November 9, 2013
We are really lucky to have good quality Horse
Trials within an hour drive most weekends throughout the
event season, so we rarely have to stable overnight - but
I was very glad I made the decision to take some of the
horses down to Lexington for the Virginia Horse Trials
last weekend. The
weather was perfect, they had done a great job aerating
the ground on the cross-country course.
All of the Windchase horses went well, and Cindy
and Aquilla won the Training handily by a margin of 7
the view from the top of the hill made the trip
worthwhile, with the rolling hills of the cross-country
course set against a backdrop of mountains and autumn
The puppies continue to grow at an amazing rate,
and are as fat as little sausages.
They now have their eyes open, and are learning to
walk, romp and bark. They
are still living in the kitchen; not sure where I am going
to put them when they are big enough to climb out of the
We had a good time at Waredaca last weekend.
Cindy had super rides on both of my homebred greys,
and won the Open Training with Phoenix Star on his
dressage score of 26.
Phoenix was quite proud of himself to have beat his
brother Aquilla in the dressage!
Heidi placed second in the Novice with Martin
Vella’s nice Thoroughbred Achilles.
Phoenix Star at Waredaca
The previous week, Aspen Duffin had a nice win in
the Novice at Loch Moy with her warmblood mare Gatlin.
This pair has made tremendous progress through the
My lurcher dog Nellie had her puppies on October
22. After 36
hours in labor she had to have a C-section, but mother and
babies are doing well now.
The puppies are unbelievable cute, and as fat as
little piglets. Nellie
is an exceptional mom, and I can’t get my work done for
spending too much time playing with the puppies!
Last week everyone from Windchase went down to the
national harbor in Washington to see Cavalia, currently
here with its new show, Odysseo.
This is the most amazing performance you are ever
likely to see. It
is a beautiful and artistic celebration of horses and
is everything from classical dressage to cowboy trick
riding, from fun high-speed jumping to roman-style riding
to freedom training. Then
add to the mix the most incredible human acrobats and
dancers you have ever seen, with a huge backdrop screen
for special effects and musicians and singers providing
the music live. Folks,
don’t miss this show. It
is a performance you will never forget.
no rain for ages, the ground was so hard at Morven Park
week before last that we withdrew Aquilla after dressage.
We have all been praying for rain – but be
careful what you wish for!
It started raining last Wednesday, and rained hard
clear through Sunday, making for a thoroughly wet weekend
at the Maryland Horse Trials.
But despite the soggy conditions, the Windchase
horses all went great!
On Saturday, we headed over to Loch Moy not knowing
if cross-country would even be held.
But on walking the course, we were delighted with
how well the ground held up with all the rain, so we put
in the big studs for traction and gave it a go.
Aquilla and Cindy at Maryland Horse Trials
had great rides in the Training division with our two
Windchase Irish homebreds, Aquilla and Phoenix Star, who
both finished on their dressage scores in 3rd
and 4th places respectively.
Pedro Gutierrez also had a good Training level run
with his mare Leonie to place 4th.
Laralai jumped brilliantly, piloted by Rachel Nmeyer, to
finish 5th in the BN; this excellent mare is
really coming into her own.
Tori Rosenblatt had a good ride with Flirt in this
talented youngster’s BN debut.
Rachel and Ballygrace Laralai
Heidi also had
a great weekend, winning on Saturday at BN with Karen
Eichert’s lovely horse Lochcarron.
She followed that up on Sunday by winning the
Novice with Nicola Hasling’s Reiver, and placing 3rd
with Martin Vella’s talented TB Achilles.
And Aspen Duffin had a great ride with her mare Gatlin,
winning the dressage and narrowly missing out on the blue
ribbon due to one XC mistake.
The improvement this pair has made in a few short
months has been fun to watch.
How did it get to be October already?
Tempus fugit, time flies.
Windchase had a great time
this past weekend at the Middleburg Horse Trials.
As always, the cross-country at the lovely Glenwood
Park was a delight. Cindy
Anderson-Blank rode Windchase homebreds Phoenix Star and
Aquilla in their Training level debuts, and both went
Phoenix Star and Cindy at Middleburg
put in a credible dressage test and jumped double clear to
place 3rd, and looked like a big-time horse
while doing it. Aquilla
went like a star also, finishing 6th.
Pedro Gutierrez also moved his talented German
horse Hoznayo up to Training, to finish in 7th place.
Heidi Wardle piloted
Martin Vella’s talented thoroughbred Achilles
successfully around his first Novice; this young horse is
top quality, and is an exciting prospect for the future.
Achilles and Heidi at Middleburg
Tara Swersie had a good run on Arden to place 5th
in the Novice, and Windchase student Heidi Roberson was 4th
on her talented homebred Red Shift.
weather is lovely and the trees are starting to turn; I
always enjoy this beautiful time of year.
But we do desperately need rain!
September 20, 2013
Lovely weather and nice horses for the autumn Event
season; what could be better?
Cindy Anderson-Blank won the Novice division at
Seneca Valley last weekend on our homebred Irish
5-year-old Aquilla, by Brandenburg’s Windstar.
Heidi Wardle had a great go with Martin Vella’s
Achilles in his first recognized horse trial, placing 5th
in the BN, on a roll after coming in 2nd the
previous week at the unrecognized trial at Loch Moy.
This talented horse shows great promise for the
am still trying to get caught up with all my work after
our wonderful trip to Alaska, so I haven’t even had a
chance to go through most of my photos yet.
But I have had time to edit a few of them, and here
is a shot of the beautiful Twin Lakes, in Lake Clark
Our trip to Alaska was amazing.
Twin Lakes is the most beautiful place imaginable,
and staying in the cabin there was incredible.
We were on Upper Twin Lake, which is about seven
miles long and three quarters of a mile across, and the
water is a lovely turquoise blue.
I took about a million photos, but none of them can
begin to portray the spectacular beauty and wildness of
The flight in on the floatplane was an experience
in itself, and the fishing and hiking were great.
My brother George joined Jineen and I at the cabin,
and we didn’t see another soul the whole time, except
for the ranger across the lake who looks after the iconic
Dick Proenneke cabin.
Oh, and the bear who was hanging out by the
outhouse . . .
After (reluctantly) leaving Twin Lakes, Jineen and
I drove up to Denali.
We hiked in the vast National Park, and visited
with the grizzly bears and moose.
After looking forward to this trip for so long,
it’s hard to believe it is now over.
I am still trying to get over the jetlag, and to
get caught up with all the things that invariably get
neglected while one is away on vacation.
I will write up a detailed trip report and post it
with photos when I can, but as things are busy it will
take quite some time.
In the meantime, the
autumn Event Season is here, and life at Windchase is
I have always had sort of a fantasy about living in
the wilderness, and now, at least for a few days, I get to
live the dream. It
is time for Jineen and I to go on our annual vacation, and
we are heading to Alaska.
We have a really exciting
trip planned; we will be spending five days at a cabin in
the wilderness, at Twin Lakes in Lake Clark National Park.
We will be hundreds of miles from the nearest
civilization; just us and the bears, caribou and
wolverines. We will get there by air taxi; a small float
plane which lands on the lake will drop us off, and pick
us up again five days later.
My brother George will be joining us for this part
of the trip; we are depending on him to catch the fish for
Once we leave Twin Lakes
Jineen and I will have another 5 days to explore; we plan
to work our way up to Denali National Park for some hiking
in this magnificent trackless wilderness.
I can hardly wait.
We have been having the most glorious summer.
There was one very hot week in mid-July, and ever
since it has been cooler than normal for the time of year,
and plenty of rain. The
pastures have never been so lush in August, and the lake
is staying cool and clear, great for swimming in the
Hour each evening is a delight, sitting on the patio and
having a drink with family or friends.
We are almost always joined by deer, Canadian
geese, ducks and hummingbirds, not to mention the dogs and
cats. The view
from my patio is divine.
Happy Hour on
July 28, 2013
Check out the new
Gallery of photos of Windchase; go to the Windchase
Photos page, or click directly to the Windchase
July 27, 2013
little guy was hiding in the hydrangea bush beside the
tack room door!
Ever since reading Misty of Chincoteague as a kid,
I always wanted to go visit those barrier islands off the
coast of Virginia. I
finally got the chance last week to go see the wild ponies
of Assateague, long vivid in my imagination through the
words of Marguerite Henry.
Together with my niece Stacy and her daughter
little Phyllis, who just celebrated her eighth birthday,
we went on a road trip to visit the ponies.
The town of Chincoteague still seems as quaint and
charming today as it must have been in the 1950s when
Misty lived there. Stacy
had booked us a room in the charming Seashell Inn, and
after checking in we set out to explore the islands.
Driving across to Assateague, designated a National
Seashore park, it was not long before we found the ponies
- a small herd of them were grazing not too far from the
road. In the evening we went to the Chincoteague
Pony Show, which was a delightfully cheesy performance of
native ponies being ridden and performing tricks.
In the morning we rented bicycles and set off for
talk about things being ‘as easy as riding a bike,’
and they claim ‘you never forget how,’ but for those
of us who grew up riding ponies instead of bicycles, I am
here to tell you those things are dangerous.
Riding horses is much easier and safer.)
We followed the paved bike paths through the
wetlands, admiring the variety of waterfowl and seabirds.
We were pleasantly surprised at how un-crowded it
was everywhere we went, though the cloudy sky and misting
rain may have had something to do with that - by the time
we got to the ocean serious storm clouds were rolling in.
Parking the bikes, we walked along the nearly
deserted beach, bathing our feet in the icy surf – the
water was much colder than I had expected!
Before long the dark clouds opened up, and a
pelting rain started falling.
Back on our bikes, we peddled like mad through the
storm, soon soaking wet and laughing like fools.
Returning to Chincoteague, a bowl of excellent
seafood chowder warmed us up, and when the rain let up we
returned to the beach by car.
We walked along the beach again, declining to swim
because of the chilly water, but enjoying the wild wet
clouds and mist gave the shoreline a surreal quality, and
we watched as terns and pelicans flew along above the
constructed elaborate sand castles, and surf fisherman
showed us their catch.
Heading back, we checked in on the wild pony herd
again, but they had moved off further from the road.
The highlight of the trip was our sunset cruise
with Captain Dan’s boat tours. Our boat was actually
operated by Captain Dan’s father, Captain Ray.
We had chosen this company because it was small and
took only six passengers at a time, but in fact because of
the weather we were the only guests.
Our timing was good; as we set off the skies
cleared, and we had a lovely private three hour tour.
Our route took us all the way around Chincoteague
and along Assateague’s shoreline. We
saw four separate groups of wild ponies, getting quite
close to one of the small herds.
We passed a trio of bald eagles in a tree, and
Captain Ray told us the history of the island as he gave
us a tour of the oyster and clam beds. He
showed us where the ponies swim across the channel during
the famous Pony Penning. The
evening was topped off with a spectacular sunset; really
the boat tour could not have been nicer.
We finished off with Happy Hour in our room, dining
on cheese and salami on crackers.
The next morning we repeated our bicycle ride, in slightly
drier weather this time. After checking in on the
ponies, we again ending up on the nearly deserted beach.
walking along the surf enjoying the solitude, I realized
that one doesn’t get too many chances to swim in the
Atlantic, and despite the cold water temperature I would
be disappointed if I didn’t go in.
So throwing caution to the wind I waded out deeper
and dived into the waves.
Stacy and Phyllis joined me, and we had a glorious,
if brief, time playing in the rough surf.
Then after some lunch and a bit of checking out the
shops, we left the islands and headed back to Windchase.
July is a good time to take a break from the
competition season and spend time with friends and family.
My niece Stacy and her daughter Phyllis, who just
turned eight, are spending a month with us here at
Windchase this summer, as is my brother Buddy, who is
recovering from knee surgery.
We have been having a lovely time, with swimming in
the lake, happy hour on the patio at sunset, and riding,
lots of riding. Little
Phyllis is true to her name (Phyllis is the feminine
version of Phillip, which means Friend of Horses), and has
been spending plenty of time in the saddle, as this video
link of Phyllis
and Lilly shows.