(Archive: April 8, 2005 - July 23, 2005)
Notes from Phyllis

Phyllis and Viatar at Morven Park.

 Learn about Melissa's experiences at the Morven Park CCI*!

 Read Pedro Gutierrez's diary of the Pan American Championships!

Read the full report on Phyllis and Jineen's trip to New Zealand.

Visit the Trip Report Page to read about Phyllis's travels!

July 23, 2005
     When it rains it pours.  Everything goes along well for a while, but when things do go wrong it often seems like they all go wrong at once. 
     Jineen and I took a trip to Ireland last week, along with my sister Patty, and we had a great time.  It was part business and part vacation, and as always we found ways to make it interesting.  We bought a few horses, stormed a few castles, and generally had a blast.  (I will post a report on our trip in the near future!) 
     But unfortunately, while we were gone, bad things kept happening at home.  My top event horse, Viatar, developed an infection in a leg and had to have it surgically opened and drained; he is out of commission for the rest of the season.  So much for my plans of going to Radnor!  Then one of my really nice youngsters got kicked and had to have surgery as well.  After that one of the foals got very sick and required intensive medical attention. So that is three horses in the hospital in one week!  
     Fortunately I have a great staff, and they did a terrific job of coping with these problems while Jineen and I were away.  Melissa Hunsberger was in charge, and she dealt with all of the misfortunes spectacularly.  Working students Cyndi Boughen, Kathy Rienks, Amanda Harp and Audrey Tomlin were great as well; they have all been super in taking care of our equine patients during this difficult couple of weeks.  I want to really express my appreciation to them for the great job they have all done.  A stable is only as good as its staff, and I am very fortunate to have a top-notch bunch of people taking care of the horses!

Until next time,

July 11, 2005
Congratulations to Melissa Hunsberger!  She just rode her two horses in their (and her) first Advanced Horse Trials out in Wayne, IL, and had a very successful debut!  It was a long drive, but she was eager to move up to this level and wanted to get a head start on the autumn season.  Fortunately her friend Erin was able to get away from work to go with her to groom.  I flew out on Friday to help her, and just got back last night; Melissa is still driving home as I write this. 

Melissa and Just Fun Stuff in the Advanced!

     The Advanced course at Wayne was very nice, and very technical.  Some of the combinations were very difficult, and the course had a very large number of corners and narrows.  Both horses jumped around the testing track well and with minimal errors, and they completed in good form.  In fact, Melissa and Expedience put in one of the better rounds over Sunday's challenging Show Jumping course to move up to 8th!  So congratulations, Melissa; you are an Advanced rider now!

Until next time,

July 6, 2005
Congratulations to Pedro Gutierrez of Mexico City for winning the 5 year old Young Event Horse class at the CDCTA Horse Trials at Great Meadows with his talented homebred stallion Orujo, who is by the International event horse Agamemnon.  Windchase is happy to have this lovely young stallion based here for the autumn Event Season, along with Pedro's Intermediate horse Ebro, also one of his homebreds. 
     Also, congratulations to Lyn Symansky, who won the Open Training at CDCTA with Star Flight, one of Windchase's homebreds by our Irish stallion Brandenburg's Windstar.  We expect great things in the future from this talented pair!

Until next time,

June 29, 2005
Mom's 85th Birthday Bash was a great success!  Our family got together for the weekend to celebrate her birthday and we had a wonderful time.  My brother George was the organizer of the whole thing; he did a super job putting it all together.  We stayed in a fishing lodge in the mountains down near Lynchburg, Virginia; it was in a very remote area, beautiful and completely secluded.  Almost all of the family was there, including Mom's first great-grandchild, little 3 month old Gracie.  We learned to fly fish, that was a really cool experience. Mom caught two fish!

     Then yesterday there was more exciting news.  We got a call from my niece Stacy in California; she phoned to tell us that she had her baby, a girl!  We had been waiting, as she was more than a week overdue, and we were glad to hear that mother and baby were both doing fine.  And guess what she named her?  Phyllis!  Can you believe it?  I was totally shocked!

Until next time,

June 24, 2005
Finally, Trinket had her foal last week!  Another lovely colt, with a big white blaze.  He is dark in color, and will probably turn grey.  I am quite thrilled with my three nice colts, and glad to be off of maternity watch!

     I head down to Lynchburg, VA this weekend for a family get-together at a fishing lodge to celebrate my mother's 85th birthday!  Most all of the family will be there, so it will be a really fun weekend.  Gotta run now, I'm already hours late leaving! 

Until next time,

June 13, 2005
Windchase students had a good weekend at Rubicon Farm Horse Trials in Leesburg, VA.  The Preliminary cross-country course was big and quite tough: and Dana Bivens had a great run with her mare Carpe Diem in the Young Riders division to finish 6th.  Kathy Rienks did a good job on short notice with Kia Kaha; they put in a great performance with just an error at the water jump costing them a chance at a ribbon.  And Katie Willis had a fantastic go with Polar Storm, her young Irish horse by Brandenburg's Windstar; he won the dressage with a 28, and jumped great around the course to finish 3rd with just a few time penalties.  This talented pair has a bright future!

Amanda Harp and Raben

     Amanda Harp rode her warmblood Raben in the Novice; they won the dressage and jumped clear with just some time penalties to finish 6th.  And Cyndi Boughen of Canada rode both of her talented mares in the Training division, where she finished 3rd with Solar Kiss (offered for sale) and 6th with Divine Intervention. Despite the hot weather, a good time was had by all!

     In the meantime, we are still waiting for Gold Trinket to have her foal!

Until next time,

June 8, 2005
Two down, one to go. Foals, that is.  Our newest broodmare, Gold Trinket, is due to pop any minute.  Jineen, Melissa, the working students and I all take turns on foal watch when we think a mare is getting close; we check her every hour all night.  Usually we can predict it to within a couple of nights, but sometimes with the maiden mares we end up checking for a week or more before the big event happens - then we are all a bit sleep deprived.  But there is nothing to match the magic of seeing a foal born!
     The two colts are growing like weeds; it is really fun to watch them develop.  They are both very proud to be getting teeth; they spend most of their time practicing biting.  They try to graze, but their legs are so much longer than their necks at this age that they can't reach the ground.  Then they buck and play and race around the pasture like wild things! 


     I named North River Lady's foal Polaris, and Chip's colt is Orion.  Perhaps not the most original names in the world; but fitting, and in keeping with my tradition of giving Windstar's foals names having to do with stars.


     I finished my event season with Viatar at Waredaca last weekend; he went very well in the Open Intermediate, though we did not place.  He will now have a bit of a holiday as I will concentrate on the youngsters.  We have a really nice bunch of 4 and 5 year olds in work, and it is about time to break in the homebred 3 year olds.  The weather has turned quite hot and humid now; all the better for starting the unbroken ones!

Until next time,

May 30, 2005
     We have babies!  Two beautiful new foals by our Irish stallion Brandenburg's Windstar.
     On Friday night, our mare North River Lady foaled, producing a lovely big colt with legs a mile long.  He looks black now, but I am pretty sure he will turn grey.  One of my favorite things is to watch the new foals the first time they go out in the paddock, as they zoom around alongside their mothers on their long spindly legs, figuring out how to run and play.

North River Lady and her foal.

     Then last night our other mare, Chip, had a colt also; and this one is really enormous!  He was on his feet and doing laps around the stall within minutes of being born, and he is incredibly strong and sturdy.  We can't tell at this point if he will be dark bay or grey, and he has a small star and a big white snip on his nose.
     I am excited about the two new arrivals, and one more on the way in June.  Now I just have to think of some names!
     Also, Kathy Rienks, our working student from Germany, took Bailey, Francie Keenan's nice homebred youngster by Windstar, to his first Event this weekend.  He was a star, finishing 4th in the Open Novice at CDCTA in some very stiff company.  It was nice to see Bailey's competition career off to such a good start! 

Until next time,

May 23, 2005

     We just returned from the Virginia Horse Trials, at Lexington, VA; and what a super Event it was!  The facilities their are second to none, and the organization is top rate.  They ran a total of about 570 horses over the weekend; an amazing accomplishment!  I really want to express my thanks to Penny and Brian Ross; they do a wonderful job of organizing this incredible Horse Trials.
     Leading up to the competition we had been enjoying the lovely spring weather, but it had become quite dry.  The ground got very hard, and we were praying for rain.  Then, the day before we went down to Lexington, it became a case of, 'be careful what you wish for,' as the heavens opened and it poured rain.  I drove to the Horse Park in a steady deluge; but I arrived to intermittent sunshine!  The skies cleared and excellent weather moved in; the rain had made the footing perfect for cross-country.  The Intermediate cross-country course was big and challenging, but extremely well designed and well built.
     I rode Viatar in the Intermediate Young Horse division (for 6 and 7 year olds), and he went great in all three phases, to finish 2nd.  The cross country was quite difficult, his toughest challenge to date; and I was thrilled with how he performed.  I really think he is something special!
     Melissa Hunsberger rode Expedience in the CIC** division and finished 11th in a competitive field of about 35; this talented mare again showed her class and potential.  Melissa was also 10th on Dunraven, my Irish import, in a tough class of Open Intermediate.  All in all, a successful weekend for Team Windchase!

Until next time,

May 7, 2005

     Spring is always my favorite season, and this year we have been blessed with a particularly spectacular springtime.  Clear sunny weather, occasional rains and cool nights have conspired to keep all the flowering trees in full bloom - the pink tree in my yard has been in brilliant color for weeks and weeks!  Every day I ride around the farm and just savor the beauty of it all.  And of course, my paperwork falls further and further behind, because who can come inside and attend to things like billing when it is so beautiful outside!
     There are starting to be babies everywhere.  The Canadian geese on our pond have hatched out their goslings, cute little yellow/brown fluffballs.  Baby bunnies abound, as do nests of baby birds.  But more exciting than that are the foxes!
     While hacking the other day we saw a lovely red fox in the field, not an unusual sight.  But what proved to be much more interesting was the discovery that she has a litter of four cubs under the run-in shed in the front pasture!  Each day we go spy on them, watching them romping; when they grow tired of playing they sleep in the sun.  They are very cute and very curious; if you approach the shed they hide underneath it and peer out with wide eyes.

     Well, it looks like another beautiful sunny day; so though I should be paying some bills, I'm heading off to go for another nature ride!

Until next time,

May 2, 2005
     The spring Event Season is well under way.  This past weekend we rode at the Loudoun Horse Trials, and all of the Windchase horses and students put in good performances.
     I rode Viatar in the Open Intermediate; he jumped the difficult courses in good style and finished a respectable 9th.  Melissa had great runs with both of her rides, finishing 5th with Expedience in OI and 7th with Dunraven.  We both had great fun riding around the lovely and challenging cross-country at Morven Park!
     Our working students also put in solid performances in the Open Preliminary.  Kathy Rienks rode the talented New Zealand horse Alpha Bravo and Dana Bivens rode her own Carpe Diem; they both put in good rounds and jumped the course very competently.  Windchase student Andrea Coursen also had a good ride around the OP, and Kelly Shine made her Training Level debut in good form with a clear XC on her excellent mare Roxy.  Joerg Eichmann also successfully rode the Training course on his lovely homebred, Grand Marnier II, who is sired by Brandenburg's Windstar.  It was really fun to watch all of our students go so well!

Alpha Bravo, offered for sale.

Kelly Shine on Roxy.

     Congratulations also to or working student Amanda Harp; she passed her Pony Club C-3 rating this past weekend!

     Also, we have our first foal of the year at Windchase, born early Saturday morning!  Pedro Gutierrez's nice homebred mare, Castanuela, had a lovely black filly sired by the Olympic stallion Windfall. And we have three more babies, by our own stallion Windstar, due to arrive this month!

Until next time,

April 22, 2005
     After several weeks of warm and sunny weather, today we had some much needed rain.  As the Irish would call it, a 'fine soft day.'  A walk in the rain; a quiet and reflective time.  How I love the springtime!
     Windchase gets very busy this time of year as the Event Season is in full swing, but I try always to take the time to enjoy and savor each magical spring day.  Everything alive and growing, budding, blooming.  It is important to take pleasure in the simple things, like raindrops on flowers!

Until next time,

April 17, 2005
     I just got back from the Horse Trials at Plantation Field, in Unionville, PA; and as I said to Melissa earlier today, I wish all Events could be this much fun!
     It was like a charmed weekend.  The weather was spectacular, the footing was excellent and the cross-country course was beautiful.  Our start times for all three phases were never before 10:30 or after 2:00.  And we were all riding lovely horses!  To top off a perfect weekend, Melissa Hunsberger won the Open Intermediate on her mare Expedience!  This was quite an accomplishment for Melissa, as she has trained this horse since she was a 3-year-old.
     All of the Windchase horses went really well.  I rode Viatar in his first Intermediate; he jumped like a dream and finished 8th.  Besides winning with an outstanding performance on Expedience, Melissa also piloted Dunraven around his first Intermediate; he sailed around the cross-country in excellent style to finish 7th.  And our working student Dana Bivens had a lovely clear cross-country ride with her mare Carpe Diem, to complete their first Preliminary.  All in all, a successful weekend for Team Windchase!

Until next time,

April 8, 2005
     This is always my favorite time of year (as I boringly remind you each April!). 
     All during March, with the weather intermittently warmer and then cold again, we have been expectantly waiting for Spring.  Sunny afternoons would tease us into thinking that winter was over; only to be followed by days of wind chill and snow flurries.  The winter itself wasn't very severe this year, but Springtime seemed to come around very slowly. 
     Then, in the last week or so, Spring has arrived in all of her glory!  With rain followed by warm sunshine, the grass turned green overnight.  The chorus of the spring peepers (small tree-frogs) can be heard day and night, and all of the birds have returned from migration.  The flowers are blooming and the wildlife is all coming out of winter hiding.  The trees are budding out and starting to come into leaf; the colors of the forest are different every time you look.  Each day is incredibly special!
     Last week I was out hacking on Viatar when something spooked him.  I looked up to see what he had reacted to, and a bald eagle flew out of the woods about 15 feet in front of us!  He was unmistakable, his white head and tail contrasting to the jet black body; and he was magnificent!  Viatar and I stood on the hilltop and watched as he circled and soared down the valley below us until he was out of sight.  What a special moment!

     This past weekend we had our first Event of the spring season, at Morven Park Horse Trials.  It was a wild and wet weekend, with heavy rains, severe storms and high winds.  After a wet day of dressage on Saturday, the show jumping was moved to the indoor arena on Sunday; and the cross-country was postponed until Tuesday.  This turned out to be a perfect solution, because it was way too wet to run the XC on Sunday as scheduled, but by Tuesday it had dried out and the weather and footing were perfect!
     I had a great go on Viatar in the Open Preliminary.  He did a nice dressage test and show jumped clean, and then ran around the cross-country having the time of his life.  He never put a foot wrong, and with his clean fast round we finished in 2nd place.  He will move up to Intermediate level at his next outing, at Plantation Field.

Dunraven at Morven Park  (offered for sale)

     Melissa Hunsberger also had excellent runs with both of her rides in the Open Preliminary.  Dunraven jumped perfectly to finish 8th, and is also set to move up to Intermediate.  And Expedience finished 2nd in her division as well, a good warm-up for Plantation Fields.

Until next time,


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


United We Stand


Phyllis Dawson
Phone: (540) 668-6024 stable
(540) 668-6548 home

(540) 668-7210 fax
Address: 36502 Kidwell Road
Purcellville, VA 20132  USA