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Notes from Phyllis


Read about Phyllis's
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 Trip Report Page  
Canada 2010

Learn about Phyllis 
and Jineen's trip 
Africa in 2015 

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and Photos from 
Costa Rica 2017

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Windchase Quotes:

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.
                                                                                ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

November 30, 2017

     I have been wading through the photos I took in Africa this summer and writing up my journal, but things are busy and the going has been slow; I am hoping to post the full report by the end of the winter. 
     But in the meantime, here is a little snippet for your enjoyment:

     Suddenly the big bull elephant came straight toward us, crossing the water and climbing the near bank with a toss of his head. He was huge – our guide Gee said the big males weigh over six tons – and very close. He looked at us and snaked his trunk around his face, curling and uncurling it and waving it in the air. Would we need to make a hasty retreat?
     Then the elephant danced for us! He started moving in a slow shuffling pattern, swinging and crossing his legs back and forth and doing a slow-motion pirouette. He swayed rhythmically, curling his trunk around his tusks like a big python, and then swinging it in circles, looking straight at us while he performed. We watched in awe as he danced to some inner music that we could not hear. Finally, show finished, he stood there a few minutes resting his trunk over one tusk in a cavalier manner. Then the huge elephant turned and walked away, his smaller companion following.

     More to come later!


November 23, 2017
     Happy Thanksgiving!
     As always, I have so much to be thankful for. Windchase is a magical place, and I am surrounded by terrific people who keep it all running well. Jineen and Cindy, in addition to being great trainers and barn managers, are also my close friends. Rachel is also an integral part of the farm and a good friend. We have a dream team of working students right now with Amy, Ray, Charlotte and Sarah, and welcome some extra help from Tori. And of course Jose does the most fabulous job keeping Windchase in top shape.    

Coming in 2018: the new spring-fed Windchase Water Jump.

     We have been making some exciting improvements around Windchase this year. We put in a new dressage arena next to the sand ring, which is really nice to have. And we have just finished putting a fabulous new water complex, several banks, and a new coffin out on the cross country courses, built by Long’s Grading. Carl Long did a fabulous job; I don’t know anyone else who has a spring-fed water complex! And of course Jose has continued to build us a ton of new portable XC fences. I can hardly wait for time to school all of these new jumps next spring!    

     Ending on a light note, I leave you with the Thanksgiving Blessing that Jimmy Stewart’s patriarchal character gave at Thanksgiving dinner in the 1965 civil war era movie Shenandoah: 

Lord, we cleared this land,
We plowed it, sowed it and harvested it. 
We cooked the harvest, 
It wouldn’t be here, we wouldn’t be eatin’ it, 
If we hadn’t done it all ourselves.
We worked dog-boned hard for every crumb and morsel, 
But we thank you just the same anyway, Lord,
For this food we’re about to eat.


November 2, 2017
     Windchase had great time at the Virginia Horse Trials last weekend; the weather was lovely for the most part, and the new Mark Phillips XC courses for the FEI divisions were excellent.

Phoenix and Cindy

     Cindy Anderson-Blank and Windchase Phoenix Star placed 3rd in the CIC**, but really they should have won it - they were held on the cross-country course, and a timing snafu gave them time penalties they did not deserve. Cindy rode great, and Phoenix went like a dream.
     Pedro Gutierrez won the CCI* on his lovely mare Unanyme du Loir, moving up for the win with one of the few clear Show Jumping rounds of the day. And to top it off, they also won the Best Turned-out award at the job. And Cindy completed the CCI** with a clear XC round on her fleet thoroughbred Two Tickets.

Pedro and Unanyme du Loir in the Victory Gallop

     In the Training division, Heidi Robertson won with her warmblood gelding Redshift. Cindy placed 8th on the talented youngster Galerna Campari Mail, and Sarah Wyssen had a good go on her Prince Rasmus. These three also won the Training Team competition! All in all, it was a great way for Team Windchase to end the autumn Event season.    


October 6, 2017
     Congratulations to Cindy Anderson-Blank; she placed 4th in the Advanced division with Windchase Phoenix Star at Morven Park last weekend. There is nothing quite like the thrill of jumping down the Leaf Pit for the first time!


September 22, 2017
     Plantation Fields is one of the best events on the circuit, and having spent so much time there back in the late seventies when I was a working student with Bruce Davidson, it is always fun to spend time in Unionville, PA. The open fields and rolling hills and protected space make it a real mecca for Eventing.
     Cindy Anderson-Blank rode two horses in the CIC** there last week; our Irish Sport Horse homebred Windchase Phoenix Star, and her own Two Tickets, and OTTB. Both horses went well, jumping clear around the challenging and hilly cross-country course.

Cindy and Windchase Phoenix Star

     Pedro Gutierrez competed his mare Unanyme du Loir in the CIC*, and putting in a solid performance in all three phases he finished 2nd. All in all, a good weekend for Windchase horses and students!

Pedro and Unanyme du Loir at the prizegiving.


September 9, 2017
      Do you ever feel bored? I don’t! I always have about three times as much to do as I have time for. I would give up sleeping if I could; I would use those lost hours for many projects. Unfortunately updating this page is one of the things I have not gotten to as promptly as I had hoped.
     I am still sorting through the many thousands of photos I took on my recent Africa trip; I really enjoy this as it is a way to relive the trip over and over. Here is a little snippet:

     In the meantime, Windchase has started the autumn season off with a bang. Cindy rode our homebred Windchase Phoenix Star beautifully in the Open Intermediate division at Seneca Valley, placing 2nd. We also won the Future Event Horse class for three-year-olds with Windchase Starfire. We now have three lovely homebreds qualified for the FEH East Coast Championships, so that should be exciting.

Windchase Starfire, in the FEH class at Seneca Valley


August 14, 2014

Hi Everyone, I know it has been a while since I updated this, but I have a good excuse this time – I have been in Africa! Jineen and I, along with some friends and family members, spent two weeks on a mobile camping safari in northern Botswana, and it was absolutely spectacular. I will be writing up a full detailed report with photos, but as busy as things are I will be lucky to get it finished by Christmastime. But in the meantime I will post a few photos, both here and on Facebook. 

Phyllis with the Meerkats


July 1, 2017

     Eventing is an amazing sport, full of highs and lows, and this spring was no exception as Windchase horses had their ups and downs. We ended the season on a good note, with Cindy winning the Training Horse at Surefire on Windchase Ballinvella and the Novice at Seneca Valley with Windchase Castlecomer. These two Irish imports have come a long way in a short time, and are going really well. Unfortunately Rachel’s nice young horse Higher Calling hurt himself in the trailer and is out of commission for a while, but expect him back better than ever in a few months.

Cindy and Windchase Castlecomer, winning at Seneca.

     We have a really exciting group of homebred three-year-olds, so now during the summer while there is a lull in the Event season, it is time to get them going under saddle.  
Meanwhile, time for some family fun; this weekend we have a house full of extended Dawson Family members, and it is super to watch the youngest generation of cousins having fun together.

The Dawson Family Summertime Plunge, exactly six months after the working student Polar Dive on New Years Day..


April 30, 2017
     The Kentucky Horse Park in April. The Rolex Three-Day Event! There is nothing quite like it.
     I first rode at the Horse Park in 1977, in the Young Riders championships. Then from 1979 through to 2001, I think I only missed riding at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event one year. Competing there was always the pinnacle of the season, and just being a part of this fabulous Event was a privilege. Galloping over that hallowed ground is exhilarating, and being lucky enough to do it on a dozen different horses over a 20+ span of years made dreams come true. Now attending as a member of the USEF Selection Committee, as well as a fan of both the sport and the horses, puts it in a very different perspective. For one thing I don’t have that nervous sick feeling in the pit of my stomach like one does when competing! But once again, just being a part of the whole thing is exciting, and the thrill is still there.

     This year’s cross country course, designed by Derek DeGrazia, was fabulous. It was a true four-star, big and galloping, with lots of technical questions; it tested the horses’ boldness, scope, and rideability. Unlike the last two years, the footing was good and the track was fast. The course caused plenty of penalties, but the best horses and riders came out on top. Watching throughout the day, as always I was in awe of the horses; they are such courageous and generous beings, and amazing athletes. It is amazing the things they will do for us.


April 25, 2017
     As exciting as it is to watch and help Cindy and Phoenix Star as they compete at the top levels, it is also fun and rewarding to get the young horses out to their first events. We had a great day at the Loch Moy starter trial this past weekend.
     Cindy rode Windchase Happy Hour in his first Training event, which he won handily, finishing on his dressage score of 17. She also won a Novice division on Galerna Campari Mail and was 4th with Windwalker in his first BN event; see these talented youngsters on the Horses for Sale page.  
In the meantime, we have been enjoying spring at Windchase. This fellow is a frequent visitor on the lake.


April 16, 2017
     Congratulations to Cindy Anderson-Blank and Phoenix Star, who moved up to Advanced Level this past weekend at Fair Hill. Despite a little boo-boo at the second water that incurred a technical elimination, they went great, finished the course, and proved themselves ready for the level.

Cindy and Phoenix in the Advanced at Fair Hill

     The previous weekend we had a successful Event at CDCTA. Cindy and Windchase Ballinvella looked terrific on their way to winning their Training division. Domenica Kujawa also had a great go, finishing second with her Nica’s Last Laugh in the Training. And Windchase Happy Hour went super in the Novice; this talented young horse is ready to move up to Training in his next outing.  

Domenica and Nica's Last Laugh at CDCTA

     Our colt is growing like a weed, and is quite a character. I’m not sure what his formal name will be, but we call him Spoof around the barn, since he was born on April Fool’s day. He is very friendly and outgoing, and loves to run and play.  

     We have a really exciting group of young horses available at the moment. Check them out on our Horses for Sale page.


April 16, 2017
     Easter Morning at Windchase.


April 6, 2017
     We have a new baby! Windchase’s latest arrival is a lovely colt by our late Irish stallion Brandenburg’s Windstar, out of Gold Trinket, a classy TB mare. Windchase is committed to preserving the traditional Irish Sport Horse bloodlines through our breeding program.

     The Event season has started and we are going full throttle. Cindy had a good Intermediate warm-up run down at the Carolina International with Windchase Phoenix Star and Two Tickets, and is now hoping on for bigger and better things.  

Cindy Anderson-Blank and Windchase Phoenix Star

     At Morven Park last weekend, Windchase student Domenica Kujawa had a super go with Nica’s Last Laugh in the training division, jumping double clear. In the novice Morgan McGrath placed third with Indycat, placed 5th with Happy Hour, and Shelby Crowley also had a good ride with Tilly. Now that we have all knocked the winter rust off, we are looking forward to the upcoming competitions.

     And now spring is here in earnest, my favorite time of year. The weather is turning spectacular, and leaves are budding and the flowers blooming. I have a new camera, and I am looking forward to testing it out.


March 16, 2017
     Every year I have the expectation that once we get to the beginning of March, winter will be over and it will be Spring.  And of course, every year, it isn’t. The month of March tends to be quite cold, and we often have snow. But after the amazing winter we have had this year, with warm temperatures and good footing letting us ride outside and even school XC all through January and February, surely, I thought, this year, spring really will be here the first of March. 

      Whoops! Guess I was wrong.


March 6, 2017
     It can be hard to find time to write about my travels and update the website, but I have now posted the journal from my latest adventure, along with many of the best photos. Click here to read about the Costa Rica trip that Jineen and I took in January.


February 15, 2017
     The spring Event Season is just around the corner, and thanks to the mild winter we have been having, the horses (and riders) are more prepared than usual for this time of year. We have been able to ride outside more days than not, and have been galloping and schooling cross-country during January and February. The competitions start up in March and we are looking forward to it!
     The Windchase Winter Jumping Clinics are going great; we would love to have you join us, go here for more info.

     We have a super nice group of horses for sale; click here for more info.


January 31, 2017
     Jineen and I had a great trip to Costa Rica recently, and I am writing up my notes and sorting through the photos; hope to have the full report fairly soon. But in the meantime I have been receiving complaints from certain friends (you know who you are!) about slow updates and jumping pigs, so I leave you with this sloth.  


January 26, 2017
     The spring Event Season is just around the corner - get ready by coming to Windchase's winter jumping clinics with Phyllis Dawson.
     For info, visit
     To sign up, go to
     Come Jumping!


January 1, 2017
     Happy New Year!
     Windchase working students and staff celebrate the New Year with the annual Windchase Polar Dive.


For past news from Phyllis and the crew at Windchase, go to the