(Archive: January 2, 2000 - September 12, 2000)
Notes from Phyllis

 Read Phyllis' journal from her trip to Africa.


Star Surprise
One of Windchase's new babies, by Brandenburg's Windstar.

September 12, 2000
      We had another hot and humid weekend for Eventing at Loudoun, but it was a successful outing for my four horses.  Sirius and Enniskerry Imp both ran well in the Open Intermediate, each finishing 10th in their respective divisions.  They both jumped well over the new and improved cross-country course at Oatlands, and though I took them around quietly, not really trying to make the time, I was very pleased with how they went. Star Bright won the dressage in his OI division, but I did not run him cross-country, as the ground was getting a little hard and he didn't really need the outing.
     Temair did the Preliminary beautifully, putting in a really nice dressage and show jumping, and then jumping around the quite difficult cross-country course as if she had been doing it all her life!  She is a real treat to ride at competitions.  Amanda Draper and Melissa Hunsberger did a fabulous job of grooming, having all of the horses looking great, and ready when it was their turn.  Riding four horses makes a top grooming team essential!
      Congratulations also to Windchase student Kathleen Dingus, who won the Young Riders Preliminary division on her mare Tia Maria with an excellent performance in all three phases.
      It's Seneca Valley this weekend, and I am hoping it will be a little cooler!

Until next time,

September 5, 2000
       I had a fun weekend at Blue Ridge, despite extremely hot and humid weather.  Temair did her first Preliminary horse trials, and went beautifully.  She was excellent in all three phases, and though I went slowly on cross-country due to her inexperience, therefore incurring time penalties, she jumped superbly.  A really special horse!  I also rode my four year old mare, Better Angel, in the Novice, her first event.  She was wonderful, finishing eighth, and acting much more grown-up than I expected. Although I have always kept her slow and controlled when schooling on cross-country, she instinctively knew what it was all about.  I had to convince her that the Novice speed was not that fast, and we ended up halting on course several times to establish who was in control!  She has a very bright future.
         Congratulations to Karla Wagner for the purchase of No Tomorrow.  I am really happy for her to have the horse, because I think they will be a great match, but I am also sad to see him leave, because he is a really talented horse, and I will miss competing him.  The nature of the business, however, is that I have to occasionally sell a really nice horse, to be able to afford to keep competing the others!
        Loudoun is this weekend, so it has been a hectic week getting all of the 'big guys', as the upper level horses are known around the barn, ready to go compete.  Star Bright, Enniskerry Imp and Sirius will all do the Open Intermediate, and Temair run in the Preliminary.  Should be a busy weekend, and a fun one.  With the rain we have had, the footing is super, and the weather seems to be cooling off.  I can hardly wait!

Until next time,

August 31, 2000
      I didn't go Eventing this past weekend, because I attended my cousin Rusty's wedding in Richmond.  It was a lot of fun; a great chance to see some of my cousins that I have not seen much of in recent years, a real family reunion.  Rusty is a dentist, and his bride is a dental hygienist, so at the reception they gave away toothbrushes as party favors!
      Several Windchase students had a successful weekend.  Working student Anne Clayton placed 6th in the Novice at Difficult Run with her horse Black Jack, with a much improved dressage and an impressive jumping performance. Kathleen Dingus also had a good run in the Preliminary with the young and talented Jasper.  The star of the weekend was Katie Willis, who rode her lovely young horse Gold Strike in the mare's first Preliminary at Pleasant Hollow, and finished second.
      I am looking forward to Blue Ridge this weekend, where Temair will do her first Preliminary, and Better Angel will make her Eventing debut.

Until next time,

August 21, 2000
      If Enniskerry Imp didn't have a swelled head before, he certainly will now.  He just successfully completed his first Intermediate, and he really thinks he is hot stuff!  He would now like to be addressed as 'Intermediate Imp'.
      I ran both Imp and Sirius in the Open Intermediate at Fair Hill International this past weekend.  Sirius was quite wound up in the dressage phase, she often tends to be that way for her first event of the season.  She jumped well, despite a rider error on a combination on the cross-country, and I felt that on the whole the quiet run put her in good form for the start of the season.  I was very pleased with Imp in all three phases.  He really rose to the occasion for his first Intermediate, especially since he was a bit short on cross-country and jump schooling, as he had recently recovered from a foot abscess.  I did not try and go for time on the cross-country, being the first event of the season and short on gallops, but even with quite a few time penalties he finished 9th. The footing was good and the weather was perfect, quite cool for August.  Amanda and Emily did a great job of grooming for me, as usual, having the horses looking tip top.  Really a great weekend!
      I will miss getting to compete at either Pleasant Hollow or Millbrook next week, as I will be attending my cousin's wedding, but the following week, Temair will make her Preliminary debut at Blue Ridge.  Both Imp and Sirius, as well as No Tomorrow, will run next at Loudoun in early September.

Until next time,

August 16, 2000
The summer is almost over and Event season is here!  I kicked off my season last weekend running Temair at the Banbury Cross Horse Trials in Maryland.  She went absolutely superbly, finishing 2nd in the Open Training Young Horse division, missing out on winning by about 3 seconds on cross country.  She will go Preliminary at her next outing.
      We have continued to enjoy really nice summertime weather, with plenty of rain and cooler than normal temperatures, let's hope that will continue to the end of the summer.  All the rain is great for the footing and the pastures, but it does make it hard to keep the grass mowed!
      This weekend I go to Fair Hill, where Sirius will run in the Intermediate division, and hopefully Enniskerry Imp will do his first Intermediate as well.  Imp twisted a shoe and stepped down on the clip a couple of weeks ago and got a foot abscess, so he is a bit short on work, and I will have to see how he is after cross-country schooling this week. If there is any doubt to his preparedness, I will go on the conservative side and not run him.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for the best! 

Until next time,


The Island of Dominica

August 1, 2000      

     I just returned home after a fabulous week in the Caribbean, on the island  of Dominica.  I went with my sister Patty, her husband Rob, and their daughter Lindy, and we had the most marvelous time.  We enjoyed the excellent scuba diving, and also fabulous hiking in the mountains, which are all rainforest.  It is a truly beautiful island, and very much an undiscovered paradise, with very few tourists.  We would have loved to have stayed another week or two, and definitely will go back at some point, we all fell in love with Dominica.
      Time to start galloping the event horses for the autumn season, always one of my favorite things!  We have been lucky with the weather so far this summer, lots of rain, so the ground is good, although it makes it a little hard to keep up with the mowing!  Events start up in two weeks, so things are getting busy! 

Until next time,

July 14, 2000
       Well, I'm off for a vacation tomorrow, I can hardly wait.  I am going to the island of Dominica, in the Caribbean, for a week of scuba diving with my sister Patty, her husband Rob, and their daughter Lindy.  I am really looking forward to it, I haven't had a chance to go diving in about five years!  By the time I get back, things will be getting really busy, and it will be time to start galloping in preparation for the autumn season, as the events start in mid August.  But in the meantime, all the horses are doing their somewhat boring 40 and 50 minute trot sets to leg up, and enduring the summer weather.
      So enjoy the heat, the humidity and the gnats next week, while I am sitting on the beach with my sunglasses and a Pina Colada, enjoying a tropical breeze! 

Until next time,

Temair competing at Training level.

July 4, 2000
      We have been having a quiet time around Windchase, since competition season is over and things are not quite so hectic. Star Bright, Imp and Sirius are all back in work now after a short vacation, and getting ready for the autumn.  It's really nice to have a chance to concentrate on the younger horses during the break between seasons as well, so we are plenty busy.
      Our last event of the spring was Seneca Valley.  I rode Temair there in the Training, and she went great, except for a slip in the woods which caused a fall unrelated to the fences resulting in time penalties.   I am looking forward to the autumn season with her, she should move up to Preliminary soon.  Congratulations to Emily Curtis, who was 7th at Seneca. Also, congratulations to owner Nancy Mountz and rider Makendra Palm, for a very successful season with Famous Deception - three 1st, one 2nd, and two 3rd placings at the training level.
      Sadly, we said good-bye to working student Siobhain O'Connor, who finished her year as a working student this week, and has returned to Canada. We did make her promise to come back this October for Morven Park!

Siobhain O'Connor and Flying Advance

      My last broodmare, Chip, foaled last week, giving us a lovely bay colt. I am really thrilled to have five lovely babies by Windstar.  We are just getting ready to start First Star, or Twinkle as we call her around the barn, under tack.  I can hardly wait to start riding her, as she shows every sign of being the lovely athlete her father is!

Until next time,

June 22, 2000
      I had a great vacation in Arizona.  My whole family got together in Sedona to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday, and we had a super trip. There were 17 of us all together, and it was great to all get together at the same time, that only happens about once a decade or so!  We saw the Grand Canyon, rafted on the Colorado River and climbed up to the rock formations on the red cliffs at Cathedral Rock.  We partied, reminisced, and ate entirely too much.  It was nice to get away a while, but now it is good to be home and back to work with the horses, I guess that is what vacations are for!
      We have had two new foals by Brandenburg's Windstar this week!  My young mare Sara had her first foal, an absolutely gorgeous all black filly, who I have named Starless Night.  She is the most incredibly sweet foal I have ever seen!  I also got a lovely bay colt out of the older mare Six-picks, who we will call Pick-a-Star.  Four down, one more to go!
      We have been getting plenty of rain, which is good for the pastures and the ground, but it makes it hard to keep up with the weed-eating and mowing, as everything grows so fast.  Then last Thursday, we had an incredible lightning storm, which shorted out some of the wiring in the barn, leaving us without power in the stables until the electrician could check everything out.  It also, unfortunately, fried the modem on my computer, leaving me without Internet access.  (I apologize for being slow to answer my E-mail, but it's not my fault!)  Much thanks to Nancy Mountz for letting me borrow her computer to check the e-mail while mine is being repaired!
      Meanwhile, Windchase students have been doing well.  Congratulations to Roberta D'Ascoli for finishing second on Alex in the Novice at the Menfelt Event.  Kathleen Dingus has been successful at the Preliminary level the last two weekends on her two young horses, with both winning some points, and she has a good clear round in her first Intermediate at Waredaca on her gray horse 'Ricky'.  And special congratulations to Shirley Oxendine for winning the Intermediate at Waredaca on Smartalic!  Also, thanks to Kathleen and Sandy Dingus for the gift of my lovely new show jump, the 'Windchase Island'! It is complete with palm trees, fish, beach toys and a bar!

Until next time,

June 6, 2000
      It's been a fun and busy two weeks to wrap up the spring Event season. I rode Enniskerry Imp in the CDCTA Two-day Event the last weekend in May, which went fairly well.  Unfortunately, he became tense and naughty in the dressage, and proceeded to buck and swap leads in the canter work, finishing this phase in eighth place.  This was frustrating, since he is quite good on the flat at home, but he is still somewhat immature, and since he is more fit than he has been before he just can't quite contain himself!  He jumped great on both cross-country and stadium, to finish 7th, and I will look towards running him Intermediate in the autumn.  Congratulations also to Siobhain O'Connor, who finished 4th in the Young Rider division on her horse Flying Advance.
      I then left for Canada the following Tuesday with Sirius for the CCI** at the Bromont Three-day Event.  This is a really long drive, made longer by a blown out tire on the truck!  When we arrived (after fifteen hours on the road) Sirius got sick; she had contracted a case of shipping fever from the stress of travel. We spent the night giving her IV fluids and antibiotics, and luckily she recovered in time to compete successfully.  She put in a pretty good dressage test, scoring eighth out of about forty.  Amanda Draper did a great job grooming for me for the week, and Sirius looked beautiful. On cross-country, Sirius jumped boldly to put in a clear round over a testing course, but I went a bit slowly because I was not sure if she was totally on her top form after her bout with shipping fever, so we were about thirty seconds over the time, which dropped her down to 13th place after a good show-jumping round on Sunday. Congratulations also to Kirsten Anderson, who completed her first two-star in good form.  We  then left at four o'clock in the afternoon for the long drive home, again punctuated by another blown out tire!
    All in all, a good finish to the season, with Star Bright, Sirius and Enniskerry Imp all jumping clear cross-countries in their respective Two-day and Three-day events.  They are now enjoying a short holiday before resuming their summer work, and I am leaving today on a family vacation.  We are going out to Sedona, Arizona and the Grand Canyon to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday!  I am looking forwards to a few relaxing days with no decisions or responsibilities. 

Until next time,

May 22, 2000
      We had a fun day on Saturday at the Menfelt Starter Horse Trials.  We took a number of first-timers from Windchase to this excellent introductory competition.  I rode Temair, my young mare that I imported this winter from Ireland, in the Training Horse division, where she went like a champ in all three phases to win by a tidy margin.  A good way to start her Eventing career!

Anne Clayton and Blackjack

      Working students Anne Clayton and Roberta D'Ascoli both did their first event ever, in the Novice division.  Anne had a great go with her Blackjack, finishing fourth, and Roberta had a super dressage and show jumping, but ran into some problems cross-country when the horse she was riding, Alex, refused to jump the ditch.  Frustrating, but she gained much valuable experience. Both Meri Hyoky on Fire and Emily Curtis on Discovery won the dressage in their divisions, and show jumped clear, but unfortunately some trouble cross-country prevented them from winning. 
 Daryl Leuck finished third on 'Full Speed Ahead Ted'.  Amanda Draper attended her very first competition with her Morgan mare Sunflower, and finished an excellent 6th, with no jumping faults.  On the whole, a successful weekend for the greener horses and riders!
      We galloped all of the horses headed for the Two-day at CDCTA today, and had a great time doing their final speedwork.  The footing is good, thanks to the lovely rain, and everyone is eagerly looking forwards to the weekend.  I will be running Enniskerry Imp there, and then the following 
week it is off to Bromont, Canada, with Sirius for the CCI** that is held at the lovely site of the 1976 Olympic Games.  A fun couple of weeks 
coming up!

Until next time,

May 17, 2000
      Everyone here at Windchase had a successful weekend last week at the Fair Hill at Menfelt Horse Trials.  It was incredibly hot and humid on Saturday, and very unpleasant, but fortunately it cooled down when some storms came through in the night, and was a perfect day on Sunday for cross-country.
      I rode Sirius in the Open Intermediate and Imp in the Open Preliminary divisions, and could not have asked for a better performance from both of them.  They each put in the best dressage test that they have done all season, show jumped immaculately, and jumped great on the cross-country.  The ground was hard, so I was a touch conservative on speed, so Sirius finished in 6th, and Imp was 2nd, just two seconds too slow to win!  Darn, I could have gone faster if I had known!  All in all, I was thrilled that they both had such a good outing as their final preparation for their ultimate goals for the season - Imp will go to the Two-day at CDCTA, and Sirius to the CCI** at Bromont in Canada the first week of June.
      Other Windchase students also did well this weekend.  Siobhain O'Connor had a good outing on Patrick Donegal, who is a superb jumper she has been riding at the Preliminary level, to finish 8th.  Melissa Hunsberger had a good clear round with Rob Cooper's Pajama Cap despite a slight disagreement about whether to go in the start box or not.  Melissa also had a great go on my horse Snowy River, with an absolutely stunning show jumping round.  She did not run him cross-country because of the hardness of the ground, but the two of them seem to be developing a good partnership.  Both Siobhain and Melissa have two horses entered for the Two-day at CDCTA, so they will have their hands full!
      Susan Dooling also had a good run with her excellent mare Blue Yonder in the Preliminary, finishing 5th.  Shirley Oxendine had a good clear go in the Intermediate with Smart Alec.  Congratulations to David Smith and Joanna Blough for successfully completing their first Intermediate!   David had a terrific clear cross-country on his talented Irish horse Brandenburg's Mullingar.
     At the Training level, Kathleen Dingus won her division on her new mare she recently imported from England, and Katie Willis had a great ride on her young Gold Strike, to take 2nd place.
      All in all, a super weekend for Windchase, wish they all could go like that!  Now we are preparing for the starter Horse Trials at Menfelt this Saturday, where some of the greener horses and less experienced riders will make their Eventing debut!  Watch this space!

Until next time,


May 9, 2000
   I am just back from the Foxhall Three Day Event in Atlanta, GA, and what a great week! I rode Star Bright in the CCI***, and he finished 10th out of around 80 entries.  He did a very nice dressage test, finishing that phase tied for 6th.  He was beautifully turned out by Emily Curtis, who did a great job grooming all week, assisted on the weekend by Amanda Draper.  My farrier Steve Mayer also came down for cross-country day, and was a super help in the vet box. Nancy Dresser had helped out as well by giving him a lovely clip job before we left home, so it was truly a team effort. 
     Bright was clear and fast on the cross country, and finished feeling quite fit and strong.  It was one of the best cross country rides I have had, and I couldn't have been more thrilled with him.  He show jumped pretty well over an extremely difficult stadium course, but had several rails, which moved him down a few places, to finish tenth in the CCI, and 8th in the AHSA Championships.
     The event was absolutely lovely, with the cross-country very much designed with the spectators in mind, you could see three quarters of the course from the grandstands.  There were five water jumps on the course, as well as several other difficult questions.  The course was designed by Mark Phillips, and rode very well for the most part;  very smooth and flowing despite looping back through the main arena several times.  The weather was quite hot, but the horses handled it well for the most part, and the new extra ten minute cooling stop that the FEI had added to phase C helped considerably.  All in all, it was really wonderful to be a part of the inaugural Foxhall Three Day Event!
     Cartel had her foal shortly before we left for Georgia, a lovely big gray colt.  I have named him Star Flight.  Sadly, the other mare that was due to foal, Lucy, ran into difficulties, and we lost both the mare and the foal. We were very sad to have this bad luck, but nothing could be done to save her.  We will hope for better fortune with the other three mares that are due in June.
     This weekend we go to Fair Hill at Menfelt, where Sirius and Imp will run in their last Horse Trials in preparation for their Three Day Events. 

Until next time,

April 25, 2000
      I don't think it is ever going to stop raining!  After a wet beginning to the week last week, we went up to Fair Hill International, where Star Bright was entered in the Advanced and Enniskerry Imp in the Preliminary.  It rained all day Friday, and all night Friday night, and by Saturday everything was a quagmire.  I ended up doing just the dressage and show jumping, and even though I really wanted the cross-country run with Bright as his last run before the CCI*** at Foxhall, I felt that the footing was too risky, so I came home and gave him a gallop instead.  It was a shame, as 
the course was really nice, if it hadn't rained so much, and the organizers had done a great job with the event.  Oh well, there is always another day!
      We have been anxiously awaiting the first of our foals, we have six due this spring by our stallion Brandenburg's Windstar.  The first two due, Cartel and Lucy, we have brought up to the barn and have been checking closely.  They are both late, and we have been watching them expectantly. 
Then this morning, I got a call from my friend and next-door neighbor Nancy Mountz, saying she had a foal in her front yard!  The third mare due, Escapade, had a lovely bay colt out in the field at about 5:00 this morning, she was two weeks early, and we hadn't even started monitoring her too closely yet, as she was showing no signs of being close.  What a surprise!
      I love this time of year, despite the rain, with all the flowers blooming, the leaves just coming out on the trees, and everything seeming fresh and new.  We have a Canadian Goose who has been nesting on our lake down by the water jump, accompanied by her husband, the Attack Goose.  He fiercely defends his mate, chasing off anything that comes near her while she is sitting on her eggs, including other geese, herons, dogs, people, cars, and horses attempting to jump the water jump.  Then, a few days ago, she hatched out six adorable baby geese, they are absolutely incredible.  The parents proudly parade them all over the yard, and now that they are hatched, the father allows the other geese to land on the lake and admire his babies.

      I am hoping that the next two foals will be born this week, and then it is off to Georgia for the Three Day Event next Monday. Star Bright seems to be fit and in good form, and I am looking forward to going down to attend the first CCI*** at Foxhall.      

Until next time,


April 16, 2000
     This weekend was the Fair Hill at Menfelt Horse Trials, and a good time was had by all!  I ran three horses, Star Bright in the Advanced, Sirius in the Intermediate, and Enniskerry Imp Preliminary.  They all went well, and it was a satisfying weekend.  All three had fairly good, but not brilliant, dressage tests, Sirius in particular was much improved over her last outing. At Morven, she was quite tense, and refused to stand on her halts, so we had worked very hard the last two weeks to improve on this.  Bright and Imp show jumped well, but Sirius uncharacteristically had two rails down, she is usually quite a clean jumper.  All three horses went really well on cross-country.  I did not try to go especially fast, as they compete again next weekend at Fair Hill International, but they all jumped superbly, and I was quite pleased with the weekend.
     My working student Melissa Hunsberger, who is leasing Snowy River, had an excellent run on him in the Preliminary.  They seem to be developing a promising partnership!  Susan Dooling had a good go with her mare Blue Yonder, to finish 6th.  And congratulations to Natalie Compton, who had a successful outing in her first Advanced on High Tech!
     I am excited to have six mares due to foal to our Irish stallion Brandenburg's Windstar this spring, and the first two are due this coming week!  I am really looking forward to some new babies!

Until next time,

Jineen dressed as the Barn Witch

April 12, 2000
     The Event season is off and running! I did my first Event of the millennium at Middletown, running No Tomorrow (Tommy), Sirius and Enniskerry Imp in the Preliminary division. Everyone was a little wild in the dressage, being the first time out all winter, but it was a good school, and a good preparation for the coming competition season.
     The following weekend I rode at Morven Park. Sirius and Tommy went quite well in the Open Intermediate, an important step in their preparation for the CCI** at Bromont in June. Star Bright was off to a great start in the Advanced, with a good dressage test and clear show jumping, but unfortunately I misjudged the distance on a difficult turning question, and had a fall, so I retired on course. There is always another day!
     This past weekend, I rode three horses at Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Horse Trials, also at Morven Park. Enniskerry Imp went superbly, only missing out on a top placing because of a broken stirrup in stadium, resulting in a technical 10 penalties when I paused to try and repair it. He was awesome on cross-country, he is really a fun and exciting horse to ride. I also had the good luck to get the rides on Joerg Eichmann's two horses in the Training division, Brandenburg's Joshua and Brandenburg's Allenby. Joerg had to miss the event due to family matters, and I had a wonderful time riding these two lovely horses, with Joshua placing fifth and Allenby coming in third. It was a good weekend, despite waking up Sunday to an inch of snow!
     I am off to Menfelt this coming weekend, and looking forwards to it. It should be a busy weekend, with all four horses competing. The season is underway, and I feel very lucky to have four lovely horses to compete. Thanks to Nancy Dresser for helping me with clipping and mane and tail pulling to prepare them for competition, and to Amanda Draper and Emily Curtis for grooming at the competitions and producing the horses perfectly braided and turned out. I couldn't do it without such wonderful help!

Until next time,



Roberta riding Calista

March 22, 2000
     I have a story to tell you this month. It is a sad story, but every cloud has a silver lining, and some good can come out of bad things that happen.
     Here is the sad part of the story. I have a working student named Roberta, who works very hard, but has had terrible luck with her horses. She does not have much money, and has to support herself and her horse without help from her family. She came to Windchase last autumn, and the horse she brought with her, Belle, had been suffering from some soundness problems. Roberta worked hard with her, and got her ready to event, they were to start their eventing career at the Virginia Horse Trials in November.
     Unfortunately, after traveling down to the event, Belle got sick and developed serious pneumonia, and after being transferred to the Veterinary Hospital, ended up having to be euthanized. Of course, this was devastating for Roberta, who had put everything she had into that horse. We found a nice young horse for Roberta to buy at a very reasonable price to replace Belle, a chestnut mare she named Calista. Calista was green, but talented, and with great potential. Roberta worked very hard at training her, and the two were well on their way to developing a great partnership. Then disaster struck, Calista colicked, and had to go to the hospital for emergency surgery. Roberta did not have the money to be able to afford surgery, but desperate to do everything necessary to save her horse, she arranged to borrow the money. Despite the best Veterinarian care, the horse did not pull through. Now Roberta was faced with a hospital bill in excess of $5000, and no horse. Worst of all, she had lost the mare, her partner and friend, and anyone who has not gone through such an experience cannot imagine how hard it is for someone who loves their horse as much as Roberta did.   And with such a huge debt, she was looking at spending the next five years or so paying it off, with no hope of being able to afford another horse for a long time. This is especially sad, as Roberta has hopes of making horses her life's work.  And to lose two horses in such a short time was bad luck that nobody deserves!
     Now comes the part of the story where good things happen. Everyone here at Windchase who knows Roberta came forth with the most incredible show of support and solidarity that I have ever seen.  It started with the Vets from Piedmont Equine Practice, John Nolan and Sean Bowman, who treated Calista all night the night she colicked, before we took her to the hospital. Knowing of Roberta's financial situation, they donated their time and services for caring for the horse. The staff at the Marion DuPont Equine Medical Center did everything that they could to keep the costs as low as possible. I loaned Roberta the money for the downpayment on the surgery.  That weekend, I was teaching a clinic here at Windchase. I pronounced it a benefit clinic for Roberta's hospital bill, told all the participants that I was doubling the usual fee, and donated it all to Roberta's fund.  All of my boarders rallied in support of Roberta, and donated money towards her bill, which we were now calling the Calista fund. Everyone gave whatever they could afford, and they were exceedingly generous. I am sure everyone was thinking, 'This could be me'. Roberta received donations from 
former Windchase clients whom she had never even met! The lady who Roberta had bought Calista from, Denise, was distraught on hearing what had happened, and sent her an extremely generous donation to help with her expenses. The Windchase working students organized a Horse Show last weekend, as a benefit for the Calista fund. They ran jumper classes and a very popular Trail class, with all entry fees going towards the fund.   Jineen and I judged, and most of Windchase's clients participated, and more money was raised. A raffle was held, with artist Celia Strain donating a portrait of the winner's horse. This was in high demand, and raised a significant amount of money. There was also a raffle for a massage donated by Brian Fillman, and many of the students and boarders baked food for a bake sale at the show.
     As much as it was a tragedy that Roberta lost her horse, she knows that she did everything possible to try to save her. The outpouring of help and support by her friends here at Windchase was amazing.  It was really something special to be a part of, to see how everyone helped her in any way they could, often at personal sacrifice to themselves.
     Here's the really good part of this story. With all of the donations and fundraising that I described, Roberta has raised enough money to pay off the majority of her Veterinary bill from Calista, and is in a position to get a new horse. I have found her a really nice four year old mare from the racetrack, and she is going ahead with plans to purchase her, as she has already fallen in love with her!  She would not be in a position to do this without the generous help of everyone who donated to the Calista fund, and I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to the many people who made it possible. Roberta is a hardworking and sincere young lady, and she deserves this chance to follow her dreams.

Until next time,

March 2, 2000
     Spring at last!  Or at least I hope so, the weather has been pretty good, the footing has been decent, and we have been getting out to gallop and school cross-country. I will be in shock if it freezes again, or we get snow!
     My knee is better, I am still trying to take it a little easy on it, hopefully it will be 100% soon. The horses are all feeling quite fit, they are looking forward to going Eventing!
     I am riding my new Irish mare, Temair, and I just love her. She reminds me very much of my first horse that I got when I was eleven, Twinkles Parade. She is very green, but extremely smart, and a real joy to ride. 
    One of my students, Laura Gatewood, has purchased the exciting Event mare Red Shift. I am very excited for her to get such a talented horse, they should have a great future together. 
     Jineen's new horse from Ireland, Aiden, is doing super. He is very talented and has a great attitude. It is a lot of fun to see her with such a fancy youngster to bring along.
     Enjoy the early spring weather, I will be letting you know how it is all going soon. Watch this space!

February 18, 2000
     Event season is just around the corner, and we are busy here at Windchase getting ready. The weather has been fairly bad, lots of snow, so we have been pretty much stuck in the indoor arena, the horses are quite bored with that. Hopefully we will be able to get out and start galloping soon, I am ready for spring!
     My new mare from Ireland, Temair, has completed her mandatory quarantine period, and is home now, I am excited to start working with her. The competition horses, (known as the 'big guys'), Star Bright, Sirius, No Tomorrow, and Enniskerry Imp, are all quite fit and looking forward to the season. I have been working quite a bit with some of the youngsters, getting a good basis of training on them, and the working students and their horses have been progressing nicely also. Melissa Hunsberger is leasing Snowy River, and seems to be getting along with him really well. She bribes him with Polo mints, I think that is the way to his heart!
     I haven't been riding much the last week, because I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee about a week ago. I had some torn cartilage bits removed, it has been bothering me for some time, so hopefully it will be better now. I am just starting to ride again, but at least it gave me a chance to catch up with some paperwork!
     Another few weeks of winter to get through, and before we know it, spring will be here! I am looking forward to starting the Event season!

January 26, 2000
     I am back from Africa, and we had an absolutely marvelous time. I am almost ready to run away from ho
me and go there to live, especially after arriving back home to the winter weather! Mom and I, and my sister Patty and her husband Rob spent two weeks, including travel days, on Safari in Tanzania, and it was really the trip of a lifetime. I am in the process of writing up the journal I kept while I was there, and my pictures should be back from the developers soon, so I will post a full report of my trip, for anyone who is interested in hearing more about it. I am still suffering from jetlag, the eight hour time difference is a killer.  I wake up in the morning at three a.m., and can't go back to sleep, and by six in the evening I am crashing!
     The exciting news is that the new Irish horses are finally here. They arrived home about the same time I did, thanks to the kindness of David and Harlan from Brandenburg Farm picking them up for me. Jineen is as excited as a kid at Christmas about her new horse, Aeden. I am looking forward to getting on my new gelding, whom I have named Njema, which is Swahili for Good Journey. My mare, Temair, is down the road in a quarantine stable until her required CEM testing is completed, which should take about three weeks. I am looking forward to getting her home too.
     Yesterday's storm unexpectedly dumped about 18 inches of snow on us, so we are bogged down around here, half wishing I could go to Florida like so many Eventers do for the winter. Thanks to my friend and neighbor Bruce Mountz and his snowplow, we are able to get in and out this morning, so things should quickly get back to normal.   And now it is time to sit down and start to do some serious planning for the event season, as entries are due starting next week!

January 2, 2000
Thoughts for the new Millennium - this is a bit of poem I really enjoy.

What Delight
To back the flying steed that challenges
The wind for speed - seems native more of air
Than earth! - whose burden only lends him fire!
Whose soul, in his tack, turns labour into Sport!
He makes your pastime his. I sit him now!
He takes away my breath. He makes me real.
I touch not earth - I see not - hear not - all
Is ecstasy of motion!
- James Sheridan Knowles

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Phyllis Dawson
Phone: (540) 668-6024 stable

(540) 668-6548 home

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Address: 36502 Kidwell Road
Purcellville, VA 20132