November 25, 2009
Windchase working students finished up the season well: Xira Bartz won with Shamrock at Loch Moy in their first ever event, and Taylor Simmons placed second in the Novice with Ulita.
Windchase student Vicky Gray also won at BN with Razor's Edge, so it was a good day all around.
Jenna Alwine was 6th with Anthracite at the Waredaca Starter Trial.
Melissa also took some of the young horses to Waredaca, placing 2nd in the BN with Mystery and having nice runs on Ali and Jackson; these promising youngsters can be seen on the 'horses for sale' page.
Most of my family is visiting this week for Thanksgiving, and I am really looking forward to spending time with them.
I am very lucky to be part of a close-knit family; though we don't all get together very often, we have a great time when we do!
November 13, 2009
Drifter and I had a nice end to our Event season, winning the Training division last weekend at Rubicon.
He is really an amazing horse to ride, and I look forward to moving him up to Preliminary in the spring.
Melissa had good runs with her two, with Jazz jumping clear around the Preliminary cross-country, and River Star going well in the Training.
And our working student Jenna Alwine did very well in the Beginner Novice on her new horse
Anthracite, as did Windchase boarder Vicky Gray on Razor's Edge.
We were lucky to have perfect weather for the competition at Rubicon, and the cross-country course was especially nice, very open and gallopy.
I had so much fun that I am really sorry to see the season come to a close!
Jenna and Anthracite
Vicky and Razor
October 29, 2009
The Windchase horses all went very well at Waredaca last weekend.
I had fun as usual with Drifter, finishing 4th in the Open Training.
Melissa did well with both of her horses, with our homebred River Star going well at his first Training, and Out of Jazz moving up successfully to Preliminary with a really good performance in all three phases.
Pedro Gutierrez also had an excellent run in the Preliminary with his stallion Orujo de la Galerna, so it was good weekend all around.
Jineen and I decided to take a little getaway, so on Monday we headed for Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park to go hiking.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and the trees were showing the full array of autumn colors.
I had gotten a book of hikes in the park, and we decided to do the route to Bear Church Rock.
Our guidebook described the hike as very scenic, and the destination, Bear Church Rock, was reported to be a place of such beauty that even bruins would consider visiting it a godly experience.
The book told us that it was a nine mile hike there and back, and the estimated hiking time round trip was three and a half hours.
We figured to make such good time it must be very easy walking.
We set out, full of anticipation. We followed the
Appalachian Trail for a while, then branched off on a narrow path through the woods, with glimpses of the valley below as we traversed the ridge.
It was very secluded; the only people we met the entire day were a group of three backpackers on the trail.
But after about two hours, we realized that we had been duped! The trail was good, but there was plenty of rock scrambling and some very steep stretches, and we soon came to the realization that there was no way anyone was going to cover that nine miles in three and a half hours.
Apparently it was a typo in the guidebook, and the estimated hiking time was for one-way, not round trip.
The view from Bear
Sure enough, after three hours the path dropped sharply, and we scrambled down to a huge rock outcropping, Bear Church Rock.
It lived up to all expectations; we could definitely see how bears could find
religion there. The solitude was complete as we looked down over the valley, and the view was sensational.
We could see almost no signs of civilization; it could have been a thousand years ago and it would have looked the same.
We sat on the rock and ate our lunch, and enjoyed the peaceful afternoon.
The only drawback was that we then had a four and a half mile hike to get back to the car!
October 15, 2009
Exciting news: our stallion, Brandenburg's
Windstar, is currently the leading Eventing sire in the United States Equestrian Federation
(USEF): Click here to see the
listing. It is really fun to see how many of his offspring are competing so successfully.
We have a whole crop of really lovely babies coming along, and I am really looking forward to watching their progress.
I have been having a blast competing Drifter this season; he went very well at Morven Park to finish in the ribbons in the Training division, and then we won last weekend at the Maryland horse trials at Loch Moy.
Drifter is a really fun horse to ride; I imported him from Ireland several years ago, and he is very well bred - his dam is a sister to my former four-star horse Star Bright, and his sire is Master Imp, one of my favorite Irish sires.
There is nothing like having really nice horses to ride.
September 26, 2009
Congratulations to Carlin Vickery; her lovely horse Wellfleet won the AEC Training Championships. Carlin purchased Wellfleet from Windchase several years ago, and we are proud not only to have sold the national Training Champion, but to also have played a hand in converting Carlin to Eventing from hunters!
Heidi Wardle also did well at the AECs with Moving Illusion, finishing 6th in the Training Championships.
The weather has been nice and autumn is gradually painting the trees.
We are focusing a lot on training the young horses, as well as preparing the more experienced ones for competition.
We really have an outstanding group of homebreds; there is nothing quite like watching a herd of beautiful homebred youngsters galloping in the fields.
September 10, 2009
Summer seems to be drawing to a close, and we are enjoying the crisp September weather.
The trees are just starting to show bits of brilliant color, and the cicadas are putting on their annual autumn chorus.
I love this time of year.
I have been traveling a fair bit the last couple of weeks conducting clinics and workshops for the USEA Instructor's Certification Program.
Congratulations are due to Melissa Hunsberger, who passed her ICP assessment and is now certified at Level III.
We had a fun weekend at the Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials, and all of the horses went well.
Drifter and I jumped a double clear around the Training level and had a ball.
Melissa had a good ride on her two youngsters, with Jazz showing great improvement by winning the dressage in the Training and placing 3rd overall.
Melissa also had nice rides on a couple of the sale horses, placing 5th in the Novice on Chance and putting in an excellent clear round on Aherlow in the Training.
Pedro Gutierrez was fourth on his homebred stallion Orujo de la Galerna.
This week has been special, because my niece Stacy has been visiting with her four-year-old daughter, also named Phyllis.
Stacy and her husband may not have realized when they chose the name that Phyllis means 'lover of horses,' but it is becoming evident now; we can't keep little Phylly out of the saddle.
Mary Hallisy has kindly offered the services of her wonderfully patient mare Lily, and Lou Legard's darling pony Ladybird is here to
baby-sit our orphan foal Lone Star; between the two of them Phylly has been riding about four hours a day - and cries when we make her get off.
Phylly riding Lily and
I think Stacy is starting to realize she is in serious trouble now with a real little horse girl on her hands!
August 17, 2009
Throughout June and July we have enjoyed a really mild summer, with cool
temperatures and plenty of rain; but now that August is here the warm weather has come with it.
It was a hot and sticky weekend at the Waredaca Horse Trials, but most of the horses went well, and Pedro Gutierrez made his trip up from Mexico City worthwhile by winning his division on his homebred stallion Orujo de la Galerna.
Something new at Windchase; we added a small modular house for Melissa to live in, and she is excited about her new digs.
Now all she needs is a washer and dryer and some furniture; if anyone has any spares they are looking for a home for, let us know!
August 6, 2009
Back to the real world! Jineen and I just returned from a fabulous vacation in the Scottish Highlands.
It is a really beautiful region; very rugged and mountainous, with long deep lakes called lochs in every glen.
We did a lot of hiking and exploring, and had a really wonderful time.
I am gradually sorting through my photographs while neglecting catching up on the paperwork and bill paying I should be doing - eventually I will get a trip report and photos on the webpage, but it may take a while.
And as for the question about what's worn under the kilts - well, lets just say we did learn the answer, but you will have to wait until I get the journal written to find out.
Glencoe and Sirius
While we were away, our Irish mare Sirius had a lovely bay colt by
Orujo de la Galerna. He is quite stunning, with a beautiful face with a narrow crooked blaze.
I have named him Glencoe, after one of my favorite places in Scotland, which we visited the day he was born.
July 19, 2009
The weather has been terrific so far this summer, with most days having low humidity, moderate temperatures and a nice breeze.
We have had very few unpleasantly hot days, and enough rain to keep the grass green.
Windchase students had a successful time at the Maryland Horse Trials this past weekend, held at the lovely Loch Moy Farm.
Heidi Wardle placed 5th in the Preliminary with Moving Illusion, and Dana Bivens was 6th with Happy Go Lucky.
Kaitlin Hardy moved up successfully to complete her first Training with Castine's Path, and Sara Marcus, who recently purchased Amazing Journey from Windchase, also had an excellent Training debut with him to finish 7th.
Ashlynn Riefenrath had a nice go with her talented but green mare Gatland in the Beginner Novice, and Megan Hansen jumped clear with Aurora in the talented mare's Intermediate debut.
Jineen and I are off on vacation tomorrow; we are going to Scotland for 10 days. I have ridden at the Scottish Open Championships at Thirlestane Castle several times back when I spent the summers in England with the USET, but I didn't get to see much other than the competition grounds, and I have always wanted to go back and explore the Highlands.
We fly into Edinburgh, and we have a room booked for the first night at a little B&B on the coast near Oban.
From there we have no planned itinerary; we will see where each day takes us, and find lodging as we go.
We plan to drive the back roads, hike, explore castles, visit a few pubs, and perhaps sample some Scotch whiskey.
And who knows, maybe we will find out the answer to that age old question about what a Scotsman wears beneath his kilt . . .
July 12, 2009
Lone Star, our orphan foal, is getting along great. He is friendly and
mischievous, and steals the heart of everyone he meets. He drinks the milk replacer from a bucket, consuming an incredible 24 quarts per day.
He considers the stable courtyard his own personal playground, and loves to show off for an audience.
If we sit on the bench in the corner, he runs laps around it, then tries to sit on it himself.
We are trying hard to prevent him from getting too spoiled or entirely thinking he is a person, but it is impossible not to be charmed by his outgoing personality.
We call him 'Lonesome,' but he really is not!
July 5, 2009
I am happy to report that Lone Star, our orphan foal, is doing very well.
He skipped the bottle-feeding stage and drinks his milk replacer straight from a bucket, with the enthusiastic gusto for eating that is typical of the Irish horse.
He seems to have adjusted to his situation, and enjoys frolicking in the barn courtyard when we turn him out.
He has a sweet and inquisitive personality, full of mischief, and he charms everyone who meets him.
I want to extend my thanks to everyone who has offered possible nurse mares who have either lost foals or had them weaned.
But on talking with the experts, both vets and breeders, it seems that it is very rare and difficult to get a mare to accept a foal that is not her own, especially one who has been on milk replacer for several weeks.
If a mare is to accept a strange foal they need to be introduced within hours after she has lost her own; even then it is recommended that the mare be kept hobbled and blindfolded for at least a week, which is not very humane treatment, and there is considerable risk to the foal should the mare not immediately accept him.
I don't want to take any chances with Lone Star, so we will keep going as we have been, since it seems to be working well.
But again, much thanks to all who have offered such help!
June 28, 2009
Last weekend my sister Patty and her husband Rob hosted the Dawson Family Reunion at their beautiful home on the Chesapeake Bay in Gloucester Point, VA.
Most of our family members were able to attend, and whenever we get together we always thoroughly enjoy each other.
Add to that excellent food, good wine, a healthy dose of story telling, some volleyball and a boat ride on the Chesapeake, and it was a recipe for a great weekend.
My cousin Greg Dawson has just gotten his book published.
It is the true story of his mother, Zhanna, a Ukrainian Jewish girl during World War II, and how she and her sister narrowly escaped from the Nazi death march where her parents and grandparents were killed.
The book tells of the sisters' struggle for survival during the holocaust, and how their music played such an important role in their survival; they were both child prodigy pianists, and were forced to play to entertain the German soldiers, all the while terrified that their true identity would be discovered and they would be killed.
Eventually they ended up, at the end of the war, in a displaced persons camp, headed by my father, Larry Dawson, who was able to make arrangements for the girls to come to the US.
They lived for a while with my mother before being accepted into the prestigious Julliard school of music in New York.
It is a very moving story, and one that vividly illustrates the unimaginable horror of what it was like during the holocaust.
The book is titled "Hiding in the Spotlight," and is now available in bookstores and on Amazon.com. For more information, visit Greg Dawson's website,
Lone Star with his dam, North River Lady
We had a very sad thing happen the other day. Our good broodmare, North River Lady, had a lovely colt by Windstar just over a week ago; but on Friday evening, she very suddenly colicked badly, twisting an intestine, and ended up having to be put down.
It is very sad to lose such a good mare, but even worse is the fact that her colt was orphaned at one week of age.
We are feeding him every two hours on milk replacer, and he is eating well.
He is a very friendly and curious little guy with an outgoing personality, but he misses his mother badly.
I have named him Lone Star.
Megan Delgado and Cate
On a brighter note, several of our working students did very well yesterday at the Surefire Farm Horse Trials.
Kaitlin Hardy had a lovely ride on Castine's Path in the Novice to finish 5th.
Megan Delgado and Cate were excellent in the Beginner Novice; Cate really figured out the game and went like a champ in all three phases.
June 10, 2009
Can you believe it? It has been one year today since lightning caused the fire that burned our barn down.
Last summer it seemed like the world had turned upside down, and coping in the aftermath of the fire and during the rebuilding phase took most of our time and concentration.
But now, looking back with the distance of time, the whole thing already has a sort of feeling of unreality.
The memories are vivid, yet in a way it almost seems like it happened to someone else.
But having said that, I was certainly nervous when a colossal lightning and thunder storm came through this evening!
Last weekend was the Rubicon Farm Horse Trials, and all of our young horses had good outings.
Melissa had clear rounds cross-country on both Rocky Edges and Chance in the Novice, and she placed second on River Star in the Beginner Novice, right behind Heide Wardle on Olibano, who won the division.
And as for my own weekend? Drifter and Make Believe both went very well and were in the ribbons in the Training Horse division.
But apparently riding cross-country was not the most dangerous part of the competition for me; I managed to miss the step while coming out of my trailer dressing room and fall against the door, putting a gash in my thigh that required two layers of stitches.
Oh well, always something new while Eventing; I have finished the day at the Emergency Room before, but never from having fallen off my trailer!
June 3, 2009
Windchase had another really fun weekend at Waredaca Horse Trials, always one of the nicest local competitions of the season.
It was extremely wet and muddy in the dressage rings and the parking area, but the cross-country footing was perfect.
My two Irish six-year-olds, Drifter and Make Believe (a.k.a. Jamie) both went beautifully in the Training, jumping like pros and finishing in the ribbons on their dressage scores.
Melissa Hunsberger also had a good weekend, going well in the Training with Out of Jazz, and taking her talented
Windstar youngster River Star for his Eventing debut in the Beginner Novice.
She was also 4th in the BN on Rocky Edges who went like a champ in his first recognized event, and tied for 5th on Chance in his first Novice.
(These two promising youngsters are offered for
The Windchase working students did well. Heidi Wardle had another great ride on Moving Illusion to win the dressage and place 3rd in the Preliminary, just their second event at this level.
Kaitlin Hardy also placed well in her first novice with her lovely mare Castine's Path; they are forming an excellent partnership.
Megan Delgado had a lovely SJ round with her mare Cate, recently converted from the ranks of Polocrosse, though the cross country is still a work in progress.
Heidi Wardle and
Brandenburg's Windstar's offspring have continued to excel: Siobhain O'Connor of Canada recently placed 2nd in the Open Intermediate at the Will O Wind Horse Trials, and Lynn Symanski won the CCI* at Lexington, VA on Morning Star.
Both of these youngsters have inherited their sire's exceptional jumping talent.
It is really fun to watch so many of Windstar's babies hitting the top ranks of Eventing.
And by the way, today is my mother Grace's 89th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!
May 13, 2009
Congratulations to Katie Willis and Polar Storm.
I went up to the Jersey Fresh Three Day Event in NJ this past weekend, where Katie and Polar put in a super performance in their first CCI***.
They completed in good form, with a clear cross-country run over a very challenging course.
Katie has brought Polar along herself from the start, and it is great to see their excellent partnership have success at such a high level.
We are very proud of Katie as a Windchase student, and the talented Polar Storm is a great
representative of his sire, our Irish stallion Brandenburg's
Windstar. Well done Katie and Polar!
Katie Willis and Polar
Storm at the Jersey Fresh CCI***.
May 3, 2009
Spring is always my favorite time of the year, and I have been thoroughly enjoying this one.
Each year I am excited anew as I watch the grass turn green, the flowers bloom and the leaves open up on the trees.
The weather has been wet and chilly more often than not, but this just prolongs the beauty of watching spring unfold.
The other day I was hacking around the lake, enjoying the beauty of the afternoon.
The weeping cherry, the apple trees and the lilacs were all in full bloom.
A great blue heron waded in the creek, and a pair of the smaller green-backed herons flew along the shore.
A family of Canadian geese were on the lawn, the newly hatched babies protected by fierce parents.
A kingfisher flew over the surface of the water, no doubt looking for lunch.
An osprey circled majestically above the lake and then lit on a branch of a high tree, taking a break during migration.
A bit later we were visited by a cormorant and several species of wild ducks.
If we just watch and wait, nature comes to us.
The competition season is well under way for the Windchase riders.
Last weekend was the Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Horse Trials at Morven Park, always one of our favorite events on the calendar.
Heidi Wardle made the big step up to Preliminary on her talented horse Moving Illusion; this pair has formed a super partnership, and they went beautifully to finish 4th.
Working student Kaitlin Hardy put in a good performance in the BN for her first event with her new mare Castine's Path, jumping clear and finishing 7th.
Jenna Alwine was successful in her first Novice event, placing 5th on the Irish horse Aherlow, and Melissa rode Chance to 4th place in the BN at his first registered event; see more about both of these nice youngsters on the
Horses for Sale page.
My two young Irish horses, Make Believe (a.k.a. Jamie) and Drifter, have both moved up to Training; it is great fun to have two such nice horses to ride.
They both went great yesterday in the Training at MCTA, near Baltimore, with Jamie finishing in 2nd place.
Melissa also had a good ride there on Out of Jazz, her talented Selle Francais.
Congratulations also to Katie Willis, who has continued her successful Advanced streak on Polar Storm, who is by our stallion
They placed 8th at Fair Hill, and fingers crossed, are now headed for the CCI*** at Jersey Fresh next week.
April 12, 2009
Yesterday we took eleven horses to Loch Moy, home of the Maryland Horse Trials, for their Short Course Event.
This excellent schooling competition was to be a first outing for a number of our young horses, and also for several of our working students who are newer to Eventing.
With the weather forecast calling for it to be mostly sunny, in the sixties, and just a chance of occasional showers, we looked forward to a perfect day.
What we got instead was pouring rain, wind, and 42 degrees.
The weather made for an absolutely miserable morning, and soon we were all soaked to the skin and freezing.
I was glad to be coaching instead of riding on this occasion, and I will admit I watched several of the dressage tests from the shelter of the trailer during the worst of the downpour.
And poor Melissa was riding four!
The Windchase horses and riders all did a great job.
Melissa was in the ribbons at BN with Chance, Rocky Edges and River Star; it was the first competition for all of them, and they went very well.
Melissa also had a good go on her Training horse Jazz, as did Andrea Courson with Mystic.
The Windchase working students had an excellent day.
Jenna Alwine did her first Novice level competition on the excellent young Irish horse Aherlow, and she won handily.
Both Tilly Berendt on Tejana Sands and Kaitlin Hardy on Castine's Path had nice rides to finish 4th in their respective divisions of Beginner Novice, and Megan Delgado also put in a good performance with Cate, placing 8th.
This was both Tilly and Megan's Eventing Debut, and also Kaitlin's first competition on Castine.
Everybody had a good time despite the appalling weather, and I think they are hooked!
The Windchase staff celebrated this morning with an Easter Egg hunt and then an Easter brunch.
I won't go into all of the devious places that Melissa and I hid the eggs, but the competition was fierce.
The egg-hunting contest culminated when Jenna scored her second victory in as many days, diving into the extremely cold lake to retrieve the eggs that were floating out in the middle, thereby narrowly beating the other working students who were quickly approaching in the row boat.
I guess you really have to want it.
April 3, 2009
The Event Season is here, even if warm spring weather has been a bit scarce.
I had fun despite the wet conditions at Morven Park last weekend riding my two talented Irish youngsters, Make Believe (a.k.a. Jamie) and Drifter, to second and fourth places in the Open Novice; they will both go Training next time out.
Our working student Heidi Wardle had good rides on Moving Illusion (a.k.a. Gemini) to place 5th in the Training; good preparation for her upcoming Preliminary debut.
Congratulations also to Siobhain O'Connor of Canada, who successfully moved up to Intermediate on her Irish Sport Horse Mizar, who is by our stallion
Katie Willis has started the season off in great form with Polar Storm, also by Windstar; she placed 7th in the Advanced division at Pine Top, GA, and 6th in the Advanced at Southern Pines, NC, both with clear XC and SJ rounds.
Well done Katie!
March 19, 2009
problems! Over the last several days there has
been some mysterious problem with my computer, and I have not been
receiving my e-mails. I hope I have the problem resolved
now, though I am not positive. If you have sent me an e-mail
in the last two or three days and have not received a reply, then
assume that I did not get your e-mail, and please send it
again. If I don't answer within 24 hours, then that may mean
that my e-mail is still malfunctioning; in that case phone
March 17, 2009
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Six retired Irishmen were playing poker in O'Leary's apartment when Paddy Murphy loses $500 on a single hand, whereupon he clutches his chest, and drops dead right there at the table.
Michael O'Conner looks around and asks, 'Oh, me boys, someone's got to tell Paddy's wife.
Who will it be?'
They draw straws. Paul Gallagher picks the short one.
They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse.
'Discreet???' he said, 'Discretion is me middle name.
Leave it to me.'
Gallagher goes over to Murphy's house and knocks on the door.
Mrs. Murphy answers, and asks what he wants. Gallagher declares, 'Your husband just lost $500 playing poker, and he is afraid to come home.'
'Tell him to drop dead!', says Murphy's wife.
'I'll go tell him.' says Gallagher.
March 15, 2009
The rebuilding of the barn is officially finished. Dave Rahn, my builder, designed a beautiful cupola for the roof, and last week he installed it, complete with the original gold eagle weathervane.
When I first moved to Windchase in 1987 my friends and boarders at Dogwood Lane, the farm I grew up on in Great Falls, gave me this weathervane as a barn-warming gift for the then brand new stable, and for 21 years the eagle proudly soared above the roof of my barn.
But on June 10th of last year, it was actually the weathervane that the lightning struck.
There was little of the barn left but rubble after the fire, but in the process of cleaning up the wreckage, unbelievably, we found the weathervane in the debris, completely unharmed.
I am very happy to have the golden eagle once again flying above my barn.
Spring seems to be just about here. The grass is getting green, the trees are budding out, the robins have arrived, and the daffodils are starting to bloom.
We have been thoroughly enjoying the warmer weather and good ground, and taking advantage of the opportunity to ride outside and go cross-country.
Event season is just around the corner!
February 26, 2009
Hopefully spring is just around the corner - another week and it will be March.
The weather has been fluctuating between freezing and spring like warm - I am hoping most of the cold stuff is behind us.
Wishful thinking, I expect.
It is the time of year for the horses to get their annual vaccinations and teeth floating.
This year we are upgrading our equine health care policy; at the recommendation of our vet, Dr. Sean Bowman of the
Practice, we are updating and revamping our de-worming program.
Recent research has showed that many horse parasites seem to be developing a resistance to Ivermectin; this can lead to very serious consequences if the de-wormers lose their effectiveness.
To combat this, Piedmont Equine is recommending that we do a fecal egg count on every horse on the farm, and then we will tailor the deworming schedule for each horse according to the results, in order to have the most effective parasite control program while minimizing the risk of ivermectin resistance.
for more information.) We consider ourselves lucky to have access to all of the latest research and info from Piedmont Equine Practice; they are very instrumental in helping us provide the best possible health care for the horses.
And of course, the working students are really looking forward to collecting 70 fecal samples for analysis . . .
Our Sunday jumping mini-clinics are still going strong; everyone has been riding great and having a blast.
Since these clinics have proved to be so popular, we plan to continue them through March.
Contact me if you want more info.
February 19, 2009
Well, here it is at last. I have finally completed and posted the journal from the wonderful trip
that Jineen and I took to Alaska in September. Sorry it took so long; I have been busy!
But if you have nothing better to do, visit Alaska, September
February 8, 2009
Ah, spring is here. At least, that is the way it seems, since it was 60 degrees today.
No matter that Punxsutawney Phil supposedly saw his shadow on Groundhog's Day; I am convinced that we will not have six more weeks of winter.
It was wonderful to go for a hack in the sunshine this morning, sloshing through the fetlock deep mud and enjoying the beautiful day.
Our weekly jumping clinics here at Windchase are going well, and we have a lot of fun each Sunday.
They are informal and fun; contact me if you want information on participating.
It is with regret that we say goodbye (for the time being to Meagan Sentineal of Canada, she has been an important part of Windchase for several years now.
Meagan is going to New Zealand to work in the Eventing scene there for a year, and I know she will excel and have great opportunities.
We will miss her, and look forward to her return. Every one at Windchase wishes her the very best of luck!
January 20, 2009
What a great day. We had the opportunity to witness history today.
I didn't brave the crowds in downtown Washington, but we did all watch the inauguration on TV.
I can't describe how excited I am to have Barack Obama sworn is as the 44th President of the United States, and I have extremely high hopes that he will be able to get our great country back on the right track again.
There is nothing like ten below zero to make twenty degrees seem balmy.
We have been experiencing bitter cold this past week, and we are definitely now well acclimated to winter - when it got up to 30 yesterday it seemed like springtime!
We had a really scary thing happen the other day.
It was 8 degrees below zero on Saturday morning when our six month old lurcher puppy, Nelly, went out on the frozen lake and broke through the ice.
I was in the house, and I heard the other dogs frantically barking; they didn't let up until I got the message that something was wrong (sort of like Lassie).
I went out and saw Nellie in the middle of the lake, in the area of
water that the geese keep open, totally surrounded by ice. She was swimming desperately and trying to climb out, but the edge of the ice kept crumbling away so she was unable to escape.
She was near freezing, and surely about to drown.
I didn't think there was any way we would be able to save her in time.
I screamed for help, and everyone from the barn came to the rescue attempt.
The ice was too thin to cross, and Nellie was way out in the middle of the lake, exhausted and barely able to keep swimming.
Working quickly, Melissa got in the row boat and we pushed it as far as we could out onto the ice.
Melissa was able to scootch her body and make the boat move across the ice to the open water, where she was grabbed Nellie by the collar and dragged her into the boat.
By then we had gotten a rope; we tossed it to Melissa and pulled the boat back to shore.
Nellie was terrified and practically frozen; we rushed her into the kitchen to dry her off and thaw her out.
Miraculously, once we got her warmed up she was perfectly fine. She must have been in that water for 20 minutes, and I still can't believe she survived it.
But she never stopped fighting, and I think that made all the difference.
January 16, 2008
Welcome to the Windchase Winter Wonderland. The weather forecast called for last night to be the coldest we have seen in the last 12 years, and apparently they were right - this morning the thermometer read minus 5 degrees, not even to mention the wind chill.
It is always a few degrees colder here than any place else around; something about the way the valley sits between Short Hill Mountain and the Blue Ridge that seems to trap the cold in - we average about 5 degrees cooler than Purcellville, and at least 10 less than Washington.
Nice in the summer, but not much fun in January. Too cold to even turn the horses out in the pastures today, let alone ride.
But chopping the ice out of the stall water troughs keeps us occupied.
I am looking forward to the inauguration on Tuesday; time for a new administration and some changes for the better.
January 1, 2009
Happy New Year!
2008 has been an exciting and unusual year at Windchase; difficult yes, but also amazing.
The generosity and friendship of all those who reached out to help us after the barn fire in June is something that will remain to me ever a wonder and a source of inspiration.
It seems appropriate on the first day of the year to indulge in a bit of reflection; my mind wanders to what has long been one of my favorite quotes.
I leave you with this thought:
“It is not the critic who counts; the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievements, and at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt
May the wonder and peace of the holiday season remain with you through the