• Stories From The Fall IASPHA Show

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    We just finished our 2017 academy show season at the Fall IASPHA show in Gurnee.  The organization hosts 3 shows a year at Fields and Fences, a wonderful facility where everything is under one roof.  It’s heated, has the best concession stand food in the land, and can accommodate a large event comfortably.  The show offers hospitality events every night, welcome goodies for each barn, and one heck of a costume class on Saturday night. (More about that later…)

    Here are our favorite stories from the weekend where we had a blast.

     Our ’B’ Riders Rocked


    Jodi, Laura, and Mary enjoyed a successful season showing JD, Heist, and Panic.  Competing in pleasure classes, these three love spending time with their show horses at these friendly shows.  This was a particularly good show for them, with Laura finishing reserve champ in the Show Pleasure division for Limit Riders, and Mary came in third.  Jodi and JD had some strong rides as well.

    Besides showing at these events, these three are invaluable keeping everything running smoothly during big academy performances.  They help us prep horses, keep stalls clean and bedded, wash millions of legs and tails, and offer confidence boosting advice to our up and comers.  We couldn’t do it as well without them!


     Forest Made The Trip

    So, it’s always been Lauren’s dream to show Forest at an out of barn show, and we wanted to bring him for the costume class, so her dream came true this weekend.  Lauren is a fan of all horses, serving as the president of ‘The Fred Fan Club,’ and always choosing unusual horses to show at the Knollwood show.  She is a true animal lover, as witnessed by her home menagerie and her success at showing goats with the one and only Mabel.

    Lauren and Forest worked the arena, going deep and making passes off the rail.  Some of the horses in the ring looked unsure about the short, rather round yellow horse with the mohawk who was making his way around the show ring.  The rather unusual looking team was rewarded with some great ribbons including third place in the equitation championship.  The audience was treated to a picture perfect workout by the equitated Fjord.

    After his championship, Heather who was supposed to ride JD in the pattern class decided to give it a try on Forest.  She talked Forest into cantering a respectable serpentine, and finished in third out of 9 good patterns.  We applaud these riders and their performances of horsemanship and sportsmanship. 



     Forest and The Crazy Bees

    So after the Saturday afternoon academy performance, we switched gears to prepare for the main event of the evening, the costume class.  After 3 hours of painting and drying the paint, Forest was transformed into a bee.  (Great thanks to Mary for creating his wings!)

    We added riders dressed as bees, and a bee whisperer to complete our “Crazy Bees’ entry for class 1313.

    We finished 5th in a crazy competitive class with fabulous costumes.


    The Dynamic Duo

    Haley and Lora joined us for the weekend to help us with 19 academy riders, a bee costume, and the ‘B’ horses.  Their years of experience made them an invaluable addition to the weekend as they worked lesson horses, washed tails and legs, helped academy riders warm up, perform tack changes, and pitched in wherever they could,

    Haley also had the privilege of changing Forest back from his bee costume to his everyday Fjord suit. Our 2 super helpers will be off to compete in the equitation finals at the Royal next week, and we’re so grateful for their time and energy last weekend!



     Grownups Galore

    The adult academy division is thriving at IASPHA.  Classes in horsemanship and equitation each had 10 entries, and Team Knollwood accounted for 5 of them.  We had an assortment of ages and experience among our riders, and they all had a great time.




     Rachel’s First Show

    Rachel started riding at Knollwood in 2000,  having grown up almost next door to the farm.  She enjoyed showing at the in-barn shows, but could never quite swing out of barn shows as a kid.

    Rachel went to college and to vet school in Minnesota where she found a friendly barn to ride.  She’s now a practicing small animal vet in the area, has purchased her first house, and just attended her first out of barn show.

    Rachel showed one of our newest horses, Rumours of War, and did a great job.  We’re really proud of her patience and her accomplishments at the first show.



     Friends Helping Friends

    So this was a really popular show, and we were short on horses for the walk trot and canter academy division.  Our friend Sammy at Lance Hayes Stables offered us the use of Deker’s All American who was born and started his show career at Knollwood.  (He actually shares his daddy with Dexter and Hooper.)

    Maddie made a trip to Neenah for a lesson up there, and then did a practice ride on Friday at the show.  She and Sharky ‘clicked’ at the show, and won all three of their classes in the 13 and under division.

    Great thanks to Sammy for helping us out.

    On Sunday, our friends at Huntoon Stables found themselves with a lesson horse that wasn’t having a great day, so we lent them our walk trot academy rockstars Klem and Hooper so riders could continue to show.

    We live in a small industry, and we try to help friends whenever we can. 



     Our Walk and Trot Future is Bright

    We may have had fewer riders for the walk and trot academy performance on Sunday, but we had plenty of quality horse/rider combinations in the ring.

    Sofia  has made a lot of progress this season, and finished with a bang at IASPHA.  She and Baxter used the ring well in some heavy traffic and got a little better with every ride as their confidence increased.

    We’re super excited for our 2 riders who were showing at only their second show.  Aiden and Rachel made their show ring debuts at the ASAW Summer Showcase in August, and wanted to show one more time in 2017.

    They both rode in big classes full of experienced show riders, and looked like they belonged in the group.  Aiden and Eddie gained confidence with every ride, and even finished 5th in their championship of 10 riders.  Rachel had Hugo trotting with a real purpose, even winning their equitation qualifier and their championship.



     Richie and Tink

    Richie has enjoyed a great academy season in 2017 as he’s been working hard at home learning to ride his new horse, the incomparable Miss Mheiry Mack.  All his effort paid off this weekend as he made his debut with ‘Tink’ in the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation division.

    While they were the only competitors in their division, these 2 showed great progress with every ride.  Tink is all show horse through and through, so she feels incredibly different than even our fanciest lesson horses.  She’s been a show horse her whole career, loves every minute of it, and has a lot to teach.

    Richie showed again that he’s a true student of horses.  After each ride, he and Carol would discuss the class and their strategy for the next class, which he executed like a professional.

    We’re incredibly proud of all that Richie has accomplished in the lesson program, and we can hardly wait to see the further adventures of Richie and Tink.  Next up for them is the UPHA National Championship American Royal.




    What’s Ahead?

    The Knollwood Fall Show is coming up fast on November 11 and 12, and it’s going to be a great one.  We’re a little short of help with the concession stand, as the show horses and their families will be in Kansas City at the Royal.  We’re looking for help staffing the stand as well as contributions of taco meat and goodies for the bake sale.  If you’d like to join the fun, you can sign up here.

    Hair appointments are going fast!  If you don’t already have yours set, please do so soon.  And remember to bring your supplies:  a hair tie, bobby pins, hair nets, a brush, and hairspray.

    There’s still time to sign up for practice rides on Friday the 10th at either 5:30 or 6:30. Please talk to your instructor if you’re interested in this little bit of extra practice.



    Our show horses are heading to Kansas City on Friday for the UPHA National Championship American Royal Show.  Home to the UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals, the USEF Medal Final, and numerous national championships, this last show of the 2017 campaign will be a great one.  We'll post schedules and links to purchase the webcast soon so you can follow along.


    See you at the barn!



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  • Where We've Been, and Where We're Going

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Everyone enjoyed a few days at home base this week after the show horses returned from a very successful Mane Event show in Springfield, Illinois.

    Our horses and riders rode well and learned a lot at this favorite fall show.  In the performance division, our 5 gaited riders rode with a purpose and were rewarded for it.  Ainsley and Millie were winners of both the qualifier and the championship in the Junior Exhibitor division.  This team keeps getting better and better as they head to one of Ainsley's favorite shows, The American Royal in a few weeks.

    Fresh off an impressive championship win in St Louis, Allison and Roy were at it again at Mane Event, winning the amateur qualifier and finishing reserve in their deep championship.

    Once again, Kerry showed her versatility in two divisions.  She teamed with her charismatic park mare Leila in the amateur division and earned great ribbons in strong competition.

    She then slowed it down a bit to show her mother Susan's western horse Rudi in the western pleasure division.  She truly can ride anything.

    Parker finished out her junior exhibitor career at Mane Event, and went out in style as she and Smyth were reserve champions in Country Pleasure for Junior Exhibitors.

    Parker grew up a Knollwood Kid, and enjoyed a very successful academy career before graduating to the leasing program last season.  She's had the opportunity to show several horses under the guidance of Scott and Carol, and has enjoyed a lot of success.

    Our equitation riders made their presence known at Mane Event which really showcases the discipline.

    Haley and Lora made it all the way to the top 10 of the Good Hands National Final.  All the riders competing were accomplished and smooth, and the tiniest bauble knocked riders out of contention.

    Team Knollwood brought contenders for the adult edition of the Good Hands Final, too.  Sarah and Fergie finished fourth while Frannie and Butters finished fifth in a strong group of 'grown up' equitation riders.

    Madison and Hanna were rockstars in the Jackpot Equitation class at the show.  Open to any equitation rider, the class features many of the best in the country.  We're happy to report that Madison finished in second, and 11 year old Hanna finished third and received a first place vote from one of the judges.


    Finn learned a lot about her beautiful mare Frankie in the deepest competition they've yet been in, and won the USEF Medal qualifier at the show.


    Our show horses and riders have one more show this season, the UPHA National Championship American Royal in Kansas City.  The show features National Championships in many divisions, and hosts the last 2 equitation finals in the Triple Crown.  We can hardly wait!




    This weekend, our academy team heads to the fall IASPHA show in Gurnee, their last out of barn show of the 2017 season.  Shows put on by this organization are always popular, and this edition is no exception.  We're traveling with 19 academy riders, 3 'B' horses, and a very special horse and rider making their show ring debut.  


    By way of a preview of the weekend, our 19 academy riders include 5 adult riders, including one who will be making her show ring debut after growing up a Knollwood Kid and showing at in-barn shows.  IASPHA offers adults their own championship classes, and they really like it, showing up in great numbers.

    The show is so popular for us, that we're even borrowing a horse from another program.  Maddie is lucky enough to be showing the one and only Sharky, officially known as Deker's All American.  He grew up at Knollwood, so we guess he was a Knollwood Kid.  He's now teaching lessons at Lance Hayes Stables in Neenah, and instructor Sammy was kind enough to offer his services to us. We are grateful to Sammy and Lance, and are looking forward to watching Maddie have a blast with giant Sharky.

    In the spirit of the Halloween theme, we're bringing an unusual horse for the walk trot and canter academy classes on Saturday afternoon.  Lauren has always wanted to show Forest in an out of barn show, so this is her dream come true. After his academy performance, his transformation will start as we prepare him for the costume class.  Trust us, this is going to take a while, so you may want to stop by the aisle with refreshments for us.

    Because of the big turnout, we're bringing in extra support staff.  We're thrilled that Good Hands Top 10 riders Haley and Lora and joining us as personal assistants to our riders and horses for the weekend. They'll also be called in to work on costume creation, though they may not know that yet... Sue, creator of the patented 'Berget Bun,' is joining us Saturday to make sure all our riders look perfect, and to save Laura from having to create 14 buns at once.


    Even Carol is joining us, as she's bring a rider making a debut at the show.  Richie has been working his way up in the walk and trot academy ranks.  His parents purchased Miss Mheiry Mac last winter, and team building has been progressing quickly. They'll make their debut in the 10 and under walk and trot equitation division at the show, and we can hardly wait to see Tink show her new rider exactly how it's done.



    Meanwhile, at home, the Knollwood Fall show is coming up fast, November 11 and 12.

    Sign up sheets are up in the school barn lounge for hair appointments and for the helper gift baskets.  Please consider donating to the helper team of your choice, as the winning helper night will receive a pizza party courtesy of the Knockouts.

    You can also sign up for practice rides with your instructor.  Held on Friday, November 10, these classes are perfect for our maiden riders, or for those who'd like a little refresher.

    See you at the barn!

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  • The Quest For The Triple Crown Starts Now!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    The Mane Event Horse Show gets underway tomorrow in Springfield, and with it starts the quest for the triple crown of equitation. 

    Dating back to 1929, the Good Hands final is the most historic event in the crown which also includes the UPHA Challenge Cup Final and the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final. In order to be a triple crown winner, a rider must win all three finals in the same year.

    It's a monumental feat, and we're proud to say that Team Knollwood has produced two Triple Crown winners so far.  Sarah Thordsen won in 2001, and Nick Maupin won in 2010. They're the only Wisconsin/Illinois  riders to have accomplished the feat, and both started their lessons right here at Knollwood.

      The last 2 events are held at the UPHA American Royal National Championship Show in November.

    Competition for the Good Hands final starts on Friday morning with Phase I.  All riders who have placed first or second in a qualifying class throughout the season are eligible to show in Springfield.  Phase I will consist of railwork after which each rider will perform the qualifying pattern for the final which is: canter a figure 8, trot to the judge, and back.

    Following phase I, the judges will pare the initial group down to 10-15 riders. Those selected will move on to phase II on Saturday afternoon where the riders will again perform on the rail and perform a pattern of the judges' choice.

    The awards ceremony when the Top 10 riders will be introduced and the ribbons handed out will be Saturday evening at 6:30.

    Scores are weighted so rail work will count for 40% of the score while patterns will count for 60%.  Phase I and Phase II scores are weighted evenly, so every ride counts.

    This competition features the best of the best, and progressing into phase II is a major accomplishment for any rider.

    Team Knollwood is sending a strong contingent to compete in the Good Hands.  

    Fresh off their successes in the pleasure equitation finals this fall, Haley and Madison are looking forward  to the challenge of the open division.

    As winners of the junior finals, Finn and Hanna can hardly wait to show against the best that the equitation world has to offer.  Watch for these young riders try to make their presence known in the deep end of the horse show pool.

    Lora has made a name for herself in the trimmed equitation this season.  With reserve championships at the prestigious Lexington Junior League and the St Louis National, as well as the championship at the All American Horse Classic, Team Sophie is ready for the challenge that awaits.


     The event also offers an adult edition of the final.

      Team Knollwood is sending Sarah and Frannie to compete in the 'grown up' version on Friday night where they'll perform both on the rail and in pattern work.







    In addition to the equitation events, the Mane Event show hosts a deep, deep horse show for all divisions of Saddlebreds and ponies.

    Team Knollwood will be well represented in the 5 gaited divisions.

    Coming off their impressive amateur championship win at St Louis,  Allison and Roy are ready to 'turn and burn' again in Springfield.

    Ainsley and Millie wowed us at the All American Horse Classic, and are ready to take on all comers in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited division this weekend. 



    Kerry will again be a force in the Park division with Leila, and will don her western gear again to show Rudi as well.



    Parker and Smyth will take on competitors in the Country Pleasure division, and Scott has several horses going for the Jackpot classes.


    You can follow all the action on the USEF Network.





    Meanwhile, at home, Halloween on Horseback takes over the arena on Friday night.  We're looking forward to seeing 12 of the best lesson horses in the world wearing costumes while exhibiting their endless ability to laugh at it all.


    We'll host a Knockout meeting at 2:30 on Saturday, and parents are welcome to join us to seal the gazebo at 3:00 on the same day.

    Oh, and we'll be prepping for the sold out IASPHA show the following weekend, where we'll compete with 19 academy riders.  The Knollwood show is coming up fast, so those preparations are going full speed, too.

    It takes a village, and we've got a great one.

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  • 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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