ever stop raining? It has been pouring rain for a week and
a half, and the fields are full of standing water. We
would like to be out schooling cross-country, but instead
we’re stuck in the indoor arena. But I guess we have no
reason to complain - how lucky we are to have
an indoor arena to ride in during this weather!
meantime, I have my hands full with two new lurcher
puppies. If you are not familiar with this breed, lurchers
are simply the best dogs in the world. Bred by the Gypsies
in Ireland and England, they were bred to poach game in
the Royal Forests, and valued for their silent hunting and
stealth. A sighthound crossed with a working
dog, the typical lurcher cross is greyhounds and border
collies, but whippets and deerhounds are also used.
Lurchers are intelligent, fast, and extremely loyal.
I got my
first lurcher from Bruce Davidson back in 1988; he
imported a male from England named Herbie, and I got one
of the pups from his first litter, whom I named Sage. He
was a terrific dog, and I have had lurchers ever since,
raising a litter of puppies every so often.
I had a
lovely female lurcher named Gracie from my last litter
that I was planning to breed from, but she died
unexpectedly last year, and my male, Speedy, is neutered.
Heartbroken, I called my friend Siohbain in Canada, who
has Nykie, a littermate of Gracie’s, and told her she
had the last one of the line that had not been spayed or
neutered, and she just had to breed her. Fortunately,
Siohbain agreed, and found a nice dogin Canada to cross
good deed goes unpunished.
Nykie had ten pups, but had to have a C-section.
Then she did not produce milk or show much interest in
taking care of the puppies, so poor Siohbain and her
partner Connie had to bottle feed ten puppies!
I have two of the puppies, both females, currently about
12 weeks old. I kept the baby names Siohbain had given
them; the lighter brindle one is named ‘Rae’ (named
after a female Jedi in a Star
Wars movie), and the darker one with white is ‘Grace
o’Malley the Pirate Queen’ (named after a famous
character in Irish history from the 16th
century – I have been to her castle in Ireland), or
Grainne for short. Sage would be their
These pups are a handful, and a total delight.
May 6, 2018
Finally, I have finished my
travel journal from last summer's fabulous trip to Africa,
complete with photos. Read
about it here!
Love the babies! I have named
this lovely colt Windchase Pegasus. Two more on the way!
Finally, Spring is here! But it has really only
come in the last few days; it has continued to be quite
cold all through March and early April. And with spring
comes babies! Here is our latest Windchase homebred, a
lovely colt by Brandenburg’s Windstar.
I just got home from Fair Hill, where we had a
super weekend. Cindy rode Phoenix Star in the Advanced,
and they had a super performance in all three phases, and
after jumping clear around a demanding track she ended up
7th in what was a very competitive division.
Cindy Anderson-Blank and Windchase Phoenix Star,
in the Advanced at Fair Hill.
Cindy also piloted Galerna Campari Mail around his
first Preliminary, and he went very well, jumping clear
both cross-country and show jumping and finishing 5th.
Look for this talented young horse on the Horses
for Sale page.
March 14, 2018
Waiting for Spring! February was quite mild, and
during the warm snap where the crocuses came up and the
grass started turning green, I was sure we would have an
early spring. Somehow I get suckered into that every year;
when February ends I always think winter is going to be
over. But March has come in like a lion as it usual does,
and we have had several weeks of cold windy days. We are
all looking forward to some warmer weather.
Sarah Wyssen schooling on Prince Razmuth
The good news is that the footing is super, so even
though it is cold we have been able to get out schooling
cross-country. Last November we put in a fabulous new
water complex, and this week we started to use it for the
first time. How much fun is that! Can’t wait for the
Morven Park Horse Trials the end of the month – even
though it usually snows that weekend.
Cindy and Phoenix Star test out the water
Event Season is just
around the corner, and we are spending the winter months
training up the young horses so they will be ready. We
have a bunch of fancy five-year-olds who will get serious
about their Eventing careers this year, which is always
fun to watch.
Of course, watching is all
I am doing at the moment; I won’t be cleared to ride
until April. I am enjoying teaching and supervising, but
can hardly wait to get back in the saddle. In the
meantime, February has been pretty mild; the grass is
already getting green and the crocuses are blooming.
Here’s hoping for an early spring!
He is ready
for Spring too.
Sorry I have been a bit slow in updating this page,
but I have been busy taking care of some old problems in
order to start the New Year off right. I have been having
a lot of trouble with my back for quite a while, so being
time to put it right, I had back surgery earlier this
month. So I have spent a good deal of time on the sofa
with the cats the last three weeks (they seem to have the
amazing capacity to sleep for over 20 hours a day!), I am
more than eager to get back to life in the barn. And I
look forward to riding in the spring!
In the meantime, much thanks to my excellent staff
for keeping things going smoothly while I have been out.
As always Jineen and Cindy have done a super job of
running everything; they are the best. I want to thank the
working students Amy, Ray, Charlotte and Sarah – they
are the superheroes - and also part-timers Jess and Tori.
Jose has the place looking better than ever, and is
building new XC fences like mad. And my brother, Buddy,
has been nursemaid extraordinaire, taking care of me
during my recovery. Much thanks to all of them!
December 23, 2017
Here’s wishing a Merry Christmas to all, and a
New Year full of Joy.
the sunset filled the evening sky and the lake with color;
it was Windchase Magic at its best.
December 22, 2017
We have been enjoying
a lovely mild December; it is wonderful to be out
schooling cross-country right up until Christmastime.
My dream team of working students all showed up in
Superhero costumes for their XC school yesterday; Batman,
Robin and Wonder Woman made sense to me, but I still
don’t really understand what a Minion is.
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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
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