• Join Us For All The Fall Fun!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    At long last, the cool nights we've been waiting for have arrived, and so have all of the fun fall activities at Knollwood.  Here's the complete list of service projects, horse shows, and horsey fun we have planned for you!



    This Saturday, we're starting with our semi annual street clean up at 1:00.  Knockouts will be beautifying Oakwood and Nagawicka for the fall, and all members are invited to join us.  Not a Knockout member yet?  We'd love to have you.  Ask any instructor for information to join our award winning youth group!

    We're looking for adult crew leaders as well.

    Meet some new friends, make our neighborhood beautiful for fall, and enjoy a great fall day.

    Following the clean up, we're hosting a Knockout meeting at 2:30 in the show barn lounge.  Please join us to catch up on all our fall plans!



    The following weekend, our academy and 'B' riders are heading off to Woodstock, IL for the UPHA Chapter 10 Fall show.  We're looking forward to a great weekend at beautiful new Beyond Stable Farm.  The academy team will be there in numbers, and we expect some great competition.  Please come cheer us on!





    We're hosting an 'adults only' event at 3:00 on Saturday October 14 as we gather to seal the gazebo.  We'll be getting the new structure ready for the Wisconsin winter, and we're asking parents to join the work crew.  We promise lots of laughs, and we'll provide snacks and beverages.  Please sign up on Facebook or let Nancy know if you'd like to join the fun.




    The following week, our show horses will be in Springfield competing at the Mane Event Horse Show.  It's a great show that includes the first of the 'big three' equitation finals, The Good Hands. 


    While the show horses are in Springfield,  the home crew will be celebrating the spooky season a little early with Halloween on Horseback.  Held on both Friday October 20 and Saturday the 21st, it's your chance to design and create a costume for your favorite horse.

    Starting next week, you can bring your costume ideas to Ann or Nancy, and they can help assign a suitable horse for your creation.  It's only $40 to participate, and spots fill up quickly, so start thinking!

    Following costume judging, we'll finish the night with games on horseback, and then hold a pot luck in the lounge.  You won't want to miss this one!






    On October 26-28, our academy team and our 'B' horses will be finishing their season at the IASPHA Fall Show in Gurnee.  We're bringing 19 academy riders, lots of horses, and plan on having a lot of fun.  The show even hosts a costume class, and we think we have a winner of an entry.

    Carol is even joining the adventure, bringing several 'A' horses for some show ring time before their final show of the season, the UPHA National Championship American Royal.  

    Be sure to take the quick drive to Gurnee to join the fun.




    The grand finale of our academy season is coming up fast!  The Knollwood Fall  show will be held November 11 and 12, and offers a division for everyone.  With everything from lead line to the finals of the Knollwood Challenge, the competition will be deep, and a good time will be had by all.

    If you're thinking about showing for the first time, talk with your instructor to develop a plan to start the fun.  We'll be assigning horses soon, so get your entries in to enter the horse assignment pool.

    We're already looking forward to celebrating the accomplishments of all our riders that weekend!




    See you at the barn!





























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  • World Cup Trials, Here We Come!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Team Knollwood is proud to announce that all four of our riders who submitted applications to try out for the 2018 Saddle Seat World Cup Team have been invited to the selection trials. Held December 1 and 2 at William Woods University, the trials will showcase the best young saddle seat riders in the country all vying for a chance to represent the United States.  The 2018 edition of World Cup will be held in the US next July, and will feature competition against several other countries.


    For the 5 gaited team, Knollwood is sending Ainsley and Haley.


    Ainsley has been riding at Knollwood since she was four when she came to watch her older sister's lessons.  After several years of academy showing, she had the opportunity to take over the reins of the one and only Cartman, officially known as CH-EQ Oh What A Feeling, and won her first national championship as a 10 year old showing in the walk and trot division.

    She went on to many equitation victories including the Reserve World Grand Championship on Cartman in 2015.

    Ainsley has a new teammate in Millie, officially known as Ashlyn's Only Charm.  This dynamic duo have been making a name for themselves in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited division, and have won several championships already this year.  Their greatest moment this year may have been their great 8th place ribbon in their championship in Louisville.  The class was one for the ages, so the ribbon was quite an accomplishment.



    Haley has been a member of Team Knollwood since she was 7, and all of her experience shows.  She also came up through our academy program and has had the opportunity to show several horses through the last few years.

    As a 13 and under rider, she finished at or near the top of all the junior finals, and has made quite an impression in the senior division in her first two years there.  This year, she's already earned a bronze medal in the Pleasure equitation Olympics, and finished third in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup final. She's currently the reserve world champion 15 year old equitation rider, and rode to a great seventh place finish in the Senior World Grand Championship.


    For the three gaited team, Knollwood is sending Lora and Frannie to trials.

    Lora and her beautiful equitation partner Sophie, officially known as Royal Tryst, are having quite a season. Lora travels to Knollwood from Iowa to train, and enjoys spending long days at the farm riding four lessons a day. She's currently enjoying a gap year before she heads off to college, and is currently devoting her time and energy into preparing for the fall equitation finals, and the trials. She often stays at the Hotel Berget for a week at a time, and all her hard work is really paying off.

    Lora has been at the top of some great classes this season, including a reserve championship in the equitation championship at the Lexington Junior League Show in July.


    Frannie needs no introduction to the equitation world.  Last year's World Champion in the 17 year old division has enjoyed a great career in both the Morgan and Saddlebred worlds.

    Frannie was the reserve champion of the UPHA Senior Pleasure Challenge Cup finals in 2016, and enjoyed several top 10 finishes in other finals.

    After enjoying a gap year in 2016, Frannie is currently studying at Lawrence University and making it to Knollwood whenever she can.


    We wish these riders the best of luck as they compete against the best for the chance to represent the United States in 2018.




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  • The Class of 2017: Knollwood's College Crop

    Posted by Ann Wilt

     It's that time of year again.  

    Team Knollwood is always proud of its riders both in and out of the ring.  This year, six very special riders graduated from high school, and are on their way to great adventures. These ladies and their mothers helped us understand what Knollwood has meant to them, and what their future plans are.

    So here, in alphabetical order, are this year's high school graduates who are off to new experiences:  




    Lora Becker was 15 when she joined Team Knollwood.  She hails from DesMoines, and grew up riding just like her mother.  From a young age, Lora had her sights set on the competitive equitation divisions.  Her trainers in Iowa weren't equitation oriented, so the search began for trainers who could help her reach her goal.

    Mom Tancy was aware of Scott and Carol's expertise and success in equitation, and after a visit or two decided to make the move to Knollwood.  Tancy says, "It's been an excellent match.  The level of instruction , the wonderful lesson horses, and the excellent care and training that both the lesson horses and the performance horses receive are immediately apparent upon visiting the barn.' 

    Lora came to Knollwood with the always expressive horse, Dare to Care, known to all as Jerry.  After her first season with him, Jerry went on to become a champion show pleasure horse for Gabby, and  Lora was fortunate to become the owner of Royal Tryst, aka Sophie, for the balance of her equitation career.  Lora and Sophie have worked hard and have climbed their way to the top of the equitation world.  This year, she was the reserve champion at the prestigious Lexington Junior League show, and last weekend won the championship at the All American Horse Classic in Indianapolis. Lora was a member of the USEF Young Riders Team this year, too. Team Sophie is looking forward to the challenges of the big finals this fall.

    Lora says "My favorite  memories are circled around the wonderful friends I've made through Knollwood. As an out of towner, I frequently stay at the 'Hotel Berget', and I've had so much fun being able to spend ten hours a day at the barn for weeks straight."

    She adds,"Knollwood has meant everything to me for the three years I've been there.  I love how supportive the other riders are, I love how Scott and Carol put just as much effort into success as I do, and I know if I hadn't moved to Knollwood, I wouldn't have the thing that means the absolute most to me: Sophie.  It's been a joy to spend the last season and a half with the most special horse I've ever known."

    Mom Tancy adds, "I know many other parents have said this, but it's absolutely true -- Lora has learned to prioritize her time since we live seven hours away from the barn; she has learned to balance academics and a social life with her equine pursuits; she has learned all about the financial implications of this sport; and she has learned the joy of success and the disappointment of the 'less than perfect' performances and placings... and she has never once considered giving up."

    After a gap year to pursue the equitation finals and other adventures, Lora will be attending the University of Virginia.  While she's not set on a major. Lora wants to settle in a big city.  And she adds "There's about a 110% chance that I'll never leave the horse industry."





    Sarah Bell grew up a Knollwood Kid.  

    She started riding with us when she was nine, and has enjoyed years of success in both the academy and show divisions, and had become an impressive role model to our younger riders.

    Sarah had a friend who rode at Knollwood, and first came to the farm for summer riding school.  She says she fell in love the moment she got here.

    Sarah counts the wheelbarrow race at Helper Olympics as one of her favorite Knollwood memories.  She remembers screaming all the way down the hill, adding that she and Jen were an unstoppable team.  She also recounts her first trip into the ring in a suit on Alex last May. Sarah and Alex spent a season learning from each other, and loving every minute of it.

    When asked what Knollwood has meant to her, Sarah says, "Where do I begin? Knollwood has had such a great impact on my life.  I have made some amazing friendships, and found a second place to call home. Not only did I learn to ride, but I also learned so many important life skills.  I have learned responsibility, to work hard, and most importantly patience.  The power of patience is incredible."

    Sarah has assumed a lot of responsibility at the farm during her high school years.  She served as a Knollwood Knockouts officer, a respected camp counselor, and taught tiny tot lessons on Saturdays.  Her work ethic and patience are second to none. Sarah's hard work helped her win an ASAW college scholarship as well!

    Her mom Kelly says that Knollwood has really helped Sarah. 'It has made her tired and kept her out of trouble because she always found a way to spend her time there. It has become a second family to her and helped her create friends for a lifetime.'

    Sarah is attending Canisius College in Buffalo where she is studying Animal Behavior. Her goal is to train service dogs to work with people who have PTSD, are paralyzed, or need extra help.  She also hopes to make riding a large part of her life again.

    Her words of wisdom for younger riders? ''It's not the ribbon, it's the ride.' is such an important quote to live by.  As long as you rode the best you could, had fun, and made your trainers happy, that's all that matters."







    Heather Campbell grew up at Knollwood.  She started group lessons when she was 8, and started her academy career in the 10 and under walk and trot division.

    Heather was a hard working helper, and quickly became a mentor to the younger riders.  She became very involved in the Knockouts, holding several elected offices along the way. Her kindness and leadership led to teaching tiny tot lessons on Saturdays where she grew into a strong first instructor for our youngest riders.

    Heather enjoyed showing in the 'B' division for her last couple of junior exhibitor years.  She had great success showing both CH Callaway's Don't Panic and Chepengo in the pleasure and equitation divisions.

    Known for her sportsmanship and riding skills, Heather is always a resource for other riders on their way up.

    After high school graduation, Heather joined the US Army, and recently graduated from basic training. She's been out of electronic contact, so unfortunately we don't have any quotes to include.

    Heather will be attending the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater where we know she will continue to be a success in whatever she chooses to pursue.




    Jess Kuzniewski took her first lesson on her seventh birthday. 

    Her mom Kris says,' I signed her up for the 8 week class thinking that would be the end of it.  We instantly felt like a part of something special and knew that Knollwood was going to be a big part of Jessica's life for years to come.  She ended up loving it, and here we are 11 years later!'

    Jess has grown up as a Knollwood kid, enjoying a very successful academy show career, learning leadership as a Knockouts officer, and teaching tiny tot lessons and camps.  She adds: "My favorite memories are summers spent at the barn, whether it was to ride at summer camp or to work on Monday nights.  Pattern camp was always my favorite week of the summer, because I was able to spend an entire week with my best friends riding horses twice a day, and it helped us improve a ton, too.  I was also a helper on Monday nights from the time I was around ten years old, and I believe it has been the biggest learning experience of my life.  Being a helper taught me to efficiently handle responsibility and be a leader and role model, yet I was still able to balance it with having fun.  I met people that still mean the world to me while working alongside them, and it taught me some of my biggest life lessons to this day."

    Jess adds, "Knollwood has been my second home for the past eleven years.  From the time I took my first lesson, I knew that I was hooked, and that I would never be able to stop loving this sport. I grew up learning to take care of, ride, and love horses, and this showed me what it means to be responsible, hard-working, and relentless in pursuing my goals. The people that I have met along this journey have impacted me in a multitude of ways, whether it was the helpful guidance of an instructor, the embrace of another parent who loved me like their own, or a joke and a smile shared with a friend who became more like a sister."

    After winning an ASAW Scholarship, Jess is studying at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  She is planning to double major in French and International Studies, and hopes to join the Peace Corps after graduation before finding a job in government or as a high school French teacher.

    Her words of wisdom?  "For the younger children who are just starting their riding career: never give up, even when it gets hard (because it will), and you will learn more than you ever could imagine and have more fun than you could ever imagine. Hold on to your barn friends too, because you will find they are often the best ones."




    Madison Smith was looking for a farm where she would feel welcome, and found that Knollwood was a fit for her.  She started riding when she was 14, and says, "Knollwood is my family, a happy place where I have no limits. I can do anything there, and it's a place to grow that I call home."

    Mom Cindi adds, "Madison started Hippotherapy when she was about three years old.  We feel that she truly benefited from it, and is probably where her love affair with horses began."

    Madison has come a long way in a short time.  She remembers her first Knollwood show on Tony, and finished her show career at the ASAW Summer Showcase in August winning all three of her classes on Dexter. She says that Dexter was hard at first, but that they have become a team because he helped her improve her skills. She adds, "Dexter is my happy place."

    Madison is attending Edgewood College in Madison, and hopes to become a Teaching Assistant for young children.

    Her words of wisdom? "Never give up. Be on horses you don't like because you get the most out of them. They teach you more than any other horse.  You can take this to life and other horses. Be kind, and go with the flow."



    Sarah Wenzel started riding at Knollwod when she was 14.

    How did that come about? Sarah says, "We were looking to switch barns and a friend of mine who rode at the same barn I did told us that they had gone to Knollwood and so we went to see the barn and the rest is history. We loved it the moment we set foot in the barn."

    Sarah has been teamed with the exciting park mare Impressive Asset. They enjoyed a successful Junior Exhibitor career before joining the adult ranks this past season.

    Mom Vicky says, "Knollwood assisted Sarah with achieving her dream of showing horses. She had limited experience in the show ring when we came to Knollwood.  Within 2 years of switching, she and her horse ended her Junior Exhibitor years as the 2016 ASHA High Point Award for Three Gaited Park Jr Exhibitor Region 5. Now, in her third year, she is showing her horse in the Adult Equitation and recently finished Top 10 in the USEF Adult Medal and the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup.

    More importantly though, Knollwood continues to teach her skills she will use throughout her life whether on a horse or at the barn.'

    Sarah is presently attending WCTC pursuing a degree in Business Management while she continues to work in the show barn.

    She hopes to take the knowledge she's learning at Knollwood to lead to become a trainer and owning her own barn. 

    Sarah's words of wisdom? "Whatever you do in life, put yourself wholeheartedly into it. Be resilient, determined, and whatever your dreams and goals are, pursue them. 

    I began riding at the age of 7 and I knew from the first time I rode that I wanted to keep riding and go to the World's Championship Horse Show. I worked hard, kept riding and pushing myself. I didn't give up, it took me 11 years to get to the WCHS in Louisville, but I did it, and the entire journey was well worth the wait."

    "When you ride and work with horses you learn SO MUCH, because you have to work with them and understand each other, and you become a team."







    We're incredibly proud of what these riders have accomplished both in and out of the arena.  While we'll miss them while they're away at school, we're sure they'll be back in the barn at Christmas break, and we can't wait to see them.

    We know they'll be successful in whatever they choose to do, and we can't wait to hear about all their adventures at school.






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  • Futurity Tales, and More!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Last weekend, Team Knollwood enjoyed a picture perfect couple of days at the Wisconsin Futurity Horse Festival.

     Relocated to the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds for Labor Day weekend, many had their doubts about this year's show that was backed up to the World's Championship Horse Show in Louisville.  Horse people are never afraid of hard work and crazy schedules though, so Futurity didn't disappoint.  The show was competitive, and classes, especially in the academy division, were LARGE.

    We enjoyed the show and made some great memories.  Here are a few of our favorites.

    Amanda and Pixie

    Team Pixie, comprised of Scott, Amanda, and Pixie have been working all season to prepare Pixie to live the life of an equitation horse. Scott has shown her lightly, and Amanda showed her for the first time at Oshkosh. Scott decided that the beautiful 4-year-old was ready to handle some real patterns, so she and Amanda made their workout debut at Futurity.  Team Pixie looked great, and will continue the process at the All American Horse Classic in Indianapolis where they'll compete in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup Finals!



    Few people are as unassuming as our champion academy rider Emma.

    In addition to being an accomplished rider, she's also the co-president of the Knockouts, and is always willing to help with whatever she can around the barn.  She's a fantastic camp counselor, one of the best helpers there is, especially with apprehensive new riders, and is always looking for ways to help out.

    Because we're sure she didn't tell you, in 2017, the modest Emma has won the academy championships at Madison Classic, Oshkosh Charity, ASAW Summerfun, AND the state championship at Wisconsin Futurity!

    While she's been making her way to the winners circle, she's been educating one of our newer academy horses, Captain Kaos.  Emma's calm ways have given this handsome horse a new job in the academy world.



    Speaking of new handsome horses, Futurity marked the debut of Irish Victory as a Knollwood academy horse.  "Murphy' was recently purchased by Nancy, and started his new career with a bang.  Maria introduced him to the academy world, even winning her equitation qualifier.  Richie took over for the walk and trot academy classes and had a blast with our newest teacher.


    Welcome Charlie!

    The Marsden family purchased Ken Follet at Louisville, and Gabby lost no time having fun with him in the show ring.  Gabby and Charlie were second in both their 5 Gaited Pleasure qualifier and championship. We think there are many, many fun adventures ahead for these two!


    Mia and The Walk Trot Gang

    The youth movement is alive and well at Knollwood.

     Our six walk and trot academy riders all competed in the 10 and under qualifiers, and made us proud.  Classes were nice and big, especially in the 8 and under division, and our riders presented themselves with style and determination.

    14 riders entered the ring for the all ages State Championship for walk and trot equitation, and they were ready to compete.  After initial rail work, the three judges selected eight riders to complete the pattern of a figure eight.

    Of the eight riders selected, we were happy to have four of our riders make the cut. Richie guided Murphy through his first walk trot pattern, and then Mia, Maiya, and Mikayla took their turns at the figure eight. While they were all good, Mia's stood out for its precision and attention to detail.  Baxter had no doubt what eight year old Mia was telling him to do, and it showed.

    When the tabulations were completed, Mia was announced the winner, with Richie and Murphy in third, Maiya and Klem in fourth, and Mikayla and Hooper in seventh.

    We're proud of each and every one of our riders, and are thankful to the best lesson horses in the world for their fantastic performances last weekend.


    What's Ahead?

    All American Horse Classic

    Show horses are already in Indianapolis for the All American Horse Classic.  Home to the first two pleasure equitation finals of 2017, the show will host the best riders in the country.  Team Knollwood is sending some strong competitors, with Finn and Hanna competing in the junior division of the Pleasure Equitation Olympics and the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup. In the senior division, Madison and Haley will compete in both the Olympics and the Challenge Cup while up and coming team of Amanda and Pixie will stick with the Challenge Cup final.

    Lora is going to compete in the equitation division, and Ainsley and Millie are going to compete in the Junior Exhibitor 5 gaited classes.

    You can watch the free webcast here.


    Knollwood Fall Open House

    It's coming up fast! 

    Bring your friends Saturday, September 16 from 11am to 3 pm when they can enjoy free mini lessons, tours, and lesson observation.  New customers will receive a discount when they sign up for lessons at the Open House.

    If you'd like to be a tour guide, help with mini lessons, or with painting a pony, please talk to Nancy about available opportunities.


    Knollwood Fall Show

    It's also coming up fast!

    We're now taking entries for the grand finale of our academy season on November 11 and 12.  Featuring everything from leadline classes to the finals of the Knollwood Challenge, there's a class for everyone.

    The show will also feature our annual helpers basket challenge to see which night's helpers can create the best gift.  

    You can enter the show with forms and payment in the school barn lounge.  Your instructor will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and to assist with horse and class choices.

    You won't want to miss the fun!


    ASHA Medallions

    For our riders working on their academy awards from the American Saddlebred Horse Association, our competition year ended with the Futurity show.  Competitions after October 1 will count towards your 2018 awards, so please take some time and complete your point sheets for 2017.  If you would like some assistance with placings or the forms, please talk to either Ann or Nancy who can help figure it all out.




    We hope you can join us for all the Fall fun we have planned.

    See you at the barn!




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  • All The News, And What's Next!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Team Knollwood has been enjoying a busy, busy August, so let's catch up on the happenings and look forward to what's next!

    Show horses just returned from an exciting week at the World's Championship Horse Show in Louisville, Kentucky.  We're happy to report that our horses and riders competed well against the best in the country, and standing up in that depth of quality is an accomplishment in itself.  Our teams earned some pretty great ribbons, too, as they rode against the best.

    Ainsley and Millie were definitely in the deep end of the pool in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited division for riders 14-17.  Class rosters read like a 'Who's Who' of gaited horses, and Team Millie rose to the occasion, earning a 7th place finish  in their qualifier, and a fabulous 8th place in a terrifically deep championship.

    Oh, and Ainsley also returned to the equitation world to show Fergie in the 15 year old class, and earned a solid 4th place ribbon in her qualifier.  While she didn't make the final cut in the championship of 21, she looked great, and enjoyed being back in the equitation world for a visit.


    Our junior equitation riders made us proud last week. Finn earned a strong third place ribbon in her crazy deep qualifier, and Hanna rode to a 4th in her age group, her first time riding into Freedom Hall.

    Both riders made the cut for the workout in the Worlds Grand Championship, and Hanna rode to a great 6th place, and Finn and Frankie finished eighth.  The future is bright for these 2!



    Our senior equitation riders were pretty amazing, too!

    Lora rode to a strong 4th place in the all star 17 year old qualifier. While she and beautiful Sophie didn't make the cut to the workout on Thursday night, they looked fabulous!

    Matthew rode to a third in his 14 year old qualifier.  He did't make the eight horse cut on Thursday night, but looked like he had a great time in the ring.

    Haley had a wonderful week.  Reunited with last year's partner Robert for this show, she finished second in her 15 year old qualifier, and it was a good, good class. She made the cut on Thursday night and performed a great pattern.  She and Robert were rewarded with seventh place in the senior championship.


    Haley also had the chance to show Robert in the show pleasure division.  Her age group was split three ways due to the number of entries, and Haley was assigned to the toughest split.  She and Robert worked the ring and came out with a 5th place ribbon, which qualified them for their championship on Saturday morning.

    They entered the championship with 23 other horses, and this team shone in the deep traffic.  Haley and Robert fought for good ring position, making it look effortless.  They were rewarded with a fabulous 8th place ribbon, and Team Knollwood celebrated the accomplishment!



    Also in Louisville, the Knockouts were honored by Saddlebred Rescue at their annual brunch.  Our youth group won the 'Youth to the Rescue' award for the second time in appreciation for their continued fundraising to help horses in need.  Congratulations to all the Knockouts who helped make this award possible!

    Meanwhile, back at world headquarters, Carlos was prepping horses for Wisconsin Futurity Show this weekend, we finished up Knollwood Summer 2017 with an adventurous pattern camp, and the Knockouts collected more than 100 pairs of shoes for charity, and hosted a car wash that raised more than $250.




    What's Next?

    Wisconsin Futurity Horse Festival starts on Friday at Wisconsin State Fair Park.  Team Knollwood will be there with plenty of show horses and 15 academy riders for the Saturday morning performance.  Please come cheer us on, and be sure to stop by our aisle!

    If you're planning on joining our academy fun at either UPHA Chapter 10 or the IASPHA Fall Show, please get your entries in soon.  We'll be assigning horses , and it's time to get working on the patterns for the October show!

    Our fall Open House is coming up soon on September 16.  We'll be offering free mini lessons and discounts for new customers.  If you'd like to be a tour guide or help with mini lessons, please let Nancy know.  We'd love to have you!


    Summer may be nearing its end, but we're looking forward to a fall filled with lots of fun at the barn, at horse shows, and at the fall equitation finals.  We hope you join us for all the adventures!!!

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