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(Archive: July 9, 2013 - November 9, 2013)
Notes from Phyllis


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Windchase Quotes:
There's no such word as can't.
~ Grace Dawson ~

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 points.  Just 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 colors.

     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 whelping box!


October 31, 2013
     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.

Cindy and 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 season.

Aspen and Gatlin

     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!


October 18, 2013
     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 humans.  There 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.


October 15, 2013
     After 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

     Cindy 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.    
Ballygrace 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.


October 1, 2013
     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 great. 

Phoenix Star and Cindy at Middleburg

     Phoenix 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.
     The 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. 

Aquilla and Cindy

     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 future.
     I 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 National Park.


September 5, 2013
     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 this place.

     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 good.


August 19, 2013
     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 dinner.  
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.


August 15, 2013

     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 afternoons.  Happy 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 the patio.


July 28, 2013

     Check out the new Gallery of photos of Windchase; go to the Windchase Photos page, or click directly to the Windchase Gallery.


July 27, 2013

     This little guy was hiding in the hydrangea bush beside the tack room door!


July 19, 2013
     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 ponie
s 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 Assateague.  (People 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 afternoon.  The clouds and mist gave the shoreline a surreal quality, and we watched as terns and pelicans flew along above the surf.  Families 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. After 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 9, 2013
     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.


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