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.
December 24, 2016
Winter is upon us and
Christmas is almost here, can you believe it? Time has
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
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.
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
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
like to take this opportunity to thank the Windchase farm
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
Many thanks to each and every
one of you for being an important part of Team Windchase!
We celebrated Thanksgiving 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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
week at Waredaca Windchase Ballinvella went great for
Cindy, again placing 2nd in the Training Horse
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
flies by like the wind; I canít believe it is almost the
end of June already.
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
Nick takes a selfie with the Presidential Seal
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
- August 6!
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!
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
Rachel Nymeyer and Starstruck in the Intermediate
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
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!
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