We're all in a little trouble here,
because barn cat extraordinaire Dean has demanded equal time for his feline view of Knollwood summer 2017.
Read on to experience his unique viewpoint...
Hi everyone, Dean here.
I have officially appointed myself the king of the Knollwood barn cats.
My qualifications? I'm smart, I'm well fed, and I have a terrific sense of humor.
Plus, I've put in enough time to know how things work around here.
Let's get one thing straight.
My name comes from the man who owns the game farm where I was born. I was a sickly kitten, and Nancy asked if she could bring me to Knollwood to become one of the entitled barn cats, and human Dean let me go with her.
My pneumonia was treated, and then I bit into an electrical cord, and I've never been the same since. The rest is history.
I love summer.
The screen doors are open, so I get to wander wherever I'd like, whenever I like. When there are too many kids around to mess with, I like to hide in the lilac bushes outside. When it's really hot and there are too many kids around, I like to nap under cars and enjoy the cool shade.
I (mostly) love all the campers and kids who come for lessons. I especially love sitting on the counter and bopping little ones on the tops of their heads while they're not looking. When they turn around to look, I make sure I'm already looking at the ceiling so they don't think I did it.
I love outside chores in the summer. I even hitch rides on the hay cart while deliveries are being made to paddocks.
In the summer, the pastures have CATNIP! OK, I may have planted the patches myself, but I sure do enjoy when the nice instructors harvest my crop as a fresh treat. Give me a little catnip, and I can amuse a bunch of riding instructors for hours!
I love private lesson time in the little outdoor ring. I get to catch up on my sun tanning, and the instructors are nice enough to build me a cabana so I can get out of the sun as well. I must stay youthful looking, and the sun will age me prematurely!
I also enjoy sitting on the top of the fence watching the school horses go by. Dudley and I have a special relationship, so he often stops to visit during his outdoor lessons.
I get to spend lots of play time with my friends, Nubby and Gomez. Nubby has an eating disorder, and Go Go Gomez is about 23 years old, and is blind and deaf. In this posse, I'm most certainly the party animal.
When Gomez (pictured above in his preppy sweater) wants something, he just yells until one of the humans figures out what he wants. Don't think you'll be able to hear him? You will. Trust me, they hear him in Oconomowoc when he feels he's missing something.
Don't even mention my half brother, Hunter. Every family has 'one of those' members, and he's mine. If you hear us growling at each other, just walk away...
One of my favorite things about the summer is the Knollwood academy show coming up on July 22-23. I'm in charge of assigning back numbers, so if you haven't already signed up, please do so soon. I have to get my cat naps in, you know.
While the horse show is going on in the barn and the arena, you'll be able to find me in the horse show office, making sure no one messes with my brilliant back number assignments. I also serve as the security guard for Jodi's bling and tie selections.
Please come watch the show on July 22-23. You'll see the priceless Knollwood lesson horses and their hard working students. The Knollwood Knockouts run a great concession stand, too!
The show starts at 1:00 pm on Sunday the 22nd for the walk trot and canter performance. The walk and trot riders are the stars at the 12 noon performance on Sunday, July 22.
And me? You know where I'll be!
Well, after a week of adventures across the Midwest, everyone is present and accounted for at Knollwood.
Where should we start?
How about the beginning ...
Scott started transporting show horses to the 76th annual Midwest Charity Horse Show last Friday. The show is the first 'big' show of the season where southern barns meet midwestern competitors for the first time. Team Knollwood had 2 loads of horses traveling to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, so Scott returned home and left again at 6AM on Saturday with the final load of competitors.
Let's back up a little here ... On Thursday, Scott transported 9 horses to Highland Ridge Stable where they'd stay while our major show barn project was under way during the horse show. More about that later ...
So, at 7AM on Saturday, Gary and his crew arrived and started taking up the old asphalt aisleways in the show barn. The miracle workers had the asphalt up and gravel down by mid afternoon. We actually had to kick them out of the barn at 5:30 so we could use the arena for a special event.
Did we mention that we built a gazebo on the same day? After Gary and company were kicked out of the show barn, they helped the builders in the big outdoor ring put the finishing touched on the new structure in 'patternland.'
And the 'special event?' It was Haley's 16th birthday party! She and our other equitation riders traveling to Midwest were pretty much Knollwood residents during the week, prepping for the big show. They were ready for some horse fun that didn't involve precision, so the games were fairly entertaining. Everyone stayed on, Finn learned how much Sundance likes to play games, Ainsley was a force to be reckoned with even on Pony Frank, and birthday girl Haley was a power blocker on Picasso, especially when she could stop him. Oh, and we have to work on some rule changes for 'hat snatch.'
Gary and company returned on Sunday, so the aisle would be ready for concrete pouring on Monday. With organized precision, he scheduled trucks around our camp schedule so our first sessions of TIny Tot and Academy Pattern Camps could go off without a hitch.
They had the concrete completely poured by 1:00, and pretty much finished by 3. With Coleen and Amanda pitching in to finish, they had the aisle in tip top shape, ready for horses to return to their stalls by Friday.
And our two camps? We had a ball!
Tiny Tot campers worked in the little outdoor ring while our advanced riders enjoyed the space of the big outdoor arena, known to all as simply 'Patternland.'
These 8 were immersed in the horse show mindset with patterns galore and railwork taught with the assistance of the one and only Forest. Of course, they also found time for lots of fun. modifying rules of games, attempting to keep leg wraps from tangling in the laundry, and being the first ever people to nap on the new cool concrete aisles.
Meanwhile at Midwest, the show started Tuesday in the newly constructed arena. With the old coliseum needing renovations, this year's show was held in the modified make up ring, and many think it was actually cooler than the old traditional building, even in the Springfield heat.
The Knollwood riders proved once again that hard work does really pay.
Our performance riders riders had some great rides, tried some new things, and earned some nice ribbons in deep classes.
Ainsley and Millie had a blast in some great classes. The junior exhibitor 5 gaited division in the 14-17 age group is stacked with big time show horses, and Team Ainsley were rockstars.
After some great performances in the show pleasure division this season, Gabby and Jerry tried the junior exhibitor park division at Midwest, and had a blast in some incredibly deep classes.
Parker and Smith continue to come together as a team, and earned some nice ribbons in big classes.
All three generations of Honkamps enjoyed Midwest 2017.
Susan used to time in Springfield to get some lessons in on Rudy, She and Carol are getting him ready to show, and welcomed the chance for lessons in a show setting.
Susan's daughter Kerri showed her breathtaking Park mare Leila to a reserve championship in the Open Park championship after Scott qualified her earlier in the show.
Susan's niece Payton is enjoying a successful season with Rosewood's Homecoming Dance, AKA Robert. Last year's equitation mount for Haley is making a name for himself in the show pleasure division with Payton. They won their limit rider class, and earned a third place ribbon the in championship with a first place vote.
Our equitation riders did us proud. Again.
Lora and Sophie were on fire, winning the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship as well as the Good Hands qualifier.
Finn pretty much ruled the 13 and under division, winning the Pleasure Equitation championship for riders 13 and under, the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup, and the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion.
After successfully showing Pistol in the hunt division, Frannie decided to try adult equitation, and won the grown up Challenge Cup class. Sarah and Fergie were 5th.
Madison was the winner of the Pleasure Equitation Championship for riders 14-17 with Haley 4th and Matthew 6th. She was also reserve in her age group.
Haley was reserve in the Good Hands qualifier, and Matthew won the UPHA Challenge Cup for riders 14-17.
We'll all enjoy a relatively quiet week at home,with no major construction projects planned.
Camps are in full swing this week, with 13 riders enjoying a session of 'classic' Knollwood summer 2017. Next week, we're hosting another sold out week of Tiny Tot camp as well an another week of traditional summer riding school. We still have a few spots open, so contact us at www.KnollwoodFarmLTD.com for details.
Show horses are off to Oshkosh early next week for one of our favorite shows, the Oshkosh Charity Horse Show. Academy horses will follow later in the week for a lively performance Saturday morning at 9.
We're looking forward to a fun filled show, and hope you can join us!
We're loving Knollwood Summer 2017, and hope you'll join us for all the adventures!
With the arrival of summer weather, construction season is beginning at Knollwood!
Don't be surprised to see some heavy equipment around the show barn starting on Saturday. Project number one is replacing the old asphalt aisles in the show barn with shiny new concrete ones.
Thanks to the generosity of our friends at Winsome Farm and Highland Ridge Stables, show horses not traveling to Midwest Charity Horse Show will be spending some time away from home during the construction project. Carlos will be a busy trainer, traveling to work his horses while the work is going on.
In addition to the major renovation of the show barn, we expect to complete work on the gazebo in the big outdoor arena in time for summer riding school. It's well on its way, and is looking great!
Thanks in advance for your patience while we work to improve the place so many call home away from home.
I've been asked to speak on behalf of the best lesson horses in the world, to tell everyone what we love about summer at Knollwood. Because I'm never at a loss for words, I happily accept the challenge, with a little help from my friends.
Personally, I love my fan. Yes, my own personal fan. Because my 'people' hail from Norway, I'm not a hot weather horse. And let's face it, I'm a little on the short side, so the big aisle fans kind of blow right over me.
So, I am the unique slip stall lesson horse who enjoys his own personal fan. You'll find me napping while enjoying the breeze!
I've heard that Scandinavian people are very comfortable with their own bodies, and I'm proud to say that I am as well. In the winter, I feel constricted by my big winter coats which feel a little tight. Summer is quite a relief when I can go out totally naked!
There's nothing like a warm bath after a day of lessons. Because of my heritage, I sometimes need a little extra help staying cool, and I get cold water baths to make me feel comfortable. I am special!
During camp, I even enjoy drinking the bath water and watching the responses of the new riders.
Summer is horse show season, and even I get to ride on the cool big rig and travel! While the fancy saddlebreds and Morgans go to lots of shows, my specialty is the ASAW Summer Showcase at the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds in August. That show understands the importance of diversity and welcomes school horses of all sizes and colors. Heck, they even have a separate division for school horse pleasure where we're all stars. This year, the show is August 12 and 13, and you won't want to miss it!
The Knockouts run the show, and offer really fun things like lunch delivery, exhibitor parties, and even snow cones during the Sunday afternoon performance. I hope someone remembers to get me one this year!
Actually, we all agree that the best part of summer is the kids who come to camp. We enjoy 4 weeks of 'classic' summer riding school with lots of beginners who are crazy about horses. We teach them how to take care of us, and how to ride. Actually, the instructors and helpers teach them a lot, too. Sessions are filling fast, so be sure to check out dates on the website!
We also have a week for the kids we teach during the year, helping them get ready for the summer Knollwood show. From July 17-21, we'll be hosting horse show crazy kids who want more riding time before the show July 22 and 23. I personally can hardly wait to start camp!
I also get to play with the advanced riders during Knollwood's pattern camps. Over the years, I've taught patterns to riders who have used my lessons all the way to the Worlds Championships.
It just never gets old!
On behalf of all my fellow lesson horses, we're looking forward to Knollwood Summer 2017.
We hope you can join us for all the fun!
Team Knollwood enjoyed a beautiful weekend in the state capital showing at the Madison Classic Horse Show. With competitors arriving from all over the country, the show has become a 'must compete' destination in the early part of the season.
Knollwood enjoyed the benefits of hard work as horses and riders performed well across many divisions. Here are a few of our favorite stories from the weekend!
These girls are versatile!
Several of our riders showed horses other than their own in Madison due to several factors.
Amanda's new horse Pixie (Poppin' Tags) won the Equitation Prospect class with Scott riding, and then went home to rest up for new adventures. Amanda was lucky to have the opportunity to show Maddie, officially known as Tura Lura Lura in the Country Pleasure division.
Meanwhile, Finn was fortunate to show Sadie, officially known as Just As Unique in several equitation classes. One of our advanced lesson horses, Sadie benefited from her time with Finn as well, being well prepped to show in the academy division on Saturday morning.
These new pairings at Madison let the riders learn from different horses in new situations. We always say you should ride every horse you can, and show whenever you can if you want to progress quickly. Finn and Amanda made the most of their opportunity to 'broaden their base,' and had fun at the same time!
Speaking of broadening the base, Haley and Fergie enjoyed learning from each other at the show. Sarah and her horse Fergie (Impressive Asset) are qualified for the adult equitation finals in Lexington, and Sarah was graduating from high school last weekend. Always up for an adventure, Haley showed enthusiastic Fergie in some equitation classes so she could continue her education with some difficult patterns. Haley and Fergie won their Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion qualifier as well as the Pleasure Equitation Championship. These two adventure seekers make quite a pair in the ring!
Knockouts in Action
On Sunday afternoon, Jen and friends volunteered at the Saddlebred Rescue Area, introducing horse newcomers to saddlebreds. They manned the petting horse area, and answered questions about riding lessons, the horse show, and anything else that came up.
The Knockouts have a long history of service to Saddlebred Rescue, and are always looking for ways to help the organization. Great thanks to Jen and friends for continuing the tradition!
Eleven of our best academy stars came to Madison to show at the first big 'A' show this season, and they all made us proud.
Academy classes were big, and the walk trot and canter championship class was a doozie with 15 riders battling for the championship title. Judge Melissa Moore was looking for horsemanship as well as beautiful form, and she found the perfect combination in Emma and Sadie. Maria and George were reserve champs in the rookie academy horse's first time off the farm, let alone his first horse show.
All of our walk, trot, and canter riders showed like pros, from 11 year old Maddie to 30 year old Siri. Congrats to them as well as Zada, 13 and under champ, Heather, Jordan, and Jen.
Our walk and trot riders were rock stars on Saturday, too! Richie and Baxter were an enthusiastic pair in the 9 and 10 year old division while Juliet and Mikayla were polished in the 8 and under classes.
Richie made the workout in the 10 and under championship, and went on to win the class. Juliet and Mikayla rode with style, worked the arena like old hands, and earned some nice ribbons, too.
What's Up Next?
Our academy and 'B' horses are off to the Prairie State Classic show in Roscoe this weekend while the show horses put the finishing touches on preparation for the Midwest Charity show coming up in Springfield, Illinois.
Classic summer riding school starts on June 19, and sessions are filling quickly. Please visit our website, www.knollwoodfarmltd.com to secure your spot in Knollwood Summer 2017!
See you at the barn!