• The Fall Show Season, So Far ...

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Team Knollwood has enjoyed a busy couple of months traveling to horse shows.  While we love showing, we feel like we’ve gotten behind updating everyone on our adventures.  Relax, and read on about all the fun we’ve been having on the road.


    The Rookie Rises

    It’s hard to believe that only a year ago, Hanna was finishing up a very successful walk and trot academy show season.  She teamed up with Tucker, officially known as CH Fine By Me, in December, and the work began.

    Hanna is one of those kids who will ride any horse at any time, and it has paid off in spades. She and Tucker learned a lot together early in the season.  In her off time, Hanna rode, and rode, and rode. (Recently, she’s been working on her no stirrup work on the hardest horses she can find, like Panic.)

    Her hard work has paid off this fall when she finished reserve in both the UPHA Junior Pleasure Challenge Cup National Final and earned the Silver Medal in the Junior Pleasure Olympics.

    Hanna's next stop is Mane Event where she’ll participate in her first all ages final, the Good Hands. 


    Roy is King

    Because of crazy schedules, Allison and Roy haven’t shown as much as they’d probably like this season.  They were able to make it to St Louis, and found themselves in a very deep amateur Five Gaited division. After a really strong second place in the qualifier, Team Roy let out the stops in the deep, deep championship, and won the tricolor.


    If You Can Ride A Park Horse...

    Kerry is known far and wide for her riding skills.  She shows her beautiful and sometimes very creative park mare Leila, officially known as Brookhill’s Passion Punch to great acclaim.

    At St Louis, Kerry used her cowgirl skills in a different way as she showed her mom Susan’s western prospect, Sir Don Juan, in the ladies western division.  She looked the part in one of Susan’s altered outfits, and finished fifth after just about that many western lessons.


    The Equitation Veterans Ride at the Top

    Haley, Lora, and Madison have been working extra hard, and it has paid off this fall.

    Homegrown Knollwood Kid Haley is another member of the “I’ll ride any horse, any time" club, and it was evident this fall as she showed several different horses to great finishes in the finals.

    Haley earned a bronze medal in the senior division of the Pleasure Equitation Olympics, and finished third in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup National Final.

    Perhaps her proudest moment this fall was when her fellow competitors voted her the Sportsmanship Award winner in Indianapolis!


    Lora and her beautiful mare Sophie, officially known as Royal Tryst, have been very successful this season in the senior equitation division, with reserve championships at Lexington, and most recently in St Louis where they performed a beautiful pocket pattern to finish second to the current world champion rider.

    Lora travels from Iowa to train with Scott and Carol, and enjoys her extended stays at the Hotel Berget.


    Madison and Mina,  officially known as My Kind Of Lover,  have enjoyed great success this fall.  Team Mina finished as reserve national champions in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup Senior Final, and was third in the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion in St. Louis.

    Madison travels from Arizona to train at Knollwood, and is also a card carrying member of the Hotel Berget customer loyalty program.


    Academy State Champions

    The Wisconsin Futurity Horse Festival hosted the state championships of academy equitation in September, and Team Knollwood was fortunate to win both divisions.

    Emma won the championship after earlier season wins at Madison Classic, Prairie State, Oshkosh, and Summerfun. But Emma isn’t just beautiful on a horse, she has been helping us bring new horses along all season.

    Her Futurity win was on Captain Kaos, who recently started his academy career.  Emma worked through a busy railwork session and a complicated pattern, building his confidence along the way.



    How does an 8 year old win the state championship against riders much older? Mia held her own on the rail on the always charismatic Baxter, officially known as A Champagne Toast.  When she made the workout, she guided him through trotting a figure eight which she chose to invert.  Her horsemanship skills made for a precise, energetic pattern for the win.


    Finn Wins Three

    Finn and her beautiful mare Frankie, officially known as Nuttin’ But A Lady have been at the top of the 13 and under equitation world this season. Arriving at Knollwood as primarily a pleasure horse, Scott, Carol, and Finn have worked hard to teach Frankie the ways of an equitation horse.

    Team Frankie won both their qualifier and championship at Lexington before their busy fall.

    They’ve gone on to win the Gold Medal in the Junior Pleasure Equitation Olympics before winning the UPHA Junior Pleasure Challenge Cup National Final and the Saddle and Bridle Junior Pleasure Equitation Medallion National Final.

    Oh, and they pulled out a 9th place finish in the all age ASHA Pleasure Equitation National Championship in St. Louis, too.

    Traveling from Colorado to Knollwood, Finn is yet another member of the frequent guest program at the Hotel Berget.

    Next up for Finn and Frankie is Mane Event, where they’ll show in the all ages Good Hands Final. 



    Sportsmanship and Horsemanship Rise To The Top

    Our academy team just finished a wonderful show last weekend. Held at Beyond Stable Farm in Woodstock, Illinois, the UPHA Chapter 10 Fall show featured great competition in the academy division.

    We offer special thanks to Jordan for helping Murphy further his show experience in a new place.  He’s learning the ways of academy life, and Jordan’s calm demeanor helped him on Saturday.

    Richie showed Murphy in the walk and trot division on Sunday, and both of them looked like veterans. Richie even won his equitation championship on our newest academy horse.

    All of our riders showed great sportsmanship, cheering on Knollwood friends as well as friends from other barns. Their horsemanship skills shone in pattern classes and in how they cared for their horses throughout the show.



    We're looking forward to the challenges of Mane Event, the Royal, IASPHA, and the Fall Knollwood Show.

    We hope you'll follow our adventures, and join us at the shows!

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  • My Take on Halloween, By Forest

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Hi everyone, it's Forest here.

    So far this fall, I've been forced to babysit another little creature.  This one's name is Nacho, and I think Pony Frank is in love with him.

    I just want to eat, and those two are always running around, interrupting my important grazing time.  Somehow, round Frank looks none the lighter yet.  


    Next up on my fall schedule is Halloween on Horseback.  For me, this usually means a silly costume and lots of spray paint.  I've been a lady bug, Snookie, Winnie the Pooh, and a clown, to name a few.

    Please get your ideas together and join me for Halloween weekend 2017.  This year, we're hosting parties on October 20 and 21, and I know you have some great ideas.


    Once you've thought of an exciting horse costume, tell Ann or Nancy about it, and they can find one of my friends who will appreciate the outfit and wear it with a good sense of humor.

    Please embarrass the pony.

    The party is only $40, and you can pay when your horse is assigned.


    You can join us for costume creation starting at 4:30 on your party day, and costume judging is at 6:00 PM.  You'll enjoy the Halloween experience of smelling water soluble hair dye being applied in mass quantities, and hearing frantic costume designers calling out for scissors.

    After the prizes are handed out, we get to play games with our riders.  I am famous for making it to the final round of Musical Feedsacks, and then showcasing my unique sense of humor.  You won't want to miss the games!


    After games, our staffs take care of us and we get to go outside to discuss the events of the evening, and scare the neighbors with our unusual haircolors.

    Party goers get to retire to the show barn lounge for a potluck of epic proportions if everyone remembers to bring a dish.  Please sign up in the school barn lounge!

    Knollwood will provide water for everyone, and parent are welcome to being their own adult beverages to share.


    We're looking forward to a great spooky Halloween at Knollwood!


    But really,  PLEASE embarrass the pony!!


    Oh, and don't get too much paint on me, as I'm going to the Fall IASPHA show in Gurnee the following weekend.  I'm in the costume class there, and I don't want to distract from my costume with last week's remnants.  My IASPHA costume is great, and I can hardly wait to parade around with my friends.

    See you at the barn.

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  • 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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