• What We Learned At IASPHA

    Posted by Ann Wilt

     We’re back from the IASPHA show in Gurnee where Team Knollwood had a marvelous time. We enjoyed deep, competitive classes, exhibitor parties each night, and even had a blizzard thrown in for fun.

    With eight show horses and eight academy/’B’ horses at the show, we learned some valuable lessons and were reminded of some enduring classics.


    Horses Aren’t A Phase.

    Jeni Burton grew up riding, but put her show dreams on hold to support her two kids, Keegan and Parker so they could enjoy showing as they grew up.  Both Keegan and Parker are accomplished riders, and Parker even enjoyed a few seasons on the ‘A’ circuit, leasing several show horses.  She’s currently working in the barn when she’s not attending college or working one of her several other jobs.

    So, Jeni’s no longer supporting her kids’ riding dreams, and returned to the show ring after 20 years on Michael, officially known as Finding Neverland. Jeni enjoyed an exciting warm up, and went on to win her 5 gaited pleasure qualifier.  She returned on Saturday night to win the championship as well.

    It’s true, horses are NOT a phase.  They’re a life long joy.

    Being A Show Horse Isn’t A Phase, Either. 

    Freaky Links is a legend. He’s shown since 2003, and has wins at all the major shows, including Louisville.

    For this season, Jordan has the pleasure of showing this ageless show horse, and their first show was a joy to watch. Freaky was ready to show in the big classes, and was willing to show his extra gears in the three gaited pleasure class. Judging from Jordan’s ear to ear smile, we think they both had a fabulous time.

    Jordan is off to the University of Wisconsin in the fall, and we’re sure this will be a summer to remember!


    There’s Always A Division For Great Teams.

    So, Richie and Tink (Ms Mheirry Mac) have enjoyed great success the past couple of seasons in the 10 and under walk trot equitation division.

    Richie is now 11, and has grown a lot.  These two have a special bond, and wanted to stay together, so the dynamic duo has entered the Country Pleasure division. Tink is pretty excited about the whole extended trot thing. 

    These two entered the ring on Friday night after a little excitement about Richie’s new suit which had just arrived that morning. They looked great, and Tink was ready to take on the world. They tuned it down a little bit for their championship, and won the class. Not too shabby for their entrance to a new division!


    IASPHA Is Perfect For New Teams.

    The arena at Fields and Fences is big, with nice long straightaways, and our riders moving up from the academy division have all shown there.

    McKailey made her show horse debut with Tura Lura Lura, known around the barn as Maddie.  McKailey and Maddie turned in some strong rides and rode to strong ribbons.


    Maria made her debut with new partner Irish Victory, known at home as Murphy. Sporting a new show outfit, Maria rode the pretty gelding to some great ribbons in the show pleasure division.


    Last year’s 13 and under pleasure equitation star Heather has moved to the senior division with a new partner, Impressive Asset.  Known around Knollwood as Fergie, she’s a very flashy character. She and Heather looked great in their qualifier and championship, winning both classes.  And, Fergie will be teaching Heather lessons this season. Many lessons.



    Amanda and Smyth, officially known as Bells A Poppin', showed for the first time in both Country Pleasure and in Equitation. Amanda did a fantastic job with firey Smyth, making her look easy.  She even guided her through an equitation pattern and finished second in the UPHA Challenge Cup Qualifier!


    It All Starts In Academy.

    All seven of our show riders at IASPHA came up through our academy program, and are all quite familiar with the Fields and Fences facility.

    Academy taught them valuable lessons of how to show, how to control emotions, and the importance of horsemanship in a safe setting with the best lesson horses in the world.

    Our 15 riders in the IASPHA academy division made us proud. They’ve worked hard in the off season, and it showed in their classes at the show. They used the ring like pros, maintained strong positions, and learned a lot of lessons as well.  There’s no substitute for the show ring to learn how to show, and we’re thrilled so many riders are joining us for the journey.

    And the horses? They were magnificent as usual.


    Coming Up?

    We’re off to the UPHA Chapter 10 show in Woodstock Illinois next weekend. Please join us at Beyond Stable Farm to cheer us on!

    The Knollwood Spring Show is coming up fast in May 4-5. The show will start at 1:00 both days, and we can hardly wait!

    Please consider donating to gift baskets, or helping with a shift at the concession stand. All proceeds benefit the Knollwood Knockouts.

    You can sign up to help at the concession stand here!

    We’re also supporting Saddlebred Rescue with our popular ‘Songs for Saddlebreds.’ For only $5, we’ll play the song of your choice during the class of your choice. Last season, we donated $450 to the rescue from our three shows!

    Our food drive for the Food Pantry of Waukesha County also starts on show weekend, and will run through the beginning of June. More information will come soon!

    Our spring street clean up will take place on Saturday, May 11 at 1:00. It’s a great way to meet fellow Knockouts, and earn your club service hours.  We’ll enjoy a Knockout meeting and refreshments at 2:30.

    We have 2 openings left for the Mother’s Day ride on Saturday, May 11 at 5:30.  For only $40, the rider in your house can show their Mom why they love riding so much by serving as their helper in an introductory group lesson.


    See you at the barn!

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  • Show Season, 2019, Here We Come!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Team Knollwood is heading out to their first show of the 2019 season, and we can hardly wait!

      We’re heading to the Spring IASPHA show in Gurnee with 8 ‘A’ show horses, 2 ‘B’ show horses, and 8 academy steeds. We're looking forward to catching up with our horse show  friends, enjoying the famous IASPHA hospitality, and getting the 2019 campaign started.

    After looking back at show pictures from the last few seasons, we have a wish list for all our friends showing horses this season.


    We hope you get time to enjoy the entire horse show experience.

    Not just your time in the ring and in your lessons, but the WHOLE thing. Visit your friends in their barn aisles, watch horses work, get out in the sun, and eat some famous show junk food.  You know you want to!


    We hope you get to spend valuable time with your horse show friends.

    Swim at the hotel, go to the concession stand, hang out in the highest seats you can find in the coliseum and watch horses, talk horses, and enjoy knowing horse friends both from Knollwood and from all over.


    We hope you thank your horse’s caretaker.

    All the time.


    The hours are insane, the work goes on in all weather and barn conditions, and yet your horse is always perfectly turned out and treated like a star. Take time to thank your horse’s hardworking friend.  Heck, bring lunch, breakfast, or baked goodies. 

    And tip.




    We hope you practice good sportsmanship.


    Sometimes, you think things didn’t go your way, and maybe they really didn’t. BUT, life isn’t fair, it just isn’t, so put  on a pleasant face and move on.  Congratulate your fellow competitors, be polite and supportive to all, and be there for your friends in good times and in confusing times. The horse show world is a small one, and good sportsmanship goes a long way.


    We hope you take time to watch

    and listen.


    Watch horses being worked, listen to lessons and watch the show whenever you can.  It’s amazing how much you can learn from observing.  When you have questions, go talk to one of the gurus in the Knollwood aisle.  They can make everything seem logical!



    Junior Exhibitors,

    We Hope You Thank Your Parents.

    A Lot.


    Your parents bring you to lessons, clinics, camps, and horse shows. They support your dreams with time, emotional support, and a lot of financial support.  This horse thing is expensive in many, many ways, so take time to thank your parents for making it possible to pursuit your love of the sport.




    We hope you give Scott a hard time. 

    About pretty much anything.

    It’s fun to banter with one of the best. Ask him about whether ‘betterer’ is a word, ask him what he thinks of ponies, or well, just ask him just about anything. It’s guaranteed entertainment.


    We hope you get time to be grateful for the whole experience.

    Whether you’re an academy star or lucky enough to show in a suit, spend some time realizing how lucky you are to be able to play in this fabulous horse show world. You get to ride the best lesson horses in the world, you get to ride with passionate horse people, and get to spend time with American Saddlebreds. You are beyond fortunate.


    We hope you hug your horse.



    As we are all aware, horses are mortal beings. We never know how long  they’ll be with us, so appreciate them every chance you get. Hug them, spoil them with treats, have long conversations with them, and just hang out with them. 


    Best of luck to everyone showing this season.

    See you at the out gate!




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  • How to Spring Break like a Triple Crown Winner

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    It's spring break time, which means show season is RIGHT around the corner (yipee!!).  While all of us normal folk just head to somewhere full of sun and sand, Knollwood Kid and most recent Triple Crown Winner, Haley Berget had the most equestrian of spring breaks there could ever be.  We sat down and asked Haley a little bit about her magical trip.

    What is the 3rd KF triple crown winner doing for spring break?

    I am spending my first part of spring break in Ohio, for the Form is Function Clinic at Cape Cod Farm.  I then left from there to Kentucky, I stayed with Michelle Krentz, who is a former rider from Knollwood Farm, and I am touring the barns in Kentucky.  Over this break I got to see my friends, visit barns and ride some amazing horses! 

    What did you do for the Form is Function Clinic?

    I was a mentor for the Form is Function Clinic at Cape Cod Farm, it was an amazing experience and I got to witness the future of our industry.


    Who is the most memorable horse you’ve ridden/met this weekend and why?

    The most memorable horse I met this weekend would be The Daily Lottery and the most memorable horse I rode would be Futurette. 

    This week, Bret and Susi Day also taught me how to drive and it was a blast, I would love to drive again!

    What horse would you love to show/ride one day that you met this week?

    I would love to show either The Daily Lottery or Futurette! 

    What is the most exciting part about catch riding a horse for someone

    The best part about catch riding a horse is the thrill of trying to figure out the horse before you show.  Also the quick bond you have to form with the horse. With catch riding a horse you get to meet more people and become family to many other farms! 

    What is your biggest bit of advice for someone heading in the ring on an unfamiliar horse

    My advice is to always try your best and if something goes wrong, it’s okay, try to figure out how you can fix it.  One thing to remember is there are usually three judges and not all three of the judges might have seen the mistake.  Always continue to ride hard no matter what happens because many judges appreciate the horsemanship. 



     I had a blast this week and learned so much!  I cannot thank all the farms that let me come visit and the farms that allowed me to ride also!

    A Big thanks to former Knollwood Kid Michelle Krentz and to the following farms for hosting Knollwood's latest Triple Crown winner for the spring break of a lifetime

    Diamond View Farm

    Wingswept Farm

    Kalarama Farm

    Grey Ridge Farm

    Willowbank Farm

    Sunrise Stables

    Infinity Stables 

    Majestic Oaks 

    Desmar Stables

    Clarke Stables

    Visser Stables

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  • What We Did During The Off Season.

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Well, we know that spring is officially upon us because the ice bergs in the lower pasture have finally melted, the outdoor arena is no longer a lake even though we have ducks in residence, and we now have a mud farm.

    We’re looking forward to a busy clinic coming up at Knollwood this weekend. We’re welcoming Cindy and Deveau from Zubrod Stables who will offer their unique perspective to our academy and show riders. We enjoy clinic weekend every year when we welcome expert clinicians who work with our riders in group and private lessons.  We can hardly wait!

    Of course, with clinic weekend coming up and the IASPHA Spring Show only a few weeks away, it's time to look back at all we’ve accomplished during the off season. We finished the 2018 show season with a bang with Haley winning the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation at the Royal. Many of our teams finished strong after a season of great progress, so it was the perfect way to finish the campaign.

    We’ve had a lot of adventures during the off season.



    Our riders grew!

    We’ve done a lot of stirrup lengthening, and moving kids into bigger saddles over the last few months. At this rate, the industry is going to start making bigger saddles!

    In addition to the physical growth, we’ve had a blast watching many of our ‘littles’ grow from thinking like wee ones to thinking and riding like experienced horse people. They’re starting to think like horses!



    We Reorganized Our In Barn Shows!

    With our mantra of ‘Evolve or die’ in our heads, we made some changed to our in-barn shows to make them even more inclusive. Starting in 2019, our riders will receive shirts to wear in the show, and will have the chance to compete in fun classes in addition to their traditional equitation and pleasure divisions.

    Triple Crown Winner Haley is playing games at the May show, and is welcoming all comers who would like to ride with her!



    New Teams Have Come Together!

    The Cooper family purchased Brookhill’s Passion Punch (AKA Leila) for Finn to show in the senior equitation division. Last year’s triple crown winning horse and Finn have bonded over the winter, and are ready to have some fun this spring.

    Heather will be showing Impressive Asset (Fergie) in senior Pleasure Equitation, Hanna will be showing CH Fine By Me (Tucker) in her last season in the junior Pleasure Equitation division, and Maria will be showing Irish Victory (Murphy) in the pleasure divisions. Jordan will be showing the one and only CH Freaky Links in show pleasure in her last season before she heads off to the University of Wisconsin.

    Richie has made a move with Miss Mheiry Mac and will be showing her in Country Pleasure.  They’re having a blast getting a little more speed going!


    We Welcomed A Rider From The Arabian World!

    New to the Saddlebred show ring this season will be Laney on Rosewood’s Homecoming Dance. Laney has lots of experience in the Arabian world, and has made the move to showing Robert in pleasure equitation with us.



    Two Riders Are Moving Up From Our Academy Program!

    McKailey has moved up from the academy division and will be showing Tura Lura Lura (Maddie) in pleasure.

    Jeni has supported her kids through their show careers, and now it’s her turn to have some fun. Jeni is leasing Finding Neverland (Michael) to show in the Gaited Pleasure division. We can hardly wait to watch these new teams!




    Academy Riders Progress and Impress!

    Our academy riders continue to impress us with their hard work and drive.  This upcoming season is bringing lots of promotions from walk and trot up to walk, trot, and canter showing at out of barn shows. At our in-barn shows, we have even more stars making the jump to walk, trot, and canter classes.



    We Found A Blanket For Frank!

    So, Big Frank has a history of trashing his winter coats.  In the past, they’ve lasted a month on average.

    Thanks to our friends at Dover Saddlery, Frank has worn the same coat since November, and it doesn’t have a mark on it. We apologize that we previously credited our friends at SmartPak with the indestructible coat, but we later discovered it was a Dover coat.

    SmartPak, your Piper Jods are still every saddle seat instructor’s favorite!!



    We Spent Quality Time With Our Horses!

    So much learning happens off our horses’ backs, and the off season gives us added time to spend in stalls with our equine friends. Lately, We’ve spent LOTS of time with the school horses helping them shed out. Even thick coated Sparky is starting to look like a horse again, and he’s SO grateful for everyone who’s helped him feel better.


    Forest Is A Media Star.


    Forest has once again has made his way into the media.

    National Horseman published an article about everyone’s favorite Fjord in their Junior Exhibitor Issue. Don’t tell him, because his head might get TOO big to manage, but they requested info about Forest because of his social media skills. They pretty much said that






    We Learned in Non-Traditional Ways.

    The off season gives everyone a chance to think outside the box as we enjoy a little more time at home.

    So, we re-energized Friday nights and added Pattern Classes, Show Strategy Classes, an Invitational Tiny Tot group of hard riding 5 and 6 year olds, and the most popular of them all, Ladies Nights.  We’re adding game nights later in the year!

    We’ve enjoyed the off season in our regular scheduled classes as well.  Our more advanced riders and our helpers live the ‘no stirrup lifestyle’ while leaning from the lesson horses in creative ways. We’ve practiced getting on and off on the right side,  and experimented with emergency dismounts.

    Games? You bet.

    We don’t know if the horses or the riders enjoy them more. We’ve had some spirited games of Steal the Crop, and Musical Feedsacks, rode some creative pairs patterns, and of course played games of skill like ‘slowest trot’ and ‘slowest canter.’

    Did we learn a lot while we laughed and tried to only get off at appropriate times? Yes. Yes, we did.



    We hope you had as much fun as we did during the off season.

    See you soon at the in-gate! 






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  • We Made It!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    We made it!

    It’s officially the first day of spring, the start of the new season of mud and shedding horses.  While the water levels are down in the pastures and the lesson horses are no longer talking of opening a horse swimming school, the icebergs are still in place in the lower pasture. We expect boats to be launched there soon.

    But really, the arrival of spring means that we can officially look forward to the start of show season and all the excitement it brings. Here are some events you won’t want to miss!


    Our show barn riders and experienced academy stars are welcoming guest trainers from Zubrod stables on March 29, 30, and 31. We will not be holding lessons on those three days. Please contact your instructor if you’d like to schedule a make up lesson. We’ll add the missed lesson to the end of your current package.


    Entries for the Knollwood spring show close on Monday, April 1. Our shirt order goes in that day, so we can’t make exceptions.  We’re looking forward to our exciting new format, including a game division that our show barn customers can join, and hope that everyone will be joining us for our in barn kickoff show!


    As part of our popular Friday passport series, we’re hosting an academy WTC strategy session at 6:30 on April 5.  Academy stars showing in the WTC division are welcome to join this class to strengthen their show ring skills.



    Our hard working youth group, the Knollwood Knockouts , is hosting their spring meeting in the show barn lounge at 4:30 on Saturday April 6. Come meet your 2019 officers, board members, and make some new friends. Officers always have some entertaining activities planned, so come join the fun!



    Our first out of barn academy show of 2019 is coming up April 12-14 at  IASPHA Spring  in Gurnee, Illinois. Always one of our favorite shows, the IASPHA series is held in an all enclosed facility with plenty of hospitality and good sportsmanship to enjoy. Scott and Carol are making the trip with some of their new teams for 2019 as well!

    Our academy stars head off to Woodstock, Illinois for the UPHA Spring Show on April 26-28.


    The big Knollwood Spring Show takes place on May 4-5, and we can hardly wait. The show features classes for all riders from leadliners to our experienced show horse riders competing in a fun gaming division.

    It’s a major fundraiser for the Knockouts as well.

    You’ll have a chance to donate to gift baskets, volunteer for a shift or 2 at the concession stand, or assist with set-up and take down. Here’s the link for concession stand staffing!



    Our annual food drive also starts on May 4. We’re collecting food kits for the Food Pantry of Waukesha County through June 8. Every rider who donates a minimum of 5 food kits by Friday, May 31 is eligible to join a team for our special scavenger hunt on Saturday, June 8. Teams are formed based on the day of week each participant rides, and we’re looking forward to collecting a LOT of food, having a blast with the hunt, and enjoying a pot luck food feast to celebrate.


    The Knockouts are cleaning up Oakwood and Nagawicka Roads on Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 PM. It’s a perfect way to get your club service hours in for the year, and to enjoy a beautiful spring day. Sign ups will be up soon in the school barn, and available here!




    Our popular Mom’s Day Ride returns on Saturday, May 11 at 5:30. 

    Knollwood Kids can be their mom’s helper for a fun group lesson when the current riders show the new riders why they love riding so much. It’s only $45 and includes refreshments with the fun. You can sign up in the school barn lounge.


    Friday Night passports continue on May 17 with another Walk and Trot show strategy session at 6:30. Whether you’re just starting your show career, or would like a refresher, it’s guaranteed to be an enlightening class!



    June will start with Friday Passports’s Walk and Trot Pattern class on June 7 at 6:30. We’ll work on some beginning walk trot patterns for our newer show riders, and build confidence in new skills!


    Tiny Tot Camp starts June 10, and Summer Riding School starts on June 17.  Sessions are filling up fast, and the July sessions of Tiny Tot Camp are already sold out. Be sure to get your registrations in soon!


    We hope you can join us for all the fun we have in store.

    See you soon at the barn!



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