Invest in the Journey, not the Destination.

(Archive: June 16, 2016 - December 30, 2016)
Notes from Phyllis


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 Why stroll through life when you can gallop!

December 30, 2016
     The Windchase Winter Jumping Clinics are here again, starting Sunday January 8. Fun and informal, with groups appropriate for all levels. We will be holding the clinics most every Sunday through the winter. For the schedule and more info, click here.  Email me to get on the mailing list.  

Come Jumping!


December 24, 2016
     Merry Christma
s, from Windchase.


December 11, 2016
Winter is upon us and Christmas is almost here, can you believe it? Time has wings. 
     The upper level horses have had their shoes pulled and have been on vacation the last month, while we concentrate on the youngsters. It is nice to have a bit of a break from competitions; as much as we love going Eventing every weekend during the season, it is nice to have a bit of quiet time in the winter. Donít get me wrong, we are still plenty busy, but we donít have to go at quite the hectic pace of competition season. 
A lot of the horses we had available have been sold, so we have been out shopping; a number of really nice youngsters are arriving to start their training program at Windchase. Look for them soon on the Horses for Sale page. And if you have a horse you need to sell contact us; we have an excellent Consignment Program.

     I have spent the last four days at the USEA Convention in Fort Lauderdale. It was good to see many Eventing friends, attend some educational seminars, and hear William Fox-Pittís excellent talk. Congratulations are in order for Tori Miller, who trained at Windchase for three years, for winning the USEA high point Adult Amateur Training level rider of the year.
     I think everyone back home at the farm has been a little envious since the weather in Virginia turned bitter cold, but honestly, I didnít get much chance to enjoy the Florida weather - I spent the whole three days in the hotel in meetings, and as I write this Iím now stuck in the airport with delayed flights. I am more than ready to get back to the barn and the horses, cold or no cold!     


November 24, 2016

     Each day is a gift, and I am thankful for every one. 

     I am thankful that I live here at Windchase, one of the most special places I have ever been. I am so blessed to be able to spend my days doing what I love, working with horses, and that my passion is also my livelihood. I am lucky to have been able to surround myself with an excellent group of people Ė friends, colleagues, barn staff and students Ė I am grateful for every one of them.  

     I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Windchase farm staff:

     Jineen Reed, stable manager and trainer, has been a huge part in developing Windchase in to what it is today. Cindy Anderson-Blank has stepped in to the role of head rider, competitor and trainer, as well as being an integral part of the farm and business. Rachel Nymeyer has an important role riding, training, and overseeing the running of the daily routine. Jose Bautista is farm manager extraordinaire; he keeps Windchase looking the best it ever has, and is constantly making improvements. And the working students, Travis Smith, Shelby Crowley, Nica Kujawa, Lizzie Huntley and Julia Kaiser-Thom, do a superb job doing all of the many things that go into taking top quality care of the horses. There are also a myriad of friends and boarders who chip in, step up, and help out whenever needed. There help and friendship are an invaluable asset.

      Many thanks to each and every one of you for being an important part of Team Windchase!


November 23, 2016

     We celebrated Than
ksgiving this week with the Windchase Cross-Country Jumping Derby for our students and boarders, run like an old-fashioned Hunter Pace Event, with the winner determined by who was closest to optimum time. 
Following the course, the riders jumped out of the sand ring and galloped all over the farm, crossing through seven different fields and several sections of woods. Our farmhand Jose had built a dozen new fences, and the course was over 4600 meters long with 33 jumping efforts Ė approximately the length of a CCI**!  Of course the speed was much slower, and by the time we factored in a number of tight turns and accuracy questions, a gate to open and close, and a mandatory walk portion through the woods to give the horses a break, the Optimum Time was a bit over 16 minutes.

     Everyone rode well, no penalties needed to be given for dangerous riding, and great fun was had by all.  


November 3, 2016

     I first saw the land that is now Windchase thirty years ago and fell in love with it at first sight, and my feelings for this amazing place have not changed since. Building and developing this farm (with the help of my mother Grace) has been my best work and the fulfillment of my dreams. As anyone who has spent time here knows, there is something special about this spot on the earth. We call it Windchase Magic.

     So now I am happy to announce that Windchase has been put into a Conservation Easement, so it will be protected forever. Our 267acres of rolling hills and forests at the foot of the Blue Ridge exemplifies the beauty of the Virginia countryside. Horses are happy here (and people too), and this land is a haven for wildlife. Under the protection of the Old Dominion Land Conservancy, now we can be sure that it will stay that way.


November 1, 2016
     The Virginia Horse Trials in Lexington, VA is always one of my favorite Events of the season, and last weekend we had an especially good time there. For starters, the weather was perfect, with sunny skies and the autumn leaves at their peak. The Virginia Horse Park is in a beautiful location, and the 360 degree mountain views from the top of the hill on the cross-country course always seem like enough to make the trip worthwhile.

Cindy and Windchase Phoenix Star

      Cindy Anderson-Blank had a super weekend, placing 8th with Two Tickets in the CCI**, and also riding Windchase Phoenix Star to 12th place in a competitive field in the CIC**. Cindy rode beautifully, both horses put in really good clear XC rounds, and it was a great way for them to end the season.

Heidi Roberson riding Redshift

      It was also a good weekend for other Windchase students. Tara Swersie won the Novice Rider division on Chatworth. Heidi Robertson placed first in the Training Rider on Redshift, and Tori Miller was 2nd in that division. And in the Adult Team Challenge, Heidi and Tori, along with Pedro Gutierrez, placed 2nd even though they were a three-man team. Go Team Windchase!


October 23, 2016
     Sorry I have not updated this sooner, but we have been going flat out and I just havenít found the time until now. So I will play catch-up and recap the last month or so of the event season.
We had a great time at Morven Park the first week in October. Cindy rode Windchase Phoenix Star to 6th place in a large competitive field in the CIC**, with a good dressage test and double clear XC and SJ, despite the rain and wet footing. She also had a good go with a clear XC on her own Two Tickets in the two-star, and finished 5th in the Novice with Windchase Ballinvella, one of our new Irish imports.
     The Windchase horses all went well at Maryland Horse Trials. The highlights included Rachel finishing 8th in the Open Intermediate with Starstruck, Tori Miller winning the Training with Like Magic, and Cindy placing 2nd with Windchase Ballinvella, who was moving up to his first Training event. Also Lizzie Huntley came in 6th in the Training with her Added Horsepower and Domenica Kujawa was 7th with Nicaís Last Laugh. Morgan McGrath placed 4th with her new mare Mizz Indy Cat.
     This week at Waredaca Windchase Ballinvella went great for Cindy, again placing 2nd in the Training Horse division.  

Cindy and Windchase Ballinvella

     I had the pleasure of judging the three-year-olds in the Future Event Horse east coast Championships at Loch Moy, along with Robin Walker. It was really fun to see so many 3 year olds bred for Eventing, and to compare them to those we saw at the west coast Championships several weeks ago. There were several I wouldnít have minded taking home with me!
Next it was time to put on my Selectorís hat, and off to Fair Hill to watch the CCI***.  We had absolutely stunning weather for the weekend, and it was a pleasure to watch some of the best horses and riders in the country take on Derek DiGraziaís challenging XC course. 

     We are enjoying the autumn weather, and watching the trees turn to their fall colors. Riding around this beautiful farm is always a privilege and a delight. Schooling the competition horses, teaching our students, and training the up-and-coming youngsters; who could ask for a more blissful life? 


September 26, 2016  

I have recently returned from the Twin Rivers Horse Trials in Paso Robles, California, where Robin Walker and I judged the Future Event Horse west coast Championships. It was a lot of fun to watch these yearlings, two-year-olds and three-year-olds that have been bred for Eventing, and the addition of the jumping chute this year for the three-year-olds makes for an exciting competition.
It was also really interesting to get a taste of California eventing. Although I prefer the rolling green fields and hills of Area II to the dry desert out west, it was quite impressive how they prepared the ground to make the footing suitable for cross-country.   

    Since I had never visited the area before, I decided to fly out to CA a day early and drive Highway 1 along the coast. I flew into San Francisco, rented a car, and headed south. My destination was Point Lobos, near Monterey. Walking the trail along the shore I watched the waves crashing on the rocks below. Gulls and pelicans rode the wind, and a sound like the baying of hounds could be heard from the sea lions on a granite island just offshore.

     But best of all was the sea otters! It was amazing to see them as they floated and dove in the turbulent waters. I watched one in a little bay for a long while as he hunted among the kelp. He would disappear under the water for several minutes, to reappear on the surface with a shellfish or some other delicacy. He would float on his back and rap a crab or something against his chest to break it open, then do a barrel roll in the water to wash himself off before partaking of supper.

     Heading south, I spent a day exploring the Big Sur area, stopping often to hike in along the way. I walked beside rugged coastline cliffs and in serene redwood forests. I hiked to see a waterfall from a high overlook, and searched along a deserted beach for pieces of jade washed up by the surf.  It was a beautiful and serene day, and I could feel tension I didnít even know I had been feeling just melting away.

     In the evening I stopped by the elephant seal reserve. It was incredible! A viewing path wound along just above the beach, where you could watch literally hundreds of these huge creatures, lying on the beach sleeping. They are huge; the males can be 16 feet long and weigh up to 5000 pounds! They make deep rumbling sounds not unlike the elephants they are named after, and also have somewhat protuberant noses. Lined up on the beach sleeping, they looked like huge fat sausages.

     Occasionally another seal would arrive, riding in on the surf and making its way across the beach; they are extremely agile in the water but on land they appear ponderously awkward. From time to time some of them would move laboriously from one spot to another, using their flippers to kick sand over there selves. Often several large males would seem to fight, stretching themselves up on their front flippers to clash with each other. The ranger said they were just mock fighting, but during breeding season the arguments become much more violent. Even so, watching some five tons of cumulative elephant seal go head to head was a sight to behold.


September 11, 2016
     Fifteen years ago, on a beautiful crisp clear September morning much like this one, I was schooling a horse in the outdoor arena when one of the barn staff came running out and told us about the news that was unfolding. We put away the horses and were glued to the TV, watching in horror as the Trade Centers collapsed and the Pentagon burned. Never forget.

      On the brighter side, our autumn event season is under way.  We started off on a good note last weekend at the Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials. I was delighted to see the Event did a great job of aerating the ground, so despite the lack of rain the footing on XC was good. 
     Rachel Nymeyer was the star of the weekend, placing 2nd in the Open Intermediate with Leslie Erdmanís Starstruck, a Windchase homebred. Cindy also had great XC runs in the OI on Windchase Phoenix Star and Two Tickets, preparing for the CIC** at Plantation next week. 

Rachel and Starstruck, 2nd in the OI

     In the Preliminary. Pedro Gutierrez from Mexico had a super run on his lovely horse Racques Biats (a.k.a. Frenchie). Jean Bowman was 2nd in the Training with her thoroughbred Wahoo Legal, and Tori Miller was 7th with both Nicola Haslingís Reiver and her own Like Magic.
     At Novice level, Cindy won with our recent Irish import Windchase Ballinvella, finishing on her dressage score of 23. Tara Swersie was 5th with Chatsworth. Rachel had a good go with Sharon Blankís Ringo Star as he prepares to move up, and Pedro had a nice round with Galerna Bentley Mail, his young stallion by Jaguar Mail. Karen Eichert was 5th with Trubull in the BN. I hope I havenít forgotten anyone!

Starbright and Phyllis, at Foxhall in 2000.

     Sadly, we had to say goodbye to an old friend recently, Starbright.  He was one of the first horses I ever bought in Ireland, and he became one of my most successful and favorite Eventers. He gave wings to my dreams. Sadly, at 26 age finally caught up with him. He was a good friend and will be missed.



August 23, 2016

     Well, August has been a month of parties, for sure. On the 6th we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Windchase. Many friends, both old and new, came to join the fun, including some that we havenít seen for a very long time. It is humbling to realize how many lives we have touched, how many people we have gotten to know along this journey. Windchase Magic!  
The following weekend I hosted a Dawson Family Reunion. Most of the family was able to come, and it was so great to see everyone. The farm is such a wonderful family gathering place, and it was particularly fun to watch the youngest generation of cousins playing together.  

     My nephew Nick brought his drone along, and we had a lot of fun getting some aerial footage of the farm. So compliments of Nick, I have compiled a virtual drone tour of Windchase!


August 5, 2016
     The opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Rio are tonight, and I look forward to watching the competitions over the next two weeks. The Olympics are special, and watching them always gives me a thrill of excitement, nostalgia and remembrance.

     Riding in the Olympic Games in Seoul Korea in 1988 has been one of the highlights of my life, and finishing 10th, as the highest placed American Eventer, was one of my greatest achievements. It was an exciting time in my life, and part of me wishes I could go back to those days.

     But now I am invested in the Olympics in a different capacity; as a member of the Selection Committee. It has been exciting to work with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in selecting the Eventing team. I think we have picked the best riders and horses to form the strongest possible team, and I think they can be competitive. Go Phillip, Boyd, Lauren and Clark Ė we will be cheering you on!


July 23, 2016

     Time flies by like the wind; I canít believe it is almost the end of June already. 
     We finished up the spring Event season at the CIC** at the Maryland Horse Trials; the horses went great in dressage and show jumping, but unfortunately the ground was unsuitably hard so we chose not to run them cross-country. The upper level horses will keep schooling, but have a break from competition now until September. During the summer we will focus on bringing along the greener ones and starting the 3-year-olds. Plenty to keep us busy!

     I never get tired of life on the farm, however sometimes it is fun to go do something totally different. I had that opportunity last weekend. I joined my nephew Nick for a private tour of the West Wing of the White House. We got to see such places as the Cabinet Room, the Roosevelt Room, the Rose Garden and the Press Briefing Room. The halls were lined with fabulous photographs of the president and his family, both formal shots with world leaders and celebrities, and candid family moments. But the highlight for me was getting the chance to peek into the Oval Office. Pretty amazing.

Nick takes a selfie with the Presidential Seal

     After the tour, I went with George and Rosemary (my brother and his wife) and Nick to the Nationals baseball game. The Nats were down one run for most of the game, and it came down to the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and two strikes, and literally on what would have been the last pitch of the game the batter hit a home run. Exciting stuff! This tied the score, calling for extra innings. A lot of extra innings. They played 18 innings before the game was over, making it the longest game in Nats history. (Unfortunately after all that, they lost.) All in all, a really fun day Ė much thanks to George, Rosemary and Nick for taking me along.


June 27, 2016
     Save the date - August 6!
     This summer is the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Windchase. We are going to celebrate this with a party, on Saturday, August 6. We are inviting all current and former clients, students, boarders and friends of Windchase to come join us. From 2:00 p.m. until whenever! It will be a potluck, so bring food. RSVPs are appreciated. We hope you can make it!
     Click Here for more information.


June 25, 2016

Cindy and Windchase Phoenix Star

     Several Windchase homebreds put in a great showing in the Intermediate division at the Seneca Valley Horse Trials last weekend. Cindy continued her successful season with Windchase Phoenix Star, placing 5th. And congratulations to Rachel Nymeyer, who had a great go in her Intermediate debut, jumping clear XC riding Leslie Erdmanís Starstruck.  

Rachel Nymeyer and Starstruck in the Intermediate


June 16, 2016
     Windchase had a good weekend at Middleburg Horse Trials. Victoria Miller won her division of Training Horse with Like Magic, and placed 6th with Nicola Haslingís Reiver; both of these excellent horses are OTTBs. Cindy Anderson-Blank was 7th in the Training with Pedro Gutierrezís homebred Cuevano de la Galerna; this talented youngster is offered for sale.

Tori Miller and Like Magic

     Cindy also won the Novice with our young homebred Irish Sport Horse, Windchase Starry Skies, and had a great outing with recent Irish import Windchase Ballinvella, who jumped double clear XC and SJ, showing fabulous potential even though he is quite green. Rachel Nymeyer placed 4th with Sharon Blankís Ringo Star, and Jean Bowman was 3rd in the Open Novice with her own Wahoo Legal. Itís fun when all the horses go so well!†

Short Hill Mountain will stay beautiful!

     Residents of western Loudoun County have reason to celebrate this week; AT&T has withdrawn its application to build a huge transmission station on the top of Short Hill Mountain. The proposed building would have been visible for many miles in all directions and spoiled our beautiful views of the mountains. Thank you, AT&T, for doing the right thing and discontinuing this project in the face of citizensí opposition. 


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