0 comments / Posted by Ann Wilt

Here at Knollwood, we pride ourselves on our multi-tasking abilities, and last weekend was no exception.  At the home office, lessons were in full swing as riders were preparing the final academy shows of the 2018 season, the IASPHA Fall show this weekend, and the Fall Knollwood Show on November 10 and 11. Lin and company kept the show barn going strong with horse and rider prep for the Royal. Scott, Carol, Carlos and crew were in Springfield, Illinois at the Mane Event Horse Show. More about that adventure later...


The highlight of the weekend at home was no doubt our sold out Halloween on Horseback. 12 riders designed costumes for the best lesson horses in the world, and the competition was fierce. Many of the participants were new to costuming horses, so we were fortunate to have a judge with plenty of theatrical experience as Wendy joined us for the evening.

After prizes were awarded in several categories, the games began with the horses. After musical towels and the hostage race, we’re happy to report that the only rider to dismount unintentionally was an enthusiastic helper who pretty much jumped off Pony Frank to claim the towel.

Following games, we all retired to the lounge for a potluck and to watch the Brewers game. Great thanks to all the creative riders who impressed us with their costumes.  Thanks, too, to the fabulous helpers who assisted with costume creation and with keeping everyone safe in the arena. Most of all, thanks to the best lesson horses in the world who continue to amaze with their senses of humor. Even Forest.




Meanwhile, back at Mane Event ...

Home to the first of the ‘Big Three’ equitation finals, the show attracts the best equitation riders in the country as they start the quest for the coveted Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation.  The field for the Good Hands final was, well, impressive to say the least.

Of course, Mane Event is a terrific horse show in the performance divisions as well. Allison and Kim enjoyed a fun Mother-Daughter weekend of horse showing in Springfield. Kim showed Maddie in the Show Pleasure division, and earned some nice ribbons in deep competition.  Allison showed charismatic Roy in the amateur Park division, and finished with a reserve championship in their stake Sunday!

Ainsley and Millie make possibly the perfect team.

Full of an interesting mix of athleticism, sass and grace, they made their presence known by winning their qualifier in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited qualifier. They returned on Saturday night and rode to a strong third in their stake.


Richie and Tink continued their march to the Royal, winning their 10 and Under Walk Trot Equitation Class. This always enthusiastic team was reserve in their championship after showing off a bit of their cantering skills coming into the line up. These two are having a blast together, and we can’t tell if Richie or Tink is having more fun.


The Good Hands is a Big Deal.

It’s the oldest of the 3 Big Finals, and it’s first. 20+ riders came to Springfield from all over after qualifying throughout the show season.  Team Knollwood was proud to send 5 riders into the competition. Ainsley, Finn, and Haley represented the senior division while Hanna and Payton showed for the juniors. All riders showed together in this 17 and under final.

After all the riders performed rail work and the Good Hands preliminary workout of cantering a figure 8, trotting to the judge, backing, and exiting the ring, the field was narrowed for the championship phase.


All of Knollwood’s senior riders made the cut along with many of the best riders in the country. Hanna and Payton didn’t make the cut against the more seasoned riders, but they gained valuable experience and exposure for the future.

After more railwork and a pattern, the field was narrowed to 10 riders, and Haley made the cut. Ainsley and Finn weren’t in the top 10, but they both rode very well, showing horsemanship skills that made us all proud.

At the awards ceremony Saturday evening, it’s traditional to announce the placings in reverse order. Haley and Leila waited while ribbons were awarded starting at 10th, and they were the last ones waiting, having won the whole thing.

Haley started riding with us when she was 7, and started in groups like many other Knollwood Kids. She showed Dudley at her first out of barn show, and is always up to ride any horse at any time.

Haley has shown a number of horses along the way, and has learned from each of them. From Batman to Nugget to Felix to Leila, the lessons learned have been countless. She's a proud member of the US World Cup Team, and is a sought after catch rider for other trainers.

A few of Haley’s adventures?

Baxter trotted away with her at Oshkosh when she was 9, she had some interesting classes with Felix, and learned that Maddie isn’t really a fan of patterns at horse shows. She never gave up, just added to her experiences.

Haley also loves to work.

She helps with academy riders, and loves spending time with the walk and trotters. She’s coming to IASPHA with us next weekend to mentor the academy stars.

Congratulations to Haley on this wonderful accomplishment, to Scott and Carol for their vision pairing Haley up with the one and only Leila, and to the Honkamps for loaning this beautiful horse to the adventure.


What’s coming up?

Academy, ‘B’, and a couple of ‘A’ horses are off to a sold-out IASPHA show in Gurnee this weekend. We’re looking forward to seeing the progress made through the 2018 season by our 24 academy riders showing at Fields and Fences. Hanna and Haley are joining us for the adventure which includes a costume party on Saturday night. Our own Crazy Mary has designed a costume for Hugo, and he’ll be joined by our trick or treating academy kids for the costume class. Please come down and join us, and be sure to bring a costume to join the party!


Show horses head out for the UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show in Kansas City which runs November 5-10. The final show of the 2018 season is home to the UPHA Classic Championships, and over 70 National Championship Classes. It also showcases the best in equitation, with the UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals and the USEF Medal National Final.

If you can’t make it to KC, the show will be webcast for a fee, and we’ll post the links so you can watch from anywhere, even work.


While show horses are duking it out for National titles in Kansas City, we’ll be looking at the future stars of the show ring at the Knollwood Fall Show on November 10 and 11.

Judged by 2001’s Equitation Triple Crown winner Sarah Agrawal, our show will feature, well,  just about everything.

Saturday will have your traditional classes plus the final ‘Mother Daughter Melee’ of the year, featuring a special award for the quickest rider change. The highlight of the day will be the finals of the 2018 Knollwood Challenge. The champion will receive a custom show shirt from deRegnaucourt!

Sunday will showcase our up and comers, including a record number of lead line riders with 14. The final class of the day will be the walk and trot Knollwood Challenge, also with a custom shirt for the champ.

We’re still looking for help at the concession stand, and with gift baskets. You can sign up for the concession stand here, and for gift baskets in the school barn lounge.

And don’t forget to support Saddlebred Rescue with your $5 song requests. All funds raised help the Knockout’s favorite charity.


See you at the barn, or at the in gate!






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