Posted by Ann Wilt

So, it’s got to stop snowing at some point, and that will mean that show season is coming soon. Here in the Knollwood lesson program, we can hardly wait for the academy season to start. We’re traveling to 12 shows this season with our priceless academy horses and their dedicated riders, and it’s going to be a blast. In addition to being lots of fun, academy showing helps riders grow in many ways, both in and out of the ring. Here are some of the reasons why.

Friendships

Strong friendships are forged on the road.

Knollwood is well known for its good sportsmanship from top to bottom as our riders support each other at shows. Whether it’s a great ride or a wonderful learning experience ride, our riders always have supportive instructors, friends and parents waiting for them.

Plus, there’s nothing quite as good as a weekend getaway with hotel pools, horse showing, and your barn besties. Horse show friends are life-long friends.

 

The Horses

Our academy horses love their jobs, and they show it every day. Our riders new to the show ring will enjoy riding one of our older professional academy mounts. Maybe they’ll get to show flashy Dexter, handsome Hooper, or one of the talented Morgans, Klem or Eddie. Even if you should happen to forget everything you know your first time in the ring, these solid citizens will help you remember the way.

After our riders have become comfortable in the ring, we have different horses to challenge them as they progress. We even have some academy horses that double as ‘B’ show horses, and for our most experienced academy stars, even have access to some of the show barn’s lesson horses as well.

What do they all have in common? These horses like going to shows every bit as much as their riders do!

 

Showing Builds Confidence

Once riders are comfortable at home and have shown in one of our in-barn shows, many are looking for new challenges. Out of barn shows present opportunities to ride in new environments,  to move up to ride the academy show horses, and possibly even move up to the show horse world.

Our newest out of barn show riders will start at a show that offers maiden or green classes for those just starting their show education. These classes are offered at smaller shows which offer controlled environments for safety. This levels the playing field, and allows our newest stars to experience success with riders of similar experience levels.

Riders become confident quickly as they become comfortable riding in different arenas with different competitors.  Academy shows present opportunities for riders to compete several times at a performance which allows for lots of feedback in between classes. This leads to lots of progress as well!

It’s so exciting to see the progress throughout a season. Riders are totally different after several shows, even executing individual workouts in championships with composure.

 

Showing ‘Broadens the Base.’

Showing teaches riders to expect the unexpected.

All the group lessons our riders enjoy at home puts them ahead of others, as they’re comfortable in traffic. However, interesting things can still happen in the ring … the horse in front of you stops, another rider comes up quickly behind you, the announcer’s microphone shrieks, a scary plastic bag blows into the ring… You name it, it could happen at a show.

Riders become really good at looking and planning ahead while staying in communication with their horse. It’s a totally different game away from home in competition, and riders benefit from the challenges and successes showing offers.

 

Life Isn’t Fair. It Just Isn’t.

When you show a horse, there are some things you can control, and many things you cannot. Riders quickly learn that you don’t have to agree with results, horses can be under the weather just like us leading to substitute mounts, pants will rip, you’ll forget your boots, you’ll get cut off in the ring and the judge will only see the aftermath, the judge won’t see your fabulous pass…

We live by the mantra, “It’s not the ribbon, it’s the ride.’ Team Knollwood is in this to learn about our horses, and to handle whatever comes our way. Of course, we do it with good sportsmanship, a sense of perspective, and maybe a good laugh.

 

The Clothes

Let’s face it, we’re a little biased, but we think saddle seat riding has the best clothes. There’s nothing like putting an outfit together with your unique look, and getting to dress up all season. As soon as you put on those great show jods and your vest, you feel like you can take on the world. The hair and bow are pretty great, too!

 

The Knollwood Experience

We think academy showing is a memory making experience for riders who want to be challenged. We have riders who enjoy the academy division for years while becoming accomplished riders, and others who move to the show horse world.

The size of our program allows us to offer different options to riders in many different situations. We have horses and instructors who can take you wherever you’d like to go.

Of the 13 riders who have achieved the Triple Crown of Saddleseat Equitation, our program has produced three of them.  We’ve also produced many, many world and national champions. Oh, and we’ve helped raise some really great kids, too.

Please join us this Saturday, February 23 at 6:00 to learn more about our academy showing program. We’ll offer information, demonstrations by some of our academy stars, and refreshments.

Hope to see you there!