favorite horse.



Is life always fair? Absolutely not.

You may think you should have won a class, or you may be shocked that you won a class after an error.

Judges are humans, and can’t see everything all the time. They do their absolute best, but they’re not superhumans with 360 degree vision.

Ride your best, enjoy the ride, learn something, and hope that your trainer or instructor is as thrilled with the ride as you are! Those words are worth more than any ribbon could be.



Academy showing will teach you how to stay cool, calm, and collected when the unexpected happens. Maybe you canter into the ring, maybe you think you’re reversing at the trot and you end up going the wrong way, or maybe you miss a diagonal.

Maybe you forget your pattern, maybe you ask for and receive the incorrect lead, (and here you will hear Scott’s voice in your brain saying, ‘Stupid horse.’) or you trot three circles in one direction on a sandwich figure eight.

Showing will teach you to fix the problem and move on. If it’s too late to fix, move on and focus on your next task. You’ll have a good laugh about the lesson learned later.



Nothing builds confidence in horse kids like entering a ring with a living breathing creature and asking someone to judge your abilities. These kids, some as young as six, work hard at multi-tasking with both themselves and their equine partner.

We have different levels of academy horses for different levels of academy experience.

The initial confidence builders of Dexter, Eddie and Klem can’t be beat for safety and expertise in the ring.

After riders have developed some confidence and are happy thinking independently in the ring, they can move up to the Baxter and Cashew club.

When riders are comfortable with a little more speed, they’re ready for some ‘personality,’ and they can ride the likes of Panic, Heist, and Murphy.

Riders who learn from Scott and Carol can work their way up to the show barn lesson horses for a taste of a real show horse. Alex, Willis, and Sadie offer the most experienced academy riders the chance to learn from the minds of show horses.


Bottom line, our academy show program gives our riders friendships and memories to last a lifetime.

We can hardly wait to start another season of memory building!


What’s Coming Up?

Jacket Deadline

April 1

It’s the last day to order your classic Knollwood jacket in misses and men's sizes.

They’re only $120, and will be billed directly to your account.


Food Drive Starts!

April 15

Please contribute to our annual food drive benefitting the Food Pantry of Waukesha County.

Knollwood Kids of any age who collect a minimum of five food kits are eligible to participate in the Knollwood Olympics on May 15.


First Show of 2021

April 16-18

Beyond Stable Farm, Woodstock, IL

Come watch academy riders as well as show riders compete at one of our favorites, the IASPHA spring show!


Knollwood Show Entries Due

April 25

Be sure to get your entries in to participate in the Knollwood Spring Show on May 22-23.

Your instructor is happy to help you sign up. We’ve simplified the process and will be billing

directly to your account.


Adopt A Street Day

May 1

Join your fellow Knockouts as they clean up Oakwood and Nagawicka Roads for spring. We’re looking for Knockouts of all ages to help.


Knollwood Olympics

May 15

It's Olympic time! All Knollwoodians who contribute a minimum of five food kits for the Food Pantry of Waukesha County are eligible to join a team for this ‘athletic’ event. You won’t want to miss the blind buggy race or the helmet toss!



See you at the barn, or at the In-gate!


Note: We've used plenty of pictures from the archives, so you could see the smiling faces without masks. Plus, you can enjoy seeing Knollwood Kids from years past!



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