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.
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,
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
My favorite time of
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 ~
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
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!
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.
Thoroughbred (TB) is known for its speed, endurance,
athleticism and heart.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
let’s save the Irish Horse! What can we do?
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
what did we buy, you might ask? Well, I don’t want to
jinx anything, so Watch This Space. More info coming
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
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
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
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.
January 25, 2016
Don't try this at home, boys and girls!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
couldn’t ask for a better crew to go through a blizzard
with! Stay tuned to see how it all turns out.
Happy New Year!
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.
people were crazy enough to go in twice!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
A few of the things I am thankful for:
friends and close family.
a great staff that takes super care of the horses and
keeps Windchase running smoothly.
lucky enough to have a job where I get to spend my
days doing what I love.
a nice horse on a quiet hack through the fields and
way the reflection on the lake looks on a still
morning with the mist rising up.
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.
also the tame ones! Dogs, cats and horses.
for keeping Windchase looking the best ever.
of course don’t forget, the brave men and women in
the military who keep us safe.
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!
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.
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.
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