Invest in the Journey, not the Destination.

WINDCHASE NEWS
(Archive: November 3, 2015 - May 30, 2016)
      
Notes from Phyllis

          
 
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Canada 2010

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and Jineen's trip 
to
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.

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Every journey has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware.
                                                     




May 30, 2016
     We had a nice time with the youngsters at the excellent Loch Moy Starter Trials yesterday; it is always such a great venue to get the greener horses and riders out for some experience. Windchase had seven horses there, and they all went well.
     Cindy won the Novice with Windchase Starry Skies, finishing on their dressage score of 23.  She moved Pedro Gutierrez’s Cuevano de la Galerna (a.k.a. Prince) successfully up to Training level, and also had a great go in the BN with our new Irish boy, Windchase Ballinvella. Presence and Rachel had a great run in the BN, finishing 3rd.


Windchase Starry Skies and Cindy

     I am holding XC clinics here at Windchase on June 9 and June 15; if you are interested in participating sign up on the Event Clinics website.
     The link for the June 9 clinic is:  www.eventclinics.com/a/a_SZXw239kuNSaul7P7L6w
     The link for the June 15 clinic is: https://www.eventclinics.com/a/z_MpPiSIoEerySd-MivzHw

Cheers, 
Phyllis



May 28, 2016
     Wow, the time flies by like the wind! Sorry I haven’t updated sooner; it has been a busy month. But now after three straight weeks of rain, the sun is finally shining and life is good!
     Cindy Anderson-Blank did a great job riding our Irish homebred, Windchase Phoenix Star, in the CIC** at Jersey Fresh. It was one of the biggest XC courses either of them have ever done, and they were competitive with a lovely clear round. I was very proud of them both.


Cindy taking Windchase Ballinvella around his first Event.

     The younger horses are also coming on really well. I am particularly excited about the three new horses I got in Ireland in March. They are progressing well in their training and showing excellent potential. One of them, Windchase Ballinvella, did his first event at Loch Moy last week and was super. It won’t be too long before you see the new Irish boys listed on the Horses for Sale page. 

Cheers, 
Phyllis



May 9, 2016
     Spring has been going by in a whirlwind, and things have been crazy busy. But I have to admit, that is how I like it best!
     Last week I was down at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, watching many of the best horses and riders in the world contest the Rolex CCI****.  Having ridden at Rolex every year from 1979 through 2001, it was very different being there as a member of the Olympic Selection Committee. The XC course was fabulous; what a great job course designer Derek DiGrazia did. It rode great, and though there were a fair few problems, they were spread out around the course, and the best riders and horses made it look easy. Hopefully our USA riders will do us proud at the Olympics in Rio this summer.

     Meanwhile, Cindy and crew were competing at the Loudoun Horse Trials.  Windchase Phoenix Star went great; Cindy rode him to 3rd place in the Intermediate.  She also won the Novice Horse division Windchase Starry Skies. Cindy placed 2nd with Colono de la Galerna and 4th with Cuevano de la Galerna in the Novice; see these two lovely Mexican-bred Eventers on our Horses for Sale page. 
     Rachel Nymeyer won the Preliminary Rider division with Lesley Erdman’s lovely Irish Sport Horse Starstruck; it is great to watch what a super partnership these two have formed. And Tori Miller placed 3rd in the Training with Nicola Hasling’s lovely Thoroughbred, Reiver. A good weekend all around.
     And let’s all give a round of applause to Michael Jung from Germany for winning Eventing’s Grand Slam; he has made history as the second rider ever to win the four-stars at Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton consecutively. What an honor to watch this legendary rider in action!  

Cheers, 
Phyllis




April 11, 2016
    
My favorite time of year! 

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs 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.

~ Robert Frost ~

Cheers,
Phyllis 



April 4, 2016
     The new Irish horses are here! 
     I recently traveled to Ireland and bought 3 lovely young traditionally-bred Irish Sport Horses, two four-year-olds and a five-year-old. I am really looking forward to getting them going and getting to know them. It will be a fun adventure!


One of the new arrivals from Ireland.

      We went to our first recognized Horse Trial of the season at Morven Park this past weekend, and all of the Windchase horses and riders made a good showing.  Cindy Anderson-Blank rode Windchase Phoenix Star and her own Two Tickets to 2nd and 3rd place respectively in the Intermediate-Prelim division, and place 2nd with the young up-and-coming Windchase Starry Skies in his first Novice. With this string of top class horses she should have an exciting season.


Cindy and Two Tickets

     Rachel Nymeyer had a good run with Starstruck in the Preliminary, and congratulations to Tori Miller, who decisively won the Open Novice with Nicola Hasling’s nice thoroughbred, Reiver. Jean Bowman was also 3rd in the BN with Wahoo Legal. Windchase working students Penelope Haguette, Peggy O’Neil and Morgan McGrath all had good rides with clear XC rounds as well. A good start to the season!

Cheers, 
Phyllis




March 25, 2016  

Save the Irish Horse!


The Irish Draught Horse (ID) has been bred for centuries to run, jump, and go across the countryside. They are hardy enough to go all day through the toughest foxhunting country in the world, and gentle enough for a child to ride. They are valued for their jumping ability, soundness, and versatility.  

The Thoroughbred (TB) is known for its speed, endurance, athleticism and heart.  

The Irish Sport Horse (ISH) is a cross between Irish Draughts and Thoroughbreds, embodying the best of both breeds. Those that are half TB and half ID tend to be quiet all-rounders suitable for the amateur to foxhunt and Event at the lower and mid levels. The ISH that is 3/4 to 7/8 TB is generally a good prospect for the highest levels of Eventing and Show Jumping. They tend to be excellent jumpers and lovely loose movers, with plenty of gallop and stamina. They are sought after by top Event Riders around the world.  


Brandenburg's Windstar, half ID and half TB

I recently spent a week in Ireland shopping for young event prospects, and was shocked to find that the traditionally-bred Irish Sport Horse is seriously endangered. Due to the infusion of European warmbloods into the breeding programs, the ISH breed is being diluted as more of the ID and ISH mares are being crossed with warmbloods rather than TBs; therefore fewer and fewer of the true traditional Irish Sport Horses are being produced. We are on the verge of losing these valued bloodlines forever. 

It appears that many breeders and sales yards are choosing short-term economic gains over heritage, which is very disheartening. Irish horses take a bit longer to develop than most other breeds, and it seems that many buyers don’t understand this. They are attracted to the flashy movement and jump that many warmbloods show as 2 and 3 year olds, and are choosing these crosses rather than waiting for the Irish Sport Horses to mature and show their talent. 

As a result, the Irish breeders, instead of sending their good ID and ID/TB mares to quality thoroughbred stallions as in the past, are responding to the market by crossing their mares with continental warmblood stallions (or ‘foreign horses’ as the Irish call them), hoping for quicker sales of their youngstock. These Irish Draught/Warmblood crosses may show more toe-flicking flash as youngsters, but they often lack the gallop, stamina and heart needed for the highest levels of Eventing. The characteristics that give the warmblood that big trot with the long stride and slow tempo do not necessarily help him on the cross-country course or in the hunt field.  

If the sires are approved by the Irish studbook, one can breed a warmblood mare to a warmblood stallion, and as long as the foal is born in Ireland it can be fully registered as an Irish Sport Horse and receive a green registration book. The average buyer, seeing the horse is registered, doesn’t know they are not truly getting an Irish Sport Horse! This might be fine for those producing Show Jumpers and Dressage horses, but for us Eventers it is a very negative trend. As fewer and fewer of the Traditional Irish Sport Horses are bred, the old excellent bloodlines are going by the wayside, and once they are gone, they are gone forever.  

I am not knocking the warmblood breeds; they are wonderful horses. They excel in the Dressage and Jumper worlds, and there are many who are successful in the Eventing world as well. Nor am I trying to discourage the breeding of warmbloods in Ireland, but they should be registered with their own breed registries rather than as Irish Sport Horses. I do not go to Ireland to buy warmbloods; I go there to buy traditionally-bred Irish Sport Horses. I am terribly afraid that within five years these will be scarce indeed, and perhaps nonexistent in ten; this will be a tragic loss to Ireland and horsemen everywhere.  


Windchase Phoenix Star, 1/4 ID and 3/4 TB

The traditionally-bred Irish Sport Horse, those with ID bloodlines combined with at least three-quarters TB blood, excels in the Eventing world - but they are getting harder and harder to find. On my recent shopping trip, I went to 17 different yards, spread out all over southern and central Ireland. I looked at a total of 67 horses for sale, and of those only 12 of them were traditionally Irish-bred, with only ID and TB blood. The rest were warmblood crosses. This trend has been going on for a while, but I was dismayed to see how much it had increased in the four years since I had last been to Ireland. Only 18.5% of the horses we were shown were truly ‘Irish,’ and that was going to yards of breeders and trainers who had primarily shown traditional Irish horses in the past.  

I feel it is short-sighted for the Irish Horse Board to allow the ISH registry to become diluted with other breeds and to risk losing the old authentic bloodlines. People from all over the world come to Ireland to shop for Irish Sport Horses because they have distinctive qualities and characteristics that no other breed shares. If the ISH becomes an amalgamation of continental warmbloods and loses the characteristics that make the breed unique, Ireland will cease being a leading world marketplace for horses - buyers looking strictly for warmbloods will be more likely to go to countries like Germany, France and Holland.  

So let’s save the Irish Horse! What can we do?  

Buyers - if you are buying an ISH check on his breeding. Talk to his breeder or look at his registration book and find out who his ancestors are. Make sure his bloodlines are compatible with what you want in a horse. Be aware that a horse can be partially or all warmblood and still registered as an ISH, and be sure to find out what percentage of ID and TB blood the horse you are considering buying has. If there is demand for more traditionally bred Irish Sport Horses then the breeders will produce them. When searching for horses, let the breeders and dealers know that you are interested in the classic bloodlines and the traditional Irish horse.   

Riders and Trainers – recognize that the ISH matures slowly and give them the time to develop properly. Train them carefully and correctly, don’t take shortcuts, and give them every chance to reach their top potential.

Irish Horse Board and Irish Draught Horse Society – consider a separate registry for the warmbloods and warmblood crosses, rather than letting them be registered as Irish Sport Horses. Create financial incentives for breeders to produce traditionally-bred Irish horses.

Breeders - preserve those bloodlines! Keep producing those traditional Irish Sport Horses with a combination of ID and TB blood. Breeding often does not offer much in the way of financial gain, but then that’s not what you got into it for in the first place, is it? The satisfaction of producing a quality horse is its own reward, and knowing you are helping to protect the breed will make it all the more worthwhile. Let’s be sure that we have traditional Irish horses to ride and enjoy for the future.

Cheers, 
Phyllis




March 13, 2016
     Glorious Spring is here! The grass is turning green, the crocuses and daffodils are blooming, and best of all we have been getting to go cross-country schooling. This has been (so far, knock on wood) one of the nicest Marches we have had in quite a few years, and we are making the best of it.
     But speaking of green grass, Jineen and I recently returned from The Emerald Isle. We spent a week in Ireland shopping for horses. And yes, we did find time to check out a few castle and abbey ruins along the way.


Hore Abbey, Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland

     We had a grand time looking at horses in Ireland. It was wonderful to spend time with some old friends that we have dealt with in the past, and great also to make some new acquaintances. The horse world is small and we all have a lot in common, starting with a love of good horses, and the people you meet are an important part of the journey.
     And what did we buy, you might ask? Well, I don’t want to jinx anything, so Watch This Space. More info coming soon. 

Cheers, 
Phyllis



February 26, 2016
     Winter is nearing its end, and we are waiting for Spring. The Event Season is just around the corner and we are training hard getting all the horses and riders ready. After all the snow and ice, now we are going through the mud phase, so most of our work has still been in the indoor arena – but the weather seems to be taking a turn for the better and it is time to get out and start galloping. Not only that, but I am heading off to Ireland next week for a bit of horse shopping! Watch this space.  


Waiting for Spring

Cheers, 
Phyllis




February 9, 2016
     Our winter Windchase Jumping clinics with Phyllis are going strong. We are jumping in the indoor on Sundays (though some weekends will change to Saturdays during March), and hope to have some outdoor dates in the spring, including Cross-country when footing allows.  Go here for more information
     To subscribe to get notified about upcoming clinics and activities at Windchase, go here:  http://info.eventclinics.com/windchase.
     To sign up for a clinic, go to the Event Clinics website: http://www.eventclinics.com/.
     For more information or questions, email me at Pwindchase@aol.com
     I look forward to Jumping with you!

Cheers,
Phyllis



February 3, 2016
     At long last, I have finished my report from my wonderful trip to Africa last summer, and posted it, with photos. Along with friends and family, I had a super adventure in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Read all about my trip to Africa 2015 at this link.

Cheers, 
Phyllis




January 25, 2016
     Don't try this at home, boys and girls!

Cheers, 
Phyllis




January 25, 2016
     Well, we are still here. Just barely it seemed at times, but now the worst seems to be over. The blizzard dropped 39 inches of snow on us, and it drifted to over five feet on the indoor arena barn roof. Of course barns in this area are not built to withstand that amount of snow load, so it had to be shoveled off to prevent the barn collapsing. 


Sunday afternoon

     We have moved, literally, over 250 tons of snow off the arena barn roof in the last two days to make it safe. The piles of snow that got shoveled off are higher than the eves of the roof.  


Saturday afternoon

     Sometimes there is nothing like going through a crisis to pull people together, and I have a terrific staff and group of friends who were outstanding. Much thanks to Anne Stazecki, Jean and Ian Bowman, Tara Swersie, John Devolites, Bruce Mountz, Gary Anderson-Blank, and Ryan for their excellent help. And of course, great thanks to our excellent staff; Jineen, Rachel, Cindy, Peggy, Penelope, Tori, and Jose (along with three of his friends). Without all of them we couldn't have done it!

Cheers, 
Phyllis



January 22, 2016
     Well, we have battened down the hatches and tucked in the horses, and are all prepared for the big storm. Started snowing here about one this afternoon, we have 6 or 8 inches on the ground now but it is just the beginning - they are predicting three feet or more of snow by the time the storm is done! Hoping we don’t have to shovel the roof of the indoor arena again; had to do that in 2010 and it was not fun. 
     The good news is I have a wonderful staff here at Windchase. Much thanks to stable manager Jineen Reed, trainer Cindy Anderson-Blank, assistant trainer Rachel Nymeyer, farm manager Jose Bautista, and working students Tori Miller, Penelope Haguette, and Peggy O’Neil, for the excellent work they do both in good weather and bad. Oh, and also to friend and neighbor Bruce Mountz, snowplow operator extraordinaire! Here’s hoping the snow doesn’t get too deep for his snowplow.
     I couldn’t ask for a better crew to go through a blizzard with! Stay tuned to see how it all turns out.

Cheers, 
Phyllis




January 1, 2016
     Happy New Year!


The annual Windchase New Year's Day Polar Dive!

     Windchase students celebrate the New Year with the 4th annual Polar Dive. The participants, led by Rachel Nymeyer, were Penelope Haguette, Peggy O’Neil, Morgan McGrath and Taylor Miller. 
     Some people were crazy enough to go in twice!

Cheers, 
Phyllis




December 15, 2015
     As much as I love life on the farm at Windchase, I also always enjoy the chance to see new places; I recently returned from a great trip to Costa Rica with my friends Mary and her daughter Emma. They are both avid birders so that was the main focus of the trip, and I love wildlife and nature in all forms. I won’t try to relate everything we saw and did (since I am still working on the detailed journal of last summer’s Africa trip!), but I will touch on a few of the highlights. 
     We visited the cloud forests of Monte Verde, high up in the mountains near the continental divide. Assisted by our birding guide Esteban, we saw hundreds of tropical bird species, including many incredibly beautiful ones. Among the most spectacular was a pair of quetzels; these large green and red birds that are quite rare, and we found them sitting in a tree right next to the parking lot - Esteban said it was the sighting of a lifetime.


Quetzel

     The cloud forests are fabulous, dense with huge trees covered with vines and symbiotic plants, an amazing ecosystem of vegetation that is home to a myriad of birds and other creatures. Scientists had found 150 different kinds of plants growing on just one tree! The moisture–laden air creates an almost constant mist, so you truly do feel like you are encased in a cloud. 
     We crossed high hanging bridges where we were up in the canopy of the trees, looking down at the treetops and the birds. We could hear the wind in the leaves, the rushing water in streams far below, and the songs of dozens of birds -it was almost mystical.
     We saw a coatimundi, a sleek raccoon-like creature that I found entrancing. We watched the leaf-cutting ants, with a long line of workers carrying pieces of leaf back to their anthill, and were fascinated to hear about their life cycles and colonies.


Coatimundi

     We stayed in a small house at the lovely Arco Iris lodge. The grounds were filled with citrus trees and tropical flowers. We ate oranges and grapefruits we picked straight off the tree. The fine mist in the air created rainbows even on clear sunshiny days. One afternoon a toucan perched in a tree right beside our cabin, his huge slightly comical-looking bill like something off of a fruit loops cereal box. 
     Among my favorite things were the hummingbird gardens. Feeders were hung, and a constant stream of hummingbirds came to feed. We saw eleven different types; I spent several happy hours trying to photograph them in flight. Esteban also took us on a night tour, where among other things we saw tarantulas, a green pit viper and several two-toed sloths.


Hummingbird 

     We went to the rain forest down closer to the coast, where we got to see a whole different variety of birds and animals. It was much hotter at the lower elevation, and humid. In addition to a fabulous array of birds such as motmots and trogons, we saw iguanas, an agouti, a poison dart frog, and a basalisk, also known as a Jesus Christ lizard for its habit of running across the surface of the water. There were white-faced monkeys in the trees, leaping from limb to limb.
     Crossing a bridge over a small river, we spotted a white-necked puff bird perched on a limb; this small bird is rare enough that even Esteban had not seen one before. Heading back later, as we came to the bridge we were surprised to see the bird still sitting in the same spot – we stopped and had a good look at him through Esteban’s spotting scope. Suddenly we heard a crack and a loud crashing noise as the large tree that the bird was perched on split apart, and a huge limb came crashing down on top of the bridge, not fifty feet from us. We realized that if we had not stopped to look at the bird again, we would have no doubt been standing on the bridge right where the tree fell. That puff bird may have saved our lives!


Scarlet Macaws

     Best of all were the magnificent scarlet macaws. Esteban took us to a grove of trees in the middle of a rice farm where we got to watch several of these spectacular huge red, blue and yellow parrots interact, calling out in raucous voices, flying from limb to limb, and even sitting on a branch kissing. On the way back to the lodge we stopped on a high bridge where crocodiles gathered below in hopes of the tourists dropping food over the side for them – it looked like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.

     On our last day we drove down to the town of Playa Grande on the Pacific coast, and stayed at Hotel de la Tortugas, right on the ocean. We took a long walk along the beach in the afternoon, stopping now and then for a swim; the water was warm but the surf was very strong so we didn’t go in very deep. We walked up to a rocky point, where there were thousands of tiny hermit crabs scurrying back and forth at the edge of the surf. Pelicans flew just above the surf, and a frigate bird wheeled overhead. Rounding the point, we found a beautiful curve of deserted beach, and we walked along it as the evening sky fill with color. Near a rocky island just offshore we watched a pelican diving for fish against the sunset. I stood in the surf, watching the red disc of the sun slip beneath a horizon of white-capped breakers. It was magic.  

Cheers, 
Phyllis




November 26, 2015

A few of the things I am thankful for:

  • Good friends and close family.

  • Windchase.

  • And a great staff that takes super care of the horses and keeps Windchase running smoothly.

  • Being lucky enough to have a job where I get to spend my days doing what I love.

  • Riding a nice horse on a quiet hack through the fields and woods.

  • The way the reflection on the lake looks on a still morning with the mist rising up.

  • All of the wild creatures at Windchase. The great blue heron that visits the lake, Canadian geese coming in for a water landing, and the herd of deer bounding across the galloping field.

  • And also the tame ones! Dogs, cats and horses.

  • Jose, for keeping Windchase looking the best ever.

  • And of course don’t forget, the brave men and women in the military who keep us safe.

Cheers,
Phyllis



November 9, 2015
     We ended the 2015 event season in good form on Sunday at the Loch Moy starter trials. Windchase had ten horses there, and they all went well.  Cindy won the novice on our 5 year old homebred Windchase Starry Skies, and placed 4th on Aries. She was 2nd in the Training division with Gunner.  Look for Aries and Gunner on the Horses for Sale page!


Windchase Starry Skies and Cindy at Loch Moy

     Morgan McGrath successfully moved up to Training on her Arabian Matara Fa Daalim, placing 2nd in the Junior division. She was also 2nd in Novice with Wahhab. Tori Miller was 4th in the Training with Like Magic, and Karen Eichert placed 4th in the Elementary with her new horse Trumbull.  
    
We are a little sorry the competition season is over – would like to have just one or two more event weekends! But now it is time to relax a little and then concentrate on schooling the horses for bigger and better things next year.

Cheers, 
Phyllis




November 3, 2015
     The Event season
is winding to a close, and we had a lot of fun at the Virginia Horse Trials last weekend. Cindy Anderson-Blank was 6th in the CIC** with Windchase Phoenix Star and 8th with Two Tickets; this capped off a good solid Intermediate season for these two talented young horses. And Rachel Nymeyer did her first CCI*with Leslie Erdman’s Starstruck, another Windchase homebred, and put in a great performance, jumping double clear XC and SJ.


Rachel and Starstruck jumping double clear at the Virginia Horse Trials CCI*

     We have three new talented young horses for sale; look for them on the Horses for Sale page.

Cheers, 
Phyllis




For past news from Phyllis and the crew at Windchase, go to the 
WINDCHASE NEWS ARCHIVES.