Invest in the Journey, not the Destination.
(Archive: January 1, 2013 - July 5, 2013)
Notes from Phyllis


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Canada 2010

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Windchase Quotes:
Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the 
doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. 
Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.
                  ~ Wilferd Peterson ~



July 5, 2013
     I feel very lucky to be part of a large and close-knit family, and I got the chance to really appreciate it last weekend while hosting fifty family members and friends for the Dawson/Jarman Family Reunion. We enjoyed great food, excellent music, family stories, and most of all just getting together with four generations of relatives. 

     Dawsons are nothing if not competitive, so the Amazing Grace Team Challenge was a great hit.  The Relay Race involved stilt walking, wheelbarrow racing, obstacle courses, flipper races, and ferrying the team across the lake in the rowboat.  The Family Feud Trivia test brought back many fond memories of family history.  Windchase riders Cindy and Heidi excelled in the wheelbarrow cross-country event, and the kids in the family did a great job with the obstacle course.  In the end, the girls team edged out the boys team by a narrow margin despite their sinking the boat. 

     How great it was to watch the kids, as this youngest generation of cousins bonded and formed friendships that hopefully will last them a lifetime.  Our family has managed to stay close even though separated by distance, and when we all get together it is a really special time.
     Visit the gallery of photos from the Dawson/Jarman Family Reunion 2013.


June 26, 2013
     Summer is here!  We finished up the Event Season with a win for Astrana de la Galerna at Seneca Valley and a second for Aquilla at Surefire, both ridden in the Novice by Cindy.  Now it is time for a bit of a break from competition, where we enjoy family time and work on starting the young homebreds.
     This coming weekend is the annual Dawson Family Reunion, and it is my turn to host it.  I have about fifty family members coming, so I better start cooking now!


une 13, 2013
     Things have been busy here at Windchase as we go through the spring Eventing season, taking the young horses and the students out to gain mileage at as many competitions as possible.  As with any event season there have been ups and downs, but on the whole the horses have been going well and moving up the levels.  And we have a super group of talented youngster horses at home preparing for their turn!

     Eventing can be a risky sport, but accidents can happen anywhere – sadly our working student Sara Koebel got kicked in the pasture and fractured her elbow, resulting in surgery.  Fortunately Sara will be fine, but she has had to cut her time at Windchase short to return home to recover.  We will miss Sara and her excellent mare Lady Liberty.  Get well soon Sara!

Sara Koebel and Lady Liberty


May 27, 2013
     The weather has stayed mostly cool all during May, prolonging the beauty of spring.  The blossoming flowers and shrubs have been spectacular, and each day brings something new.  
We have four lovely foals on the ground, two colts and two fillies.  What fun to watch them frolic in the field, and dream of what they may be doing seven or eight years from now.  

     We took a whole troop of young horses to the unrecognized horse trials at Loch Moy yesterday.  The weather was lovely, the horses went well, and we had a great (if long) day.  Cindy won a division of Novice with the fancy homebred Aquilla, and I was second on his brother, Phoenix Star.  In the BN, Heidi Wardle cleaned up, winning with Nicola Hasling’s lovely TB Reiver, and getting a 2nd place on Wendy Jones’ Katie Belle.  Cindy placed 2nd in the Training with Shocolatine, and Rachel Nymeyer was 2nd in the Elementary riding Ballygrace Laralai.  Not bad, half a dozen top two placings out of nine horses!


May 5, 2013

     Congratulations to Cindy and her talented Thoroughbred Windsor; they were superstars in the Open Intermediate division at the MCTA Horse Trials today, jumping a superb clear XC round over a big course, and finishing 7th

Cindy and Windsor at MCTA


April 30, 2013
   The trees are in leaf now, though still a few weeks behind where they normally would be this time of year.  The pink trees in my yard are in full bloom, and the lawn is covered in violets.  New baby geese on the lake, and a pair of wild wood ducks have started coming up on the lawn looking for corn.  Riding through the trails, the woods are carpeted with wildflowers, like a place for fairies.  The good thing about the cold spring we have had is that these magical spring days last longer.

     Loudoun Horse Trials were this past weekend, and we had a great time there with the young horses.  Cindy Anderson-Blank was tied for first in the Novice with Astrana de la Galerna, and placed sixth with Aquilla in his recognized competition debut.  Cindy does a fabulous job riding them, and both of these talented young horses have a bright upper-level future.  

     Working student Hannah Milne had a great ride on Scooter, jumping double clear to finish 6th in the Training division, and Sara Koebel had a good run in the Novice with Lady Liberty, marred only by the mare hesitating at the water.  
We have had two new foals in recent weeks at Windchase, with two more on the way later in the spring.  Dreams for the future!   


April 24, 2013
     We had a super day at Loch Moy for the starter trial on April 14.  I rode my homebred ISH Phoenix Star in the Beginner Novice and Cindy had the ride on Aquilla, and both of these talented 5 year olds went great.  Emma Dixon won the Novice with her mare Stella, Cindy was 3rd with Astrana, and Sara Koebel was 8th with her Lady Liberty.
     Hannah Milne put in a great performance with Jump for Joy, finishing 5th in the Training division.  Jessica Gebbet placed 2nd in the Elementary with Wendy Jones’s young Connemara Katie Belle, and Heidi Wardle was 6th with Jim Bewley’s nice young thoroughbred, Ned Kelly.
     Then this past weekend, Cindy rode her own talented but somewhat temperamental thoroughbred Windsor at Fair Hill; they had a super outing, placing 5th in the Open Preliminary.

       In the meantime, after the seemingly endless winter, spring is magnificent.  The world is once again rich with color.  The trees are covered with fresh new leaves, the grass is growing so fast you can almost watch it, and flowers are in bloom everywhere.  Riding around the farm is always a treat, but in a clear sunny day in April it is sheer heaven.


April 13, 2013
     Glorious Spring!  It seemed winter would never end, but at last better weather is here.  It finally warmed up, and after a good rain yesterday, the grass grew about six inches overnight.  I even got to mow my lawn this evening!

     I just love this time of year; the early days of spring, when the trees are budding out and everything is fresh and new and full of promise.  It always brings to mind one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost:

     Nature’s first green is gold,
     Her hardest hue to hold.
     Her early leaf’s a flower;
     But only so an hour.
     Then leaf subsides to leaf.
     So Eden sank to grief,
     So dawn goes down to day.
     Nothing gold can stay.


April 11, 2013
At Last!


April 5, 2013
     March certainly didn’t go out like a lamb, but April came in like an icy blast.  Spring has been a long time coming, and still no leaves on the trees.  It was sunny and the warmest it has been all year, but temperatures are predicted to be back in the twenties tonight.  

     For April Fool’s Day the working students apparently hung me in effigy; when I went to the barn in the morning I found the likeness of a dead body, wearing a Windchase sweatshirt, swinging from a tree limb.  I didn’t delve too deeply into the intended symbolism; there are some things you just don’t want to know.


     We celebrated April 1 with a Windchase Gymkhana.  The working students, mounted on Windchase horses, contested the egg and spoon race, barrel racing, a ride-a-buck obstacle course, pole-bending, crepe paper (actually toilet paper) pairs, and a competitive game of Simon Says.  How many ways there are to have fun on a horse!


March 31, 2013
     Happy Easter!

     Our spring Event Season is off to a good start.  Windchase trainer Cindy Anderson-Blank had a great run today in the Preliminary at Morven Park with Windsor.  This follows up her win last weekend at Loch Moy with Gandara in the Novice, so things are looking good.
     Can’t say the same for the weather.  Yesterday was pretty nice, but it was cold and rainy again today.  Hopefully this week will finally bring some much-awaited springtime weather.  The photos below show a comparison of spring a year ago with now:

March 30, 2012, compared to March 30, 2013

     Still, we had a good day, with the Windchase staff getting together for Easter Brunch after we got back from the horse trials.  Nothing like a good meal and some Easter Egg decorating with friends!


March 23, 2013
     This is getting ridiculous!  It is supposed to be spring, but the temperatures remain below freezing and snow is predicted for Sunday night and Monday.  My poor little daffodil buds have had their little heads frozen off.   Not what we expect from Global Warming; surely it will warm up soon!
     We spent Saturday over at Loch Moy for the Combined Test, a good way to knock off the winter rust.  Cindy rode her talented thoroughbred Windsor in the Preliminary and Sport in the Training, and both went great.  Heidi was in the ribbons with Bling in Beginner Novice, and placed 2nd in the Elementary with Jim Bewley’s new horse Ned Kelly, a great result for his first outing.  Working student Sara Koebel had a great debut with her lovely mare Libby, ending the round well after starting with a brief parting of company.  A good day, and back over there Sunday with some Novice horses for the starter trials.  Maybe the snow will hold off.

Heidi Wardle riding Ned Kelly, and Sara Koebel on Libby


March 17, 2013
     And the Top of the Mornin’ to Ye!  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from Windchase.
     I especially appreciate this holiday after my vacation last summer, when Jineen and I visited Connemara, Ireland, and hiked up to St. Patrick’s Chapel on Maumeen Pass.  This place of worship was founded by Saint Patrick in the year 432 - over a thousand years before Columbus discovered America.  To stand on such hallowed ground and look out over the mountains and valleys is an experience not to be forgotten.

Saint Patrick's Chapel, Maumeen, Ireland

     Springtime is coming round slowly.  Along with all the other flowers and trees, my daffodils are on hold: they came peeking out of the ground weeks ago, budded out and just waiting for the warm sunny days heralding spring.  They are still waiting.  It is like Mother Nature decided to put Spring back in the deep-freeze.  March, in like a lion and out like a lamb?  More like a polar bear!
     Spring or not, we started our competition season today.  We took a bunch of horses to the Jumping Derby at Loch Moy Farm, and really had a fun time.  The course was a combination of Show Jumping and Cross-Country, all on good all-weather footing.  American Fable, Gandara and Bling all went great; look for these horses on the For Sale page. 


March 10, 2013
     What a difference three days can make.  On Wednesday we had eight inches of snow (and if it had been three degrees colder it could easily have been eighteen), and today it was sunny and high fifties.  The daffodils buds are ready to unfurl, and today I heard the first chorus of the spring peepers.  What a delight, to ride good horses around the farm on the first spring-like day of the year!  Event Season, here we come.

Waiting for Spring


March 1, 2013
March already; can you believe it? In another couple weeks winter will be over. I love the change of seasons, but I must admit I enjoy some seasons more than others. Spring is my favorite! This time of year is always special; we are poised at the end of winter with all the glories of spring just ahead of us. My daffodils buds have been peeking out of the ground for weeks, in suspended animation, waiting for the warm weather when they will unfurl. 
     Things are good here, as we prepare for spring. We have an exciting bunch of young horses in training, and have spent a productive winter working with them. We also have a great group of working students and a terrific staff. We are really looking forward to the start of the season. 
We have a few stalls available, so if you need a place to train out of, contact us. Our complete facilities make it easy to prepare for the events, and we have hundreds of cross-country fences right here on the farm. Come Eventing with us!


February 16, 2013
     I went to Florida last week and participated in a photography workshop, something I have wanted to do for a while.  The theme of the workshop was Birds and Gators, and we got the chance to see and photograph plenty of both.  I had a lot of fun and it was a great learning experience.  Follow this link to see some of my Florida Photos.



February 14, 2013
     Happy Valentine's Day!


February 4, 2013

     The temperature has been going up and down like a yo-yo; last week we went from seventy degrees down to seven in three days.  Over the last month we keep bouncing back and forth between amazingly warm spells where the flowers start to bloom, and then bitter windy cold with snow.  Not complaining though – it’s better than it just staying cold all the time!
     I can actually get adjusted to the cold pretty well though; after a prolonged cold snap the frigid weather doesn’t bother me too much.  Only problem is, it takes me about a week to get adjusted to the cold weather, and only an hour to get adjusted back to warm.  
Speaking of warm, I am heading down to Florida this week to attend a photography workshop, something I have always wanted to do.  Then I will be home for a week before heading back down to Florida again for the ICP Symposium in Ocala.  Back and forth to Florida twice within 10 days – that should help my winter weather adjustment!
     The ICP Symposium should be fabulous, and I would encourage everyone who can to attend.  British Eventing coach Yogi Breisner, dressage guru Linda Zang, and the new US Eventing coach David O’Connor will be presenting a teaching seminar, with some of our top Eventers participating as demo riders.  It is open to all, and should be a great educational opportunity.  For more information, go to this link:


January 23, 2013
     Remember summer?  It is hard to bring it to mind when it is five degrees.  

     Cold weather this week aside, the winter has not been too bad so far (knock on wood), and we have been having a good time getting the young horses up and going.  The three year olds are now four, and they are ready to get serious in their training.  We have a great selection of youngsters, and we are tuning up the competition horses for the 2013 spring Event season.  
Now is the time to be finding your horse for the spring competition season, so if you are shopping for a new equine partner, get in touch, we have a great group of horses available.  And if your current horse is not what you need and you want to find him a new home, let me know – we accept horses on consignment, and have already sold three in 2013.

     We are having a lot of fun with the Sunday Jumping clinics here at Windchase.  They are fun and informal, and we have groups from beginner/elementary up through Preliminary.  Sign up by Thursday each week to jump on Sunday.  For more information, go to  Drop me an Email at if you want to be included on the mailing list.    


January 5, 2013
     It has been a long time coming, but I have finally posted the journal and photos from the trip to Ireland in August 2012 that Jineen and I took this past August.  Have a look!


January 1, 2013
     Happy New Year!
     Windchase Working Students celebrated the New Year by doing a polar dive off the dock into the lake today.  It was particularly invigorating, as they had to break the ice off the water before making the jump.  I have photographic proof: Rachel was first into the water, but Jessica was the first one out.



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