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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!!!
The 2017 edition of ASAW Summer Showcase is a memory, and we can safely say that a good time was had by all of Team Knollwood.
We've had time to think about the weekend, and want to reflect on our favorite benefits of participating in this fun, relaxed little show.
It's Spectator Friendly.
Set in a park like setting, show spectators can choose to watch the action in the big outdoor ring from the shade of the barn overhangs, or in the sun of the bleachers and picnic tables. If they'd rather, fans can get up close and personal right along the rail, too. Everything's close and walkable, including the air conditioned concession stand and restrooms. At Cedarburg, no golf carts are required!
We Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Experienced riders in the 'B' division and the academy division get to show in the BIG outdoor ring. We enjoyed perfect weather last weekend, so it was a real treat for riders to enjoy the challenge of showing outdoors.
The size of the ring also meant that the large academy classes could be run with 13 riders. The older and wiser walk trot academy riders showed their ringsmanship while they battled to the best positions to be seen by Judge Michelle Krentz.
We Put $$ Back in the ASAW Scholarship Fund
The show splits the proceeds 50/50 between the Knockouts and the ASAW Scholarship Fund. With big classes again this year, we're expecting to make a sizeable contribution to the scholarship fund. This year, 2 Knockout members were fortunate to receive $3000 payouts as they start their college careers. We're happy to support the program that rewards riders and scholars.
Saddlebred Rescue Wins
Our friends at Soul Fire designed a stencil of the ASAW Logo which was artfully painted on pallets by Knockouts Jen and Emma. Originally set simply as center ring decorations, so many friends expressed interest in the artwork that we decided to auction the designs to benefit Saddlebred Rescue. Thanks to social media and Vicky's hard work, the art auction was a huge success.
The Knockouts also sold horse treat bags containing mints, apples, and horse treats. This idea created by Mary added $100 to the donation.
We're happy to report that all these great ideas and the help of generous friends resulted in a $1225 donation to Saddlebred Rescue to help horses in need.
Horses Love the Show
The relaxed atmosphere of the show is contagious. Our horses really enjoyed the schedule and the arenas for the weekend. Many of them made the most of the cool mornings and took their power naps before the afternoon academy performances.
Friendships are Made
There's something about this friendly show that sets it apart. Maybe it's the setting, maybe it's the parties and the snow cones, or maybe it's the shifts in the concession stand supporting the Knockouts and the show, but the riders all have a great time together.
Horse Show Careers are Begun Here
The small indoor arena is the perfect place to bring young and maiden riders, and we made great use of the venue this year, bringing 9 first time show stars. Classes are small, horses and riders enjoy a controlled environment, and spectators can get up close for those important pictures.
The schedule also allows for even first time riders to enjoy up to 4 classes at their first show, allowing for plenty of feedback between events. By the end of the afternoon, our rookies felt like pros!
We'd like to offer great thanks to the barns who supported the show with riders and sponsorships. We are also grateful to all the volunteers who make the show work, from the gatekeepers to the concession stand workers and delivery crews. Thanks also to judge Michelle Krentz for giving up time just before Louisville to look at our up and coming riders.
It takes a village, and we have a great one.
Calling all Knockout members!
Our biggest event of the year is fast approaching, and we need your help.
The ASAW Summer Showcase starts next Saturday at the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds, and we're in charge.
The Knockouts and ASAW run the show, and split all the proceeds 50/50. It's a wonderful chance to learn the inner workings of horse shows, and it's a great benefit to the Knockouts!
And, the ASAW portion funds the scholarships offered each year to ASAW members. This year, Sarah and Jess each won $3000 towards their first year of college, so we need to put some money back into the pot!
On Friday, we're looking for Knockouts to deliver bagged shavings to the stabling area, to help set up the concession stand, and to organize center ring, trophies, and ribbons.
On Saturday and Sunday, our crack concession team will be on hand to provide show riders, friends, and spectators with great food.
They even provide delivery service to the barns for the busy workers! Would you like to meet new friends from other barns? Sign up to deliver lunch orders. You'll be a really popular person!
The concession stand is air conditioned, so it's really popular. We're looking for Knockouts to work a shift or 2 to serve all the hungry people.
We're expecting the show to be another big one. The show features 'B' and academy classes on both Saturday and Sunday.
We're excited to have Michelle Krentz traveling from Kentucky to judge the show this year. Michelle is the Media and Marketing Manager for the American Saddlebred Horse Association, and is a life long exhibitor of the breed. Michelle started her career as a Knollwood Kid, was an equitation star on memorable horses including Jazz March and CH Louisville Lass, and is now a multi world champion rider in multiple divisions. We're thrilled she's joining us for the weekend!
Team Knollwood is introducing 9 new riders to the show ring in the Maiden academy division on Sunday afternoon. This show is well known for its history of starting new riders in the small, well controlled indoor arena that's used for the future stars of the show ring.
The Knockouts are looking forward to a wonderful weekend of horse showing at the beautiful, park like setting of the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds. Sign up sheets are going up in the school barn lounge for those of you who'd like to join all the fun.
The show is known for starting young riders on their way to successful show careers. We hope you'll come help your youth group, and stay to watch the show. You never know what the future holds for these new show riders!
See you in Cedarburg!