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.
in the meantime, here is a little snippet for your
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?
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
More to come later!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Starfire, in the FEH class at Seneca Valley
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
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
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
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
April 30, 2017
Kentucky Horse Park in April. The Rolex Three-Day Event!
There is nothing quite like it.
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.
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.
ril 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
info, visit http://www.teamwindchase.com/MiniClinics.htm
sign up, go to http://bit.ly/Windchase
January 1, 2017
Happy New Year!
Windchase working students and staff celebrate the New Year with the annual Windchase Polar Dive.