• We Love Academy Showing.

    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.


    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!

    Read more

  • Get Your Passport Stamped!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Here at Knollwood, we’re always looking for new ideas and new ways to enjoy our horses.  Our latest stroke of genius to open up Friday nights to some creative classes with an array of instructors.



    On a rotating basis, so you can still enjoy your  wild social life, we’re offering Ladies Nights, Pattern Classes for our academy riders, strategy classes for our academy stars, and some game nights.

    We’re open for any new ideas you may have as well, and we’re thinking of ‘Bring a Friend’ nights, ‘Mother Daughter’ and “Father Daughter’, too.

    Purchase your Friday Passport now for only $160 which will let you enjoy any 4 classes. You can share your passport with other family members, too!

    We’re kicking off the series with a Ladies Night this Friday at 6:30. After a fun ride, the ladies will retire to the lounge where they’ll enjoy wine sampling from the Matton wine cellars.

    On Friday, March 1, our walk and trot academy riders will take over the arena and work on their show ring strategy for the upcoming show season.


    On Friday, March 8, our walk, trot, and canter academy stars will gather to practice their pattern skills, and we’re hosting another ladies night on March 15.


    Be sure to get your passport in order so you can join the Friday night excitement!  We hope you can make it for all the fun we have in store.



    And don’t forget our upcoming Academy Kick Off meeting at 6:00 PM on Saturday, February 23 where we’ll gear up for show season 2019. We’ll explore clothing, schedules, and enjoy demos with lots of time to ask questions of riders and instructors. We can hardly wait!

    Read more

  • Knollwood Summer 2019 Is Coming. Get Ready!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    So, while you’re hunkered down at home dreaming about the end of the polar vortex 2019, we have the perfect thing to take your mind to thoughts of warm summer days…



    It’s never to early to sign up for Knollwood’s summer riding schools! 

    (Just ask all the riders who have already enrolled.)

    Summer riding at Knollwood is a tradition for horse loving kids. We have several editions of camp for different ages and riding interests, and we’d love to tell you all about them.



    Classic Camp


    Our traditional summer camp is designed for kids aged 7 and up, and campers should have completed first grade to get the most out of the 5 six hour days of summer riding school. Perfect for new riders as well as riders with a little experience, this is an immersion into all things horses.

    Campers will learn to work safely around horses, including leading, grooming, and ‘tacking,’ or getting the horse’s equipment on prior to riding.  Riders will also learn to do this all in reverse order after a ride, and to give their horses wonderful warm baths as well.

    Campers ride at least once each day, and will learn how to walk and trot their horses, and how to guide them an both gaits as well. Of course, this is done in a fun, relaxed atmosphere with plenty of games thrown in.

    In addition to horse time, campers will enjoy an afternoon of crafts with our friends from Soulfire Art Studio, and will ride a demonstration for their parents on the last day of camp to show all that they’ve learned during the week.

    Cost for Classic Camp is $525 per week, and the 2019 session dates are:

       June 17-21

       July 15-19

       July 22-26

       August 12-16


    KF Show Prep Camp

    We offer a special week at the farm for our current riders planning to compete at our summer in barn show in August. From August 19-23, our riders will take over the barn as they learn about the show,  about show horses, and about horse and tack prep for competition.

    Taught by our fabulous summer camp instructors, this week designed for competitors in our August show is only $525. Please talk to your instructor to see if this might be a great idea for the rider in your house!


    ASAW Summer Showcase Show

    Prep Camp

    Ridden in a couple of Knollwood in-shows, and looking to try out academy showing? We have the perfect week of camp for you.  From July 29-August 2, our future show stars will enjoy an introduction to academy showing with Ann and some great show mentors as they prepare to compete at the ASAW Summer Showcase Show in Cedarburg on August 11.

    Perfect for riders making their show ring debut in Cedarburg, this camp will focus on simple patterns, using the ring to the rider’s advantage, and learning all about the show world.

    Cost for the camp which will include a day at the showgrounds on August 9 is $625. We offer package pricing as riders will be participating in the camp and the show. Please talk to Ann or Nancy if you think you might be interested in this fun ‘step-up’ week. We’re really looking forward to this summer, and we already have 4 riders signed up for the adventure!


    Academy Camps

    For our riders already competing in academy shows, we offer three weeks of advanced camps. Riders enjoy a week at the barn with Ann and their horsey friends, and ride A LOT. Patterns and show ring strategy are the main focus as we continue to learn more horse psychology and build awareness in the ring.

    Many of our world and national champs have credited summer weeks with their friends learning many, many things as highlights of their Knollwood years. We guarantee riders will come home excited AND tired each day.

    We have a ton of fun, too!

    We’re still working in scheduling, but please talk to Ann about any time requests, especially with school schedule changes with all the snow days this month!

      We’re planning on camps

      June 10-14

      June 24-28

      July 8-12


    Tiny Tot Camp

    For our youngest of riders between the ages of 4 and 6, we offer a three day, three hour Tiny Tot Camp. Our campers each have their own personal assistant, and will ride each day, and will learn to groom and tack their horse. (with plenty of assistance)

    Throw in daily games, and snack times with a demo for parents and friends on the last day, and you have the perfect recipe for your horse crazy wee one.

    These sessions are $275, and are staffed by our Tiny Tot Specialists.

    We recommend that you sign up soon, as these sessions usually sell out, and several sessions are almost there.




    We’re looking forward to Knollwood Summer 2019, and hope you’ll join us for all the fun.

    What’s better than summer, friends, and learning more about horses?



    Stay warm, and sign up soon!

    Read more

  • All Knollwood Kids Know ...

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    First of all, Knollwood Kids of all ages and generations are proud, though not necessarily surprised that the original Knollwood Kids, Scott and Carol were awarded the Richard E Lavery Professional Horseman award at the recent UPHA (United Professional Horseman Association) convention.

    You can watch the convention presentation and video here. 



    Requirements to receive this prestigious honor are:

    'The Richard E. Lavery Professional Horseman or Horsewoman of The Year shall be a person that has been involved in the training and showing of horses within our industry. He or she shall be a person that has given beyond the call of duty to promote the show horse industry and his or her profession, and to inform, educate, and promote in general. He or she shall be dedicated to the industry in an unselfish manner and shall have an interest in the industry and an interest in the respect of the profession and the professional horseman.'



    Our fearless leaders live these requirements on an almost daily basis. (They are, in fact, allowed to go on vacation occasionally.) Whether it’s working from the inside by sitting on boards of industry organizations, giving clinics around the country, helping fellow horsemen, working horses at home, traveling to shows, teaching lessons, or running the business daily, Scott and Carol are a well-tuned machine. They pointed out in their video that they’re most proud of all the Knollwood Kids who have come through the programs.

    So, here in no particular order, are things you know if you were lucky enough to grow up a Knollwood Kid.

    Horses first, the rest later.


    Admit it, you may have thought about putting your tack away before taking care of your horse after a ride on a hot (or cold) day.  Bet you were  gently reminded that your horse needed bathing or toweling or walking before mere ‘stuff’ was taken care of.


    Your Knollwood Mom Might Not Always Be Your Biological Mother.

    Your parents can’t make it to the show, but you really want to go? Live out of town but you really want to attend pattern camp? You can always count on another Knollwood Mom to step in. Just ask Mama Budzinski or Mama Berget who are frequently watching over Knollwood Kids until their ‘real’ parents can make to the show. Or Mama Kleba who opens up her home to Oshkosh rider Sofia so she can enjoy a week of camp craziness. Heck,  the Bergets even open up their home to our out of town riders during the summer and school breaks. Welcome to the Hotel Berget!


    It’s Never The Horse’s Fault. Never.

    You know, when Scott utters ‘Stupid horse…’ Yes, that means that your horse didn’t receive enough information from the rider. Let’s face it, if your horse has been ‘Mattonized,’ the pattern boo boo was, in fact, rider error.


    Life isn’t fair.

    Think you won that class, and received a pretty brown ribbon instead? Did you not get your first pick horse for the upcoming academy show? Did someone pop a champagne cork just as you were starting your pattern on a tough horse? Did Baxter feel especially good one sunny afternoon at Oshkosh and show the road trot during a walk and trot academy class?

    Stuff happens that we have no control over, so we had best get over it and move on.


    Scott’s not the one you need to be worried about.

    Yes, Scott has a voice that carries, and a laugh that fills a room. He is very direct in his speech, and often quite free with his opinions.  Don’t let that fool you.

    Watch out for the glaring blue eyes of Carol. She runs a business like a tight ship, and nothing scares her. Nothing.


    Everyone was once a beginner.

    Knollwood Kids of all ages know they get to give back to the newest members of the club. Running with beginner riders, helping with camp, and watching new riders fall in love with the lesson horses is all part of the fun of being a member of the club.


    No chore is below your ‘pay grade.’

    Every Knollwood Kid quickly learns how glamorous horses are.

    Wading out in knee deep water in muddy pastures to rescue floating hay tanks while you’re praying that you don’t fall down OR lose your tall boots in the muck is a right of passage.

    Walking pastures looking for lost shoes or halters can quickly become a game, and taking hay out to pastures with friends and hay in the wheelbarrow is lots of fun, even when it tips over.


    Barn friends are the best.

    Let’s face it, horse kids are different. Their phones are used for flashlights more than social media updates. They get excited when the show schedules come out, and when the school barn gets new brooms. Mud, snow, and horse slobber aren’t even noticed, sometimes much to their parents’ dismay.

    So how great is it to walk into the barn and catch up with your fellow horse kids? Spending a night or a show weekend with your barn besties can’t be beat.

    And, they become life long friends. Let’s face is, horses aren’t a phase.


    Horses Can Break Your Heart.

    While we wish our horse friends could live forever, they just can’t. (See ‘Life Isn’t Fair,’ above.)

    Some horses leave this world suddenly while some age and just ‘wear out.’ However it happens, it’s tough on those they leave behind, and it’s a challenge to get through.

    Knollwood Kids have lost their share of well loved horses including Cartman, Hootie, Louie, and Chip, and it never gets any easier.


    Horses are great at keeping secrets.

    Having a bad day, or going through a rough patch? Come to the barn, bury your face in your favorite horses’ mane and tell him your secrets. Repeat as needed.

    And FYI, Panic, Baxter, Brinkley, and Forest are all great huggers.


    Willy is a god.

    Don’t think we need to explain that one. He’s been here for 28 years, his jog is legendary for teaching even the smallest rider to post, and he enjoys being a demanding, grand gelding. He’s taken to yelling for his senior food, and lets himself out of his stall to get it.



    'That’s way more betterer' may be the ultimate compliment.

    Scott’s not one to throw compliments around willy nilly, but if you can earn a ‘That’s way more betterer,’ consider it a great day. If you get a ‘That’s exactly how you do that,’ pat yourself on the back.


    We Are Beyond Fortunate

    All Knollwood Kids are grateful for the atmosphere created by these fabulous horsemen. Not many kids are lucky enough learn from mentors with such passion for what they do and who are willing to share all their experience to help the next generation feel the passion.


    Thank you, Scott and Carol.





    And lots of fun.


    Read more

  • While Scott and Carol Are Away ...

    Posted by Ann Wilt


    So, Scott and Carol left yesterday for the annual UPHA convention. 

    This year, show horse trainers will be roughing it in Palm Springs where they’ll honor the best horses and ponies of the year, discuss important issues facing the industry, share new ideas to grow the show horse world, and honor the trainers and exhibitors who have achieved extraordinary things.

    More about that last part later…


    Meanwhile, back at Knollwood, those of us who aren’t basking in the California sun are also achieving great things.


    Any idea of what this photo is?

    If you guessed the arena ceiling at the halfway point of cleaning, you’d be correct.  Whenever Lin isn’t working horses, the ceiling becomes job 1.  You’re going to need sunglasses in the arena when the project’s done!



    Show season is fast approaching, and we want to be ready.  The wall of membership applications is complete in the school barn lounge. So, whether you’d like to join the ASHA, IASPHA, ASAW, or MAHSA, your application is waiting. We even posted completed form samples so you don’t miss anything important like rider nominations. 

    If you’re not sure which associations to join, Nancy or Ann would be happy to help you decide, and will gladly review your forms before they’re submitted.



    We’re proofing the banquet program, and putting the finishing touches on the evening. The RSVP box on the school barn counter is waiting for your reply by January 26th if you haven’t already turned yours in. The numbers are looking particularly strong this year, and you surely don’t want to miss this event!




    We’ve revised our annual academy seminar and will be hosting a new version on February 16 at 6 PM. If you’d like to learn why we love academy showing, please join us in the show barn lounge. We’ll offer demos and much more!






    We’ve been exchanging phone calls, and can now officially announce that the Patchwork Pony is coming to our neighborhood for a trunk show of show apparel for both our academy and show riders. With lots of inventory and personalized service, you’ll want to be at the Hilton Garden Suites in Oconomowoc on Saturday, March 16 between 9AM and 4PM.





    We’ve contracted with 2 of the best show bun makers in the Midwest, and will be offering a class for moms and daughters on March 16 at 6 PM in the show barn lounge. Don’t worry, you’ll be ‘bunning’ some other child’s hair to keep the volume level down.

    Oh, and there will be beverages served with snacks!





    And we’re still running the farm as usual (as best we can without our fearless leaders)  while the Mattons are networking in the sun. 




    In addition to meeting with other professional horsemen and celebrating greatness of 2018, Scott and Carol are being honored with a very special award.  Their fellow trainers have elected the dynamic duo to receive the Richard E Lavery Professional Horseman or Horsewoman of the Year Award. The description of the award could have been written just for the Mattons:


    'The Richard E. Lavery Professional Horseman or Horsewoman of The Year shall be a person that has been involved in the training and showing of horses within our industry. He or she shall be a person that has given beyond the call of duty to promote the show horse industry and his or her profession, and to inform, educate, and promote in general. He or she shall be dedicated to the industry in an unselfish manner and shall have an interest in the industry and an interest in the respect of the profession and the professional horseman.'


    We congratulate Scott and Carol on this prestigious award.

    They live the ideals that this honor represents, and we couldn't be more proud to be part of Team Knollwood.




    Read more