Turning a Vision into Reality...
Knights Equestrian was co-founded in 2018 by dynamic duo Joshua Knight and Skye Liikanen. Skye and Josh have spent the past three years overseas honing their skills working with some amazing horsemen and women, most recently spending the last two years as assistant trainers to the incredibly talented Dan James of the Double Dan duo, who is based in the United States at the Australian Equine Performance Center in Kentucky.
Working for Dan and Elizabeth James was an incredibly rewarding experience, where Josh and Skye were able to travel extensively throughout America assisting with clinics, expo's and performances as well as learn from some amazing coaches and trainers who came to the Center to teach (the likes of Clayton Fredericks, Brett Parbery, Craig Johnson, Vicki Wilson, Josh Lyons and Mark and Miranda Lyon as well as Dan himself).
After an incredible few years, it is now time to come home, and Josh and Skye have a vision to share what they have learnt overseas from the gifted horsemen of many disciplines they have had the pleasure to spend time with to the Australian equine community. Knights Equestrian is based in the picturesque foothills of the Darlington Range, an hour and a half south-west of Brisbane. With brand new facilities including an indoor arena and 10 horse stable block, Skye and Josh are ready to assist you with any enquiry.
Knights Equestrian aims to provide a professional and well-rounded service to clients of the equestrian community, inclusive of all disciplines. Whether it be ridden training, starting under saddle, liberty and groundwork training, lessons, sales, clinics or performances, Knights Equestrian are looking forward to being part of your equestrian journey!
Born in Palmerston North, NZ, Joshua Knight started riding at the age of 11 and progressed quickly to pony club and then onto show jumping. At the age of 19, Josh moved to Australia's Gold Coast in QLD, and became a performer/stunt rider for the Australian Outback Spectacular show, which is where he and Skye met.
Josh and Skye had the opportunity to move to Tom Price in WA for two years, before following their passion for horses to North America. After spending time working with horses in Canada, the pair had the opportunity to join the team at the Australian Equine Performance Center in Midway, Kentucky.
Working for Dan James gave Josh many unique opportunities and the experience of working with a large range of horses, including warmbloods, thoroughbreds, quarterhorses and mustangs. Some of Josh's main roles at the Center included starting the young horses under saddle and teaching them groundwork and liberty methods.
One of the highlights of Josh's time in the USA was winning the Overall Champion, Crowd Favourite and Rookie awards at the Kentucky Mustang Makeover in Lexington with the mustang mare Bindi. Competitors only have 100 days with their horses (who are basically untouched wild horses) before the competition, and Bindi gave an incredible performance to win! Josh also competed in the Fort Worth Texas Mustang Makeover with another mustang to win the crowd favourite award and place 4th overall. Just before coming home to Australia, Josh successfully competed in a Colt Starting competition in Ohio to place second.
Josh is happy to be home in Australia, and is looking forward to working with some new horses and developing the Knights Equestrian Performance/Liberty Team.
A Gold Coast local, Skye Liikanen grew up riding horses from a young age. As a teen, Skye was very competitive to National level in both Dressage and Showing, being a member of the QLD Young Rider Squad and a HOTY winner.
Skye spent over four years as a trick rider/performer at the Australian Outback Spectacular, before moving to WA with Josh to take up a position as a primary school teacher. Whilst in WA Skye taught a number of children to ride, and she and Josh started a number of horses for local cattle stations.
Skye and Josh made the decision to follow their passion of horses to North America, spending time with a number of talented horse people before taking up an amazing opportunity to work as assistant trainers for Dan and Elizabeth James of the Australian Equine Performance Center in Midway, Kentucky. Skye had the opportunity to work with a vast range of breeds and types of horses while at Dan's, including warmbloods, thoroughbreds, quarter horses and ponies as well as starting horses at liberty and working with Dan's liberty team. Skye was responsible for client liaison and farm management.
One of Skye's main goals in America was to take part in the Retired Racehorse Project's TB Makeover. Skye found her partner Brumby for this in April of 2018 and had six months prepare him for the Freestyle and Dressage components of the competition in October. Brumby showed the true versatility of the TB by winning the Dressage Championship and placing 4th in the Freestyle in a field of over 100 competitors. Skye was also able to successfully take out clients dressage horses who had been started under saddle at the centre to their first competitions with wins and placings.
One of the highlights of working for Dan was being his travelling groom at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon USA with the reining stallion Don Magnum as part of the Australian team.
Skye is looking forward to competing in the dressage and show rings on Australian soil, and enjoys starting horses for the racetrack. Skye also has an interest in producing safe, reliable children's ponies.