OUT THE LATEST NEWS FROM WINDCHASE, AND KEEP UP WITH
PHYLLIS AND THE CREW.
May 17, 2011
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks since I last wrote – May is always one of the busiest months here at Windchase and this year has been no exception.
It is also one of the most beautiful times of the year and I have been enjoying every moment of it.
I rode Drifter in the Open Preliminary at MCTA weekend before last, and he went really well, jumping clear in SJ and XC over demanding courses.
Drifter is an exceptional jumper, and really fun to compete – though I fear his recent success at Preliminary has gone to his head and he is more spoiled than ever.
Ashlynn Riefenrath also ran well at MCTA, and placed 2nd in the Junior Prelim with her good TB mare Arden.
This pair has a great partnership, and it is really fun to watch them in action.
On the night after the competition, my Irish mare Sirius had her foal; a tall elegant bay filly by Salute the Truth. I have named her Radiance.
Sirius and Radiance
A few nights later, we got another nice filly, this time by our Irish Sport Horse stallion Brandenburg’s
Windstar, out of Annie Jones’ lovely mare Gemma. She is a feisty little thing with strong opinions, and is already giving her dam a hard time.
Gemma and her filly
This past Saturday we had a dozen horses competing at the unrecognized horse trials at Loch Moy, home of the Maryland Horse Trials.
It was a great chance to get some of the young horses out for their first competitions, and to move up a level with others.
They all went great and we had a very successful day.
Melissa Hunsberger rode three of Windchase’s homebreds by Windstar.
The ultra-talented Polaris was second in the Novice, and his little sister Adhara won the Beginner Novice in excellent form.
Starbourne, a really fancy four year old in his first competitive outing, went great in the Elementary to place third. Look for these talented youngsters on our Horses for Sale page.
Larry and Michelle Robbins of Kilronan Farm had a great day with both of their Irish Draught horses moving up a level.
Little Gem had a successful Training level debut, winning her division with Heidi Wardle aboard, and Dana Bivens piloted the young stallion Kilronan’s Glenstone in his first Novice outing, also winning.
Kaitlin Hardy also successfully moved up to Training, placing fourth with Castine’s Path, and Heidi was 7th with her own Double Agent.
winning at Loch Moy
Ashlynn Riefenrath had a great ride on the talented young thoroughbred Willmore; look for this horse to progress really quickly.
Dana Bivens was also third at this level with Mistica, by Mistic Replica.
And Chloe Brownlee won the Intro division with Pinto Stella. These horses can all also be found on the Horses for Sale page.
May 3, 2011
I had a blast riding Drifter in the Loudoun Horse Trials
last Saturday. I had
just barely moved him up to Prelim at the end of the season last
year, so this was his first chance to be competitive around a big
solid Prelim course, taking all the straight routes and going for
time. After putting in
a somewhat mediocre dressage test (too much hacking and not enough
dressage practice!), Drifter put in a good clear Show Jumping
round. Then on
cross-country he was foot perfect, running and jumping like a
dream. The course was
lovely, very open and gallopy, but with plenty to do, and Drifter
gave me a fabulous ride to finish 2nd in his division.
Dana Bivens jumped a good double
clear in the Open Intermediate with Happy Go Lucky, only to find
that she had been marked down as eliminated for a controversial
technical error – but nonetheless Dana and Lucky had a great
run, and they are a pair to watch for in the future.
the other Windchase riders also had a good weekend.
Ashlynn Riefenrath won the dressage in the Junior
Preliminary, and jumped clear but with some time faults to finish
5th with her classy little TB mare Arden.
Jeff Speagle also jumped clear for his first Preliminary
completion on his talented NZ horse Maungatautari.
In the novice, Heidi Wardle won
for the third consecutive time with Michelle and Larry Robbins’
lovely Irish Draught mare Little Gem, finishing on her dressage
score of 20.5 – they look forward to moving up at the next
working student Kaitlin Hardy placed 3rd with her
lovely mare Castine’s Path.
Robbins’ young Irish stallion, Kilronan’s Glenstone, placed
second in the Beginner Novice, and Karen Eichert was 4th
with Lochcarron. Andrea
Courson also jumped well with her mare Itsy Bitsy Betty to finish
Melissa Hunsberger rode two of my homebreds; Polaris did
his first Novice, and Adhara went Beginner Novice, in her first
ever competition. Both
of them went great and jumped clear XC rounds.
These talented youngsters have a bright future; look for
them on the Horses for Sale page.
meantime, I am enjoying the springtime.
The Canadian Geese have started hatching their babies, and
all the flowering trees are in bloom.
Each day is a delight.
I love nothing better than to hack around the farm enjoying
the beauty of the season. I
guess that dressage practice will have to wait!
April 24, 2011
It was a beautiful sunny Easter
morning, and a perfect time to get out with my new camera – a
Nikon D7000 – and play a little.
Photography is one of my
favorite hobbies, and what fun to have a new toy.
Spring is at her finest, and the pink trees in my yard are
But what a
change in weather from 24 hours ago!
While this morning it was sunny and near 80, but yesterday
when we set off for the Redlands Pony Club Horse Trials it was
rainy and 46 degrees. But
despite the wet footing and gloomy weather for the start of the
weekend, Windchase had a very successful competition.
Brandenburg's Windstar, offered for
Hunsberger rode my fancy homebred youngster Polaris in his first
recognized horse trials, and he went beautifully, adding no faults
to his dressage score of 28, to win handily in the BN division.
Heidi Wardle also won a BN division with her youngster
Double Agent, and Jeff Speagle was 4th in the Training
Today Heidi won again, this time
in the Novice with Michelle and Larry Robbins’ Irish Draught
mare Little Gem, and Melissa was 3rd with Maggie
Nichols’ horse Western Tern.
We are all looking forward to the Loudoun horse trials next
April 12, 2011
We had a good day at Loch Moy on Saturday, taking the young
horses out for their first run of the year - and
they made a good showing. I
rode my fancy homebred youngster Polaris in the BN, and despite
him being a bit fresh in the show jumping I was very happy with
Hunsberger was second in the novice with Western Tern, who never
put a foot wrong.
Western Tern, 2nd in the Novice at Loch Moy - offered For
Dana Bivens won the BN with Larry and Michelle Robbins’ talented
young stallion Kilronan’s Glenstone.
This was Kilronan Farm’s second win in as many weeks, as
their Little Gem won the Novice at Morven Park last weekend with
Heidi Wardle aboard. The
season is off to a good start!
We had one glorious day of warm
sunshine yesterday, and now we are back to cold rain.
I am still looking forward to springtime weather.
April 3, 2011
In my last posting I said that spring was here, but now I
am not so sure. The
cold weather has continued, and though Mother Nature has been
teasing us with hints of spring such as daffodils and a little
green grass, freezing nights and daytime highs in the mid forties
have not convinced me that the winter is over.
event season got underway today at Morven Park, and the weather
did nothing to break the recent chilly pattern.
In fact, every time I got on my horse it proceeded to sleet
and hail. I rode
Drifter in the Training – he had just moved up to Preliminary at
the end of the season last autumn, but because Morven is early and
chances to school cross-country this time of year are uncertain, I
decided to give him an easy run to start off the season.
Despite being soaked with cold rain and pummeled by icy
pellets of hail in both dressage and show jumping, Drifter went
really well, jumping a double clear and finishing 3rd.
spending most of the winter in the indoor arena, what fun to be
back galloping cross-country again! We will be back to Prelim level in a couple of weeks at
Bivens also had a good day, placing 6th in the Open
Intermediate on her Happy Go Lucky.
Better weather is expected for tomorrow, when we go back
with more Windchase horses and students.
It is supposed to be sunny and sixty, maybe spring will be
here after all . . .
March 23, 2011
Spring is here, and I am enjoying every minute of it.
Though we have had a few gloriously warm days, mostly the
weather has still been on the cool side due to the unique weather
patterns here at Windchase. It
always seems to be about five degrees colder here than anywhere
around – even compared to Hillsboro, just a mile away.
In fact, the cold pocket starts when you turn up our gravel
road; when the snow has melted everywhere else Windchase is often
still covered in white. But
not now! The grass is
growing fast and turning green, the daffodils are blooming, and
the horses are shedding like mad.
We have had a lot of rain so there hasn’t been much
cross-country schooling, but even just getting outside for a trot
or a gallop feels glorious. The
spring Event season is just around the corner, and we are ready to
In like a lion, out like a lamb.
March weather is always interesting; you never know from
one day to the next what you will get. I
think it is Mother Nature's way of saying don't get too
comfortable. But at
least for today we have the lamb – it is a beautiful morning,
sunny, with a high near fifty predicted.
If you look closely you can see the grass starting to turn
a little green, and yesterday I saw the tip of a daffodil bud
peeking out of the ground. The
best thing is getting to ride out across the fields again; even if
the footing is too wet to do anything more than a walk, it still
makes a nice change from the indoor arena.
What a wonderful time of year, with winter almost over and
the whole of spring ahead of us, waiting to be enjoyed.
Dare we hope that spring is here?
I know it is only mid-February, and a year ago we had three
feet of snow on the ground about this time, but with the
temperatures in the sixties this week, it certainly feels like the
worst is over. Oh,
sure, I know we will have some more cold days and nights, but my
prediction, for what it is worth, is that it will be warmer from
here on out, and spring will come early.
Hopefully it isn’t just wishful thinking.
But really, I don’t so much mind
the winter. It is a
quiet time, a sort of break from the busy hustle and bustle of the
other warmer seasons. It
is a time to concentrate on bringing along the training of the
young horses, and we have an exceptional group of those this year.
It is a time for waiting and looking forward, anticipating
the coming spring and the Event season ahead.
I am not saying it is my favorite time of year, but every
season has its joys, and I can enjoy the winter while waiting for
And in the meantime, I am ignoring
the fact that they are predicting snow on Tuesday . . .
Last winter we had ridiculous amounts of snow;
around 90 inches total, and during February’s blizzards we
actually shoveled 446 tons of it off the indoor arena roof.
So having had enough snow to last a decade or two, I have
been widely proclaiming that we will not be having any snow this
winter. Of course I
remind you that after last February’s storms we consider that
anything under a foot doesn’t count!
Fortunately this week’s little flurry only brought us
eleven inches, and so far we are in the clear.
But I must admit that our little eleven inch dusting was
beautiful. It was a
heavy wet snow that clung to every tree and branch, and
transformed the forest into a winter wonderland.
I got the opportunity to ride out on Drifter on the morning
after the storm, and it was sheer magic.
Everyone should get the chance to ride a nice horse across
beautiful countryside on a silent morning after a snowfall.
It’s been cold again, but we are all getting used to it.
I heard the other day that there was snow on the ground in
49 states. That being
said, I am holding firmly to my theory that we are not going to
have any snow here this year; we had enough last winter to last
several decades. Of
course, anything under a foot deep doesn’t count . . .
though, I kind of enjoy the winter.
It is a quiet time of year, and with the shorter days there is a
bit more time to relax. Since it is a break from
competition season, it is a time to concentrate on bringing along
the young horses and improving the basics on the more experienced
ones. It is the season
where a lot of the actual training gets done, and those long hours
in the indoor arena will pay off come spring.
have a really super nice group of young sale
horses in training at the moment.
We are concentrating on the four and five year olds, and
they are progressing well and showing real promise for the future.
Some of these
youngsters have exceptional talent and potential, so any of you
who are looking for a future Eventing partner, you should come and
the meantime, we have started up the Windchase Jumping
Sunday afternoon we have an informal jumping clinic in the indoor
arena. It is a lot of
fun, and we have groups for all levels.
Follow this link if you want more info on the Windchase
Mini-clinics; we would love to have you come join the fun.
January 1, 2011
of December being bitter cold, it has warmed up beautifully, with
temperatures in the 40s all week.
Starting the year out right. After
weeks of freezing toes and being stuck in the indoor arena, it is
really great to be able to enjoy hacking out in pleasant weather.
Not that I am complaining about having an indoor arena to
ride in, mind you, but I do love to ride outside.
Reflecting on the past year, I am
struck both by how fast it has flown by, and also how long it
seems since the start of it. Looking
back over the Archives of my
Windchase News column during 2010, I am reminded of all that
happened during the year. Each
of our days is packed with joys, frustrations, expectations and
exertions. Savor each
Here are my hopes for the New Year.
I want to learn something new, do something I have never
done before, and go somewhere I have never been.
I hope to make new friends, spend plenty of time with old
friends, see something wondrous, and surprise myself.