At least so far, 2020 has not turned out at all
like we planned. Who could have anticipated our world
being completely turned upside-down by a pandemic?
And now, the country is in turmoil after the brutal
murder of George Floyd. But from the darkest moments, some
good can come. I find it inspiring that people in so many
cities from coast to coast are coming together in protest
to demand justice for the death of George Floyd, and to
demand change in police practices going forward. This is
not just about George Floyd. Or about Ahmaud Arbery, or
Trayvon Martin. It is about 400 years of racial inequality
and abuse. It has been gratifying to see the diversity of
the marchers as men and women of all races and all ages
band together to express solidarity.
Cindy Anderson-Blank and MHS Cooley
Vegas (a.k.a. Greg)
After months of lockdown and barely leaving the
farm except for the occasional trip to the grocery store,
at last we got to go Eventing - Cindy rode the three greys
at Plantation Field on Friday. Windchase Phoenix Star and
MHS Cooley Vegas did the Open Intermediate, and Windchase
Faberge Star ran the Preliminary. All three horses went
great and jumped clear XC, and it was a great chance for
both horses and rider to knock the dust off and get back
in the competitive groove. It was fun to get off the farm
for a change, and after having all the spring Events
cancelled due to Covid, hopefully we can get some sort of
halfway normal competition schedule for the summer and
Getting by is enough right now.
saw that written as a quote somewhere the other day, and
it really rang true to me. The Pandemic, Stay at Home
orders, people out of work, all of the competitions shut
down; it feels like we are just spinning our wheels,
trying to get by. But that statement made me look at
everything a little bit differently. Itís true Ė just
getting by IS enough right now. So wash your hands,
donít touch your face, wear a mask, stay six feet apart,
and lets all just get through this, together, the best we
I know a lot of people who are not able to work
have been finding themselves with tons of extra time on
their hands. They are doing things like cleaning out their
garage and binge-watching Netflix. But for us here at
Windchase, our days are not really that different form
normal times. We are still busy riding, training, and
taking care of the horses. But with no competitions on the
weekends, all the days do start to feel the same in a
Groundhog Day-ish sort of way, and it becomes hard to keep
track of what day of the week it is. We have been working
just as hard as ever, just not getting to do the things
that might actually earn some money, such as teaching
clinics and selling horses. Part of me sort of envies
those out-of-work people who are having an enforced
vacation, and thinks I could really stand to take a month
to clean out all my drawers and closets, and watch a few
movies. (But the rest of me knows I would really hate it.)
have all gotten much better at social distancing. We have
strict protocols in place at Windchase to limit numbers of
people and keep everyone safe. We are now carefully
starting up with Covid-safe clinics (with very small
groups and no contact), and we are now showing horses for
sale again. In fact, we have a really outstanding group of
Horses for Sale at the
moment; check them out!
In the meantime, we have been having a cool but beautiful
spring. I got the chance to fly my drone the other day and
take a few photos.
So everyone, be careful, stay safe, and remember,
getting by is enough right now.
long last, I have completed the Trip Journal from my photo
safari in Africa last year and posted it on this website,
with photos. Sorry it has taken so long to get done, but I
wanted to do a complete report which does take some time,
and well, you know, life sort of gets in the way. But it
is finally online, and you can follow this link to the Africa
2019 Trip Report. Let
me know what you think.
March 29, 2020
to covid-19, we are all going through difficult times
these days. Our focus at Windchase is on continuing to
take the very best of care of the horses while keeping
staff and clients safe through careful and diligent social
distancing and sanitizing measures.
the meantime, we are going on with training the horses. It
is quite ironic that with the mild winter, we were been
able to get outside schooling a lot and have the horses
the best prepared for the spring Event season they could
possibly be. Cindy took four horses down to Aiken for a
month to get an early jump on the season. And now of
course, everything is (rightly) shut down.
the end, this will all pass. Perhaps it will serve as a
reminder to us that though for most Eventers our horses
and competition tend to be our all-consuming focus, there
are some things in this world that are more important.
We have had to temporarily suspend our clinics and
group activities, but we will keep training the horses,
clients, boarders and working students, and plan to be
ready for competition whenever it resumes again after this
crisis is over. And we are currently accepting new horses
in for boarding and training. Although non-essential
businesses are shut down in Virginia at the moment, the
care and exercise of horses and other animals are
classified as essential.
have new horses coming in for sale, and are bringing along
the youngsters. When this is all over and people are out
shopping again, we will have an exciting group of both
young prospects and Eventers with some experience to offer
the meantime, stay safe!
As you know, the Covid-19 pandemic and the
resulting necessary public health measures have created
significant challenges for all of us. Windchase is, as
always, totally committed to providing the best of care
for the horses as well as excellent riding experiences for
the owners and clients.
are equally committed to avoiding exposure of our staff to
Covid-19, so at Windchase we have strict Social Distancing
protocols in place for everyoneís protection.
now the logistics of life are difficult, and it seems like
we spend most of our time washing our hands and spraying
disinfectant on anything anybody touches. Our lives, our
work and our sport are interrupted, and the worst still
seems to be ahead of us. It is hard not to feel down at
I drove over the mountain yesterday on Route 9, and
up at the top there was a pickup truck with three kids
standing in the back of it, smiling and waving at the
passing motorists, and each holding a sign that together
read: THIS IS
was uplifting, and I would like to thank those children,
whoever they were, for brightening up the day of everyone
who passed by.
We will get through this. We will all get through
this by sticking together (well, together in spirit, but
staying at least six feet apart). So take precautions, be
diligent, and keep your chin up. Ride your horse, walk
your dog, be glad that Spring is here, and hang in there. Remember,
This Is Temporary.
February 22, 2020
Wow, 2020! Canít believe
how quickly the time passes. Which is no excuse for how
behind I am in updating this page. A lot to cover now.
We have been enjoying a mild
winter so far here in Virginia; the groundhog saw his
shadow so an early spring is forecast. The ground has
hardly frozen all winter, and we have been able to school
outside quite a bit more than usual for this time of year.
Exciting stuff, because Event Season is just around the
Eventing is represented down south this winter; Cindy has
just taken four horses down to Aiken, where she will be
based until late March. While we miss having her here at
Windchase, this is a great chance for Cindy to get in some
early competitions and train with some of the top coaches
in the country, so we are very excited about this
opportunity for her. We
want to make sure Cindy is safe when out training and
competing, so we had a little send-off for her and gave
her a bubblewrap suit.
meantime, Amy Faison is doing a great job riding the young
horses, along with Jineen and our great group of working
students, Peytie, Rachael, Sarah, Claire, Christi and
Grace. Our friend Mordacai is a great contributor
schooling the youngsters as well. Much Thanks to them all!
would also like to give a shout out to all of our sponsors
and companies who give us assistance. Hylofit and Equine
Tech Collaborative, along with the generous help of Event
Clinics, awarded Cindy a Hylofit system. This is much more
than just a heart monitor, and it is already helping Cindy
evaluate her horsesí fitness and plan an optimal
conditioning schedule for them. We are all quite comfy
riding in Voltaire saddles, and the horses love them too!
And we are excited about switching to Buckeye feeds; I
have heard so many good things about their products, and
our high performance horses are already thriving on it. We
also feed Grand Meadows supplements, Cindy is riding in
Tucci Time boots, and our horses look sharp wearing ear
bonnets from Snowden Creations. Thanks, all of you, for
The Windchase Winter jumping clinics are going
strong; we have been having 4 or 5 groups jumping every
Sunday. I will be announcing new Spring clinic dates
shortly. And mark your calendars; the next Windchase
Cross-country Derby will be on May 16.
December 31, 2019
Another year gone by - no wait, another decade - can you
believe it? How time flies. Each
day is a gift, and we should try to savor every moment.
We welcome 2020
with hopes of peace and harmony.
Happy New Year to all.
December 24, 2019
Merry Christmas, from Phyllis and
everyone at Windchase.
December 1, 2019
Windchase Winter Jumping Clinics are starting up this
coming weekend. Come jump with Olympian Phyllis Dawson.
Visit our Jump Clinic page
for more information. To sign up, go to our Event
am thankful every day to live and work at Windchase, and
for the wonderful horses, dogs, cats and wildlife that
live here. And the people, too! I know how lucky I am to
be able to ride nice horses across beautiful countryside,
and to get to spend most days working with horses and
animals and doing the things I love. I am thankful for
Windchase Magic, that special quality that makes Windchase
A wise person once told me that the key to business
is to surround yourself with the very best people
possible, and I have been lucky enough over the years to
be able to surround myself with an exceptional staff. I
want to thank each and every one of them for making
Windchase the special place that it is.
Reed, stable manager, trainer and life-long best friend,
has been a huge part in developing Windchase in to what it
Anderson-Blank does a terrific job in to the role of head
rider, competitor and trainer, and she is an integral part
of the farm and business going forward.
Faison is an invaluable part of the operation riding,
training, and overseeing the running of the daily
Bautista is farm manager extraordinaire; he keeps
Windchase looking the best it ever has, and is constantly
Brunkow, assisted by her daughter Savannah, keeps the
competition and sale horses ready for work and looking
the working students: Rachael Roae, Sarah Wyssen, Peytie
Klein, Claire Maksymetz, as well as part-timers Cristi
Whitehead and Grace Clark. They collectively do a superb
job taking top quality care of the horses.
also have a myriad of friends and boarders who chip in,
step up, and help out whenever needed. There help and
friendship are an invaluable asset.
thanks to each and every one of you for being an important
part of Team Windchase!
And as always, I am thankful or the brave
men and women in the military who keep us safe
and free, and for the first responders who are there for
us when need is the greatest. I wish them a safe and
Tracey McGrath and Mizz Indy Cat, winners of the
Training division at the Windchase XC Derby
The Windchase XC Derby was this past Saturday, and
it was a big success. Despite cold weather, the footing
was perfect and we had a good turnout. Judged on jumping
penalties and closest to Optimum Time for all three
levels, the course was almost two miles long. We all had a
lot of fun, and plan to include the Derby on our schedule
in the spring and the autumn next year.
Anna and Avon, flying around the BN at the
excellent XC course for schooling! Visit the XC
Schooling page for more info. We have three large
XC fields with excellent turf and over 250 fences, and
last year we added a new water jump complex, Irish banks,
mounds and a coffin complex. This gives us everything we
need to school horses from Elementary through Advanced. It
is so fabulous that we decided we needed to share it with
others, so this autumn we have opened up the course for
schooling by appointment (weather and footing permitting
of course). Contact Phyllis to arrange to come schooling.
Congratulations to Cindy Anderson-Blank and Windchase
Phoenix Star, for winning the Intermediate division at
Morven Park last weekend. Cindy and Phoenix have formed a
great partnership as they moved up through the levels
together, but an injury in the spring of 2018 sidelined
Phoenix from competition for a year. It was so great to
watch this pair gallop around the iconic XC course at
Morven, and the fact that they won was just icing on the
Phoenix at Morven Park
us for Windchase Wednesdays Jumping
Clinics through the autumn; your choice of Show
Jumping or Cross-country (weather permitting). Sign up at
our Event Clinics website link: http://bit.ly/Windchase