(Archive: March 17, 2003 - September 22, 2003)
Notes from Phyllis

Phyllis and Enniskerry Imp at Plantation Field.

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New!  Read about Phyllis and Jineen's latest visit to Ireland, July 2003!

September 22, 2003
     Well, we weathered the storm.   Isabel has come and gone.   We had some pretty strong winds Thursday night when the hurricane came through, up to around 70 miles per hour, but fortunately we sustained no really serious damage.   There are a lot of downed trees, broken fences and such, and a bit of roof missing from the indoor arena, but all the people and horses are fine, which is the important thing.   Of course we have been without power and therefore without water until yesterday, so much of the three days following the storm were taken up with carrying water for 70 horses!   Thank goodness for our neighbors and good friends Bruce and Nancy Mountz, who have a generator and kindly let us use their water.
     Something like this makes us appreciate the things we normally take for granted.   Hot coffee, toilets that flush, light to read by or clean stalls by, and refrigerators that keep the food from spoiling, just to name a few.   We just got the power back on yesterday, and we are very thankful to have contact with the outside world again!   Things should be back to normal soon, though we have a large amount of storm damage to clean up.
     Oh, and by the way, it's raining again.

Until next time,

September 18, 2003
     Update: I have several additions to the Ark packing list, by request from Windchase personnel.
               Life Jackets

Until next time,

September 16, 2003
Isabel is coming!   The rains continue!   We are compiling a packing list for the Ark!
               Dry socks
               Food for 40 days and 40 nights
               Lots of dry bedding
               One dove with 20/20 vision

     Seneca Valley Horse Trials were held last weekend.   And you'll never guess; it rained!   And rained and rained!   The whole event grounds became a mire, not even to mention the parking lot.
     I rode Caution to the Wind in his first Event, and he was most excellent.   He put in a really great performance in the Open Novice, even in the difficult footing, and I am very excited about his future!   He gave me a great feel in all three phases, I am looking forward to his next outing. 
     It has been quite fun to watch some of Windchase's former horses compete successfully this season.   Saxony, one of our New Zealand imports, won the Young Rider's Open Intermediate division at Menfelt recently, and another Windchase horse, Draco, was third.   And Cahir, an Irish import sold by Windchase, won the Young Rider OI at Seneca!   It will be exciting to see how these three really classy horses do at the CCI** at Radnor! 
     Since the weekend, we have had several more inches of rain - we are pretty used to that.   But watching the Weather Channel is our latest diversion; Hurricane Isabel is headed straight toward us!   She is supposed to arrive Thursday night with winds to 120 miles per hour and over eight inches of rain!   We will be spending the next couple of days battening down the hatches and making storm preparations!

Until next time,

September 1, 2003

     The Loudoun Pony Club Horse Trials were held this past weekend, and as always, it was a really fun Event.   It was deadly hot and humid on Saturday for dressage and show jumping, but cooled off on Sunday, giving us a near perfect day for cross-country.   I rode Given Wings (a.k.a. Flier) in his first Preliminary, and he was super.   He won the dressage (he is getting to be quite the DQ!) and show jumped clear to be in the lead after the first day, but as he is young and green, I was not planning to go fast enough to make the time cross-country.   He jumped beautifully around the course; but I came too slowly to the water jump and he had a little green bobble and stepped back before jumping in.   All in all, he went great in his first Prelim, and I was really thrilled with him.
     Both of Melissa Hunsberger's horses went really well in the Open Preliminary as well.   They were both clear XC and show jumping; her talented Just Fun Stuff finished 6th, and Expedience was super in her first fun of the season.

Expedience and Melissa at Loudoun

     When I was done with cross-country on Sunday, I drove the six hours up to Newburgh, NY to pick up my two new Irish horses!   They have finally arrived, and I am quite eager to start working with them; I think they are quite special!
     Also this weekend was the Irish Draught Horse Society of North America's Breed Show and Inspection, at Morven Park.   The judges and inspectors were flown in from Ireland, and horses came from all over the country.   We took Jasper, a lovely full Irish Draught three-year-old we have in training that belongs to Marsha Lehr, over for inspection and the show.   He passed the inspection with flying colors, the judges and spectators all thought he was marvelous!   He also won the hunter hack class, even though he was competing against four and five-year-olds!   It was quite fun to see him do so well, as he has been a real joy to work with.

     On a totally different subject, I am being driven crazy by a worm!   The W32.Sobig.F computer E-mail virus worm that has been going around is quite a nasty one.   Apparently it goes in to somebody's computer and takes down any E-mail addresses they have stored, and then uses those addresses to send out E-mails with the virus attached.   So apparently somebody's computer is sending out hundreds of virus-infected E-mails a day using my address, but they are not actually coming from my computer!   I have done all the scans and patches recommended, and my hard drive seems to be clean, but I get about 200 messages a day of Returned Undeliverable Mail which I then have to go through and delete!   So if any of you have gotten these strange E-mail attachments with my address on them, I apologize, but they didn't come from me!
     In the meantime, it is still raining!   We have had severe thunderstorms almost every day for the last week or so, and now it is just supposed to flat out rain on and off from now until Friday.   It's been raining since November!

Until next time,

August 26, 2003
     So much fun for Event season to be here again!   The Windchase horses had a great time at Difficult Run this past weekend.   I won the Open Training on Given Wings, finishing on our dressage score of 23!   Regal Mile went super in the Novice, placing fifth, and showing real top level potential.   I had a great time on both of these talented youngsters; what a blast to ride around courses on horses of this caliber!
     Windchase working student Erin Sayer had a super competition with her young horse Fenian, going well in all three phases and ending up in the ribbons.   It is really fun to watch the progress of this pair.   Melissa rode Wings in his first Training, and he went like a pro, moving up in level easily.   So all in all, Windchase's horses performed really well!
     My two new horses from Ireland arrive this weekend.   I am really looking forward to their arrival, as they are quite special.   It's always great to have new toys!

Until next time,

August 21, 2003
     Finally, I am getting around to updating this column!   Sorry it has taken so long, things always seem to get really busy this time of year!
     The Event Season is starting up again!   Oh, I know, it goes all summer long if you want to go up north, but having traveled all over the world competing for thirty-some years, I am quite happy to concentrate more on the competitions close to home now.   Especially since we are lucky enough to have nice events close by every weekend all through the spring and autumn here in Area II!
     A whole group of horses and riders went to Fair Hill last weekend.   For the most part it was a successful outing.   I rode my young horse Given Wings in the Open Training, and he jumped jumped nicely.   Melissa Hunsberger had a very good go on her Just Fun Stuff in the Preliminary, it is really fun to watch this talented pair develop a partnership.   Andrea Courson and Pamela Wilson both rode very well in the Training division on their horses as well, finishing in the ribbons.   Preliminary soon for these two!

Melissa Hunsberger and Just Fun Stuff

     Pedro Gutierrez from Mexico City came up for the week and competed with his Secret Notion in the Open Intermediate.   They went great, and showed they are on track for the exciting autumn season ahead - they are planning to represent Mexico in the Pan-American Championships in October!   Pedro also brought his two exciting young Preliminary (soon to be Intermediate) horses, one a homebred and one imported from New Zealand; they will remain at Windchase to compete through the autumn season.   These two very fancy Eventers exemplify the type of top quality horses that Pedro is importing and producing for sale!
     Oh, and by the way, yes, it is still raining!   At Fair Hill on Saturday, the competition had to be put on hold twice while we waited for severe thunderstorms to pass!   The wetter than normal weather we had during the winter and spring have continued all summer, with much more rain than we normally have during this time of year.   As dismal as the excessive rain was earlier in the year, for the most part it is a good thing in the summer; the footing has stayed nice and soft and the grass is very green.   But at times it has been so wet we can't ride in the fields, and trying to keep up with the mowing and weed-eating has been a challenge, to say the least!

     The other thing I did recently was to pass the Assessment examination for the USEA's (United States Eventing Association) new Instructor's Certification Program.   This excellent program is designed to help improve and standardize the quality of instruction in Eventing around the country.   It is offering workshops to candidate instructors, and in July the ICP held its first Assessment; I am now a USEA Level III Certified Instructor!   I was also invited to be a Faculty member, so I will be involved in teaching ICP Workshops for candidate instructors.   In fact, I did my first workshop as a Faculty member in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago, working with Eric Horgan!   I think the ICP is a very good program; I know I have learned a lot and gotten many new ideas for my teaching through the workshops I have participated in.   I would highly recommend this program to anyone involved in teaching Eventing!
     I am still waiting for my new Irish horses to arrive.   The charter flight they were supposed to be on has been cancelled, so now they have to fly scheduled air, which is unfortunately much more expensive.   Oh well, I guess its either that or teach them to swim!

Until next time,

July 30, 2003
At last, the Ireland Trip Journal is posted!   Sorry it took so long; I really enjoy writing up the details of our travels, but it does take some time!   I have purchased two new horses in Ireland that I am very excited about, they will be arriving in late August.   But in the meantime, you can read about the fun trip Jineen and I took here!

Until next time,

July 17, 2003
Home again!   Jineen and I just returned from a super trip to Ireland.   We were there for just over a week.   We spent the first part of the trip looking at horses.   We visited a number of farms, we went to the Future Event Horse Qualifier Class at Scarteen, and we even stopped by at the Goresbridge sale!   I saw many horses that I liked, and in the end, pending vetting, I bought two youngsters that I think are exceptional. 
     The second half of the trip was more vacation than business.   We drove down to the southwestern coast and toured the Sheep's Head and Beara peninsulas.   We did some serious castle exploration.   And we attended a gypsy horse fair!   As soon as I get a little caught up with things here (I had 141 e-mails waiting for me on my return), I will write up the details of the trip and post them.

A few of the newly painted show jumps!

       We had a great surprise waiting for us when we returned home.   The working students had painted all of the show jumps while we were away!   The jumps had sorely needed painting, and it was on my list of things I hoped to get done this summer; but we have been so busy and there is always so much to do that I was not sure we would have the time.   But the students worked really hard every spare minute while we were gone, and had a very bright and colorful course set up when we got home! 

Until next time,

July 5, 2003
We had a week of sunshine and actually got to go to an Event!   The CDCTA Horse Trials were held at Great Meadows last weekend, having been rescheduled from their May date because of rain.   What fun to actually get to have a run on good footing, after the disappointing season of canceled competitions and muddy ground!
     All of the Windchase horses went well.   I rode Given Wings in the Open Training, he went very well and finished 7th.   Regal Mile gave me a great ride in his first Novice, and jumped around like a pro.   He will move up quickly, as he is a cross-country natural, and I think he has an exciting future.
     Melissa did a great job with the lovely New Zealand horse Maori in the Open Preliminary, he made the course look easy.   Look for him on the "for sale" page!   Melissa also had a great ride on her own talented new horse, Just Fun Stuff, finishing 3rd in the Open Preliminary.   And Mariah Evans successfully completed her first Training on her horse Brooklyn.
     And now its time for some fun; Jineen and I are leaving for Ireland tomorrow for a much needed vacation!   After the terrible weather the last eight months or so, we are both really looking forward to getting away for a while.   Ireland is one of our favorite places to visit, we love the countryside, the horses and the people there.   We are looking forward to a bit of horse hunting, some castle exploring, touring around the Beara Peninsula, and of course, we won't neglect the Pubs while we are at it.   I'll tell you about it when we get back! 
     Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes are calling . . . 

Until next time,

June 21, 2003
A curious fellow died one day and found himself waiting in the long line of 
Judgment.   As he stood there he noticed that some souls were allowed to march 
right through the Pearly Gates into Heaven.   Others though, were led over to 
Satan, who threw them into the burning pit.   But every so often, instead of 
hurling a poor soul into the fire, Satan would toss a soul off to one side into a 
small pile. 
     After watching Satan do this several times, the fellow's curiosity got the 
best of him so he strolled over and asked Satan, "Excuse me, Mr. Prince of 
Darkness," he said.   "I'm waiting in line for Judgment, but I couldn't help 
wondering... why are you tossing those people aside instead of flinging them into the 
Fire of Hell with the others?" 
     "Ah, those....." Satan said with a groan, "They're all from Virginia.   They're still too wet to burn." 

Until next time,

June 19, 2003
I was really looking forward to the Menfelt Horse Trials, which was to be run last weekend.   After a frustrating season where almost every Event has been rained out or been too wet to go cross-country, I was really looking forward to this one. 
     Oh well.
     It continued to rain.   Almost every day.   First they canceled cross-country.   Then they canceled the Event altogether.   Now Seneca Valley, which was to run next weekend, has also been canceled.   You can't blame the Events, it has just been so wet they have not been able to prepare their courses, mow the fields or get the necessary equipment in to the Event grounds.   But boy is it frustrating!   I wish I could have back the thousands of dollars I have spent on entry fees this spring for Events that ended up being not being run!
    I heard a cheery statistic on the radio this morning.   Since May 1, take a guess how many rainy/cloudy/overcast days we have had?   Forty!   And guess how many sunny days we have had since May 1, where it was sunny all day, with no rain?   One!   Can you believe it?   ONE!!!
     You know how sometimes when a certain thing happens, and it reminds you of something out of a song, and you find yourself humming that song because it seems so pertinent?   Well, I have an old Gary Morris song running through my head right now:

     Ain't no sun, ain't no blue sky
     The wind blows cold, now that you've gone away
     And tomorrow, just like today
     There's a hundred percent chance of rain

Until next time,

June 12, 2003
Breaking News!   This just in!   We had two, count them TWO days this week without rain!   And with actual sunshine!
     Unfortunately, Saturday wasn't one of them.   Melissa and I were going to the Elysian Hills Event.   The ground was already really wet from the nine inches of rain we had last week, and when we got up Saturday morning, it started raining again.   We loaded up the horses and set off for the competition, and it started raining harder and harder.   By the time we were half way there, it was literally pouring, and I decided it was just too ridiculous.   So we turned around and came back home.   Oh well!
     Conditions were a little better on Sunday, so we took several horses back over to Elysian Hills for their unrecognized horse trials.   It was really muddy, but only rained a little. I   rode Given Wings (who was supposed to have gone on Saturday) in the Open Training, he went great, finishing second; we only missed winning because of going conservatively in the very deep footing cross country, thus incurring some time penalties.   Melissa rode my promising young Irish horse Regal Mile, he went very well in his first competition and had a very educational outing.
     Monday and Tuesday were amazing!   Sunny, no rain, and by Wednesday morning, things had actually dried up enough that we could jump in the outdoor arena!
     On a non-horsey subject, last night Mom and I joined our neighbors Nancy and Bruce Mountz at Wolf Trap Farm Park for a concert by Emmy Lou Harris.   It was great!   Nancy always manages to get us really great seats right up in the front, and it was a super show.   Midway through the concert, a huge thunderstorm blew up, with plenty of lightning and thunder, and the rains came blowing into the covered concert hall horizontally.   It was really cool, the swirling wind patterns inside the concert pavilion caught up the rain droplets and swirled them all around the stage before dropping them down on us.   It made for some very surreal kind of special effects! It also got us quite wet.   I thought, "Great, I'm even getting rained on during an indoor concert!"
     By the way, I just went out to the stable to do the late night paddock switches, where some of the horses come in and others go out; and I am actually quite soaked, because it has been raining all evening!

Until next time,

June 4, 2003
I just returned from Palm Springs, California, where my Mom and I attended my niece Stacy's wedding.   We had a great time in the desert, and guess what, no rain! 
     It was great fun for all the family to get together.   We stayed at Emerald Springs in Desert Hot Springs, a resort featuring natural hot springs with mineral water, said to be very healing to the body and the spirit!   As the weather was about 105 degrees, we spent quite a lot of time in the springs: rotating between three different pools of varying temperatures; from the cool one to the warm one to the really hot one (the water comes out of the ground at 180 degrees), then back to the cool one.   Certainly by the time we did that we felt fairly healed, but its hard to tell if it was the mineral springs or the Margaritas!
     The wedding was held in the Joshua Tree National Park.   This was a very interesting place.   There are hills and mountains of rocks, and many very large smooth formations of granite, formed by wind erosion over the centuries.   The landscape is otherworldly, you sort of feel like you are on the surface of the moon.   It is very dry desert, with hardly any green vegetation, they have only had one half inch rain in the last year!   The Joshua tree grows there, it is a unique and stunted tree that looks like it is straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.   Such is the slow and patient life force of the desert, the Joshua tree grows at a rate of only one half inch per year!

Joshua Tree National Park

     Stacy and Jonathan had a lovely and unique wedding.   The bride arrived at the natural amphitheatre where the ceremony was held just before sunset, in a palanquin, a sort of fabric covered litter, carried by four of her girl friends.   It was quite beautiful, with the desert wind blowing her flowing gown to and fro, and the sun just beginning to set.   Very quiet and serene, the desert made a wonderful cathedral for the wedding couple to exchange vows in.

Stacy arrives in the Palanquin

Mom with the bride and groom

     After the wedding, we all rode buses back to the lodge at Desert Hot Springs, for a great Reception party.   In addition to frozen Margaritas and Mexican food, the party featured an Indian dancer, a Flamenco dancer, several wonderful performances of songs from Stacy and Jonathan's friends and family, raffles (I won!), and a wedding cake in the likeness of the rock formation where the wedding was held.   As Stacy is a professional dancer and actress, as are many of her friends, there was some awesome dancing going on at the reception!  All in all, a really great weekend in the sun.
     Oh, and when I got home, it was still raining!

     Congratulations to Mariah Evans, who won first place in the Novice division at Waredaca this past weekend on her new horse Brooklyn!

Until next time,

May 28, 2003

     It's still raining.   We got another two inches or so last night and this morning.   This is getting ridiculous!   They said on the radio the other day, the last sunny day we had was April 28.   We are up to 30 days with rain, and we don't have the ark built yet!   I can't take it any more!   I am going to go somewhere where it isn't raining.   I think I will go to California!   To the desert!   I haven't really been a big fan of the desert in the past, but it is starting to look more and more attractive.   Just so long as it is dry.   See you when I get back!

Until next time,

May 25, 2003
     Greetings from Windchase Waterworld!
     I should be riding cross-country at Great Meadows today, but due to the rain, the CDCTA Event was canceled.   In fact, it has rained so much, they canceled the Event by Wednesday!   Which is probably just as well, as we have been stuck in the indoor arena due to the wet footing so much, the horses probably wouldn't now how to act if we rode them outside.   But at least they would know how to do water jumps!
     It has been raining for weeks now.   Last weekend, we got six inches of rain in two days.   And it has rained all week ever since!   We got another two and a half inches last night.   According to the forecast, today was supposed to be the dry day (we only got intermittent rain), and it is supposed to really rain again tomorrow.   This week, perhaps we will teach the horses to do the breaststroke!
     It has rained so much that we have whales in the meadow.   We have tadpoles living in the riding arena.   Our toes and fingers are shriveled up like raisins.   Not only has the grass grown fabulously high, but it has been constantly too wet to mow.   So on the occasional few days that we felt the ground was dry enough to try and go cross-country schooling, we couldn't find the jumps under the unmowed orchard grass!   We have not had weather dry enough to mow the lawn, soon I may have to slash a path to my door with my machete every time I want to cross the yard!   The Amazon rainforest doesn't have anything on Windchase!
     We have switched the horses' turn-out schedule back and forth from night turnout to day turnout so many times that the working students are ready to mutiny.   Every time I think the weather is good enough to turn them out at night (because the gnats get bad in the daytime this time of year) we get another bout of heavy rains. 
     But on another subject, I saw a UFO yesterday afternoon!   I looked up into the western sky, and saw this huge bright glowing object that I could not identify.   It was round and yellow, and so bright that it hurt your eyes to look at it, so you had to squint.   A very powerful light and warmth seemed to be emanating from it.   It seemed vaguely familiar, as if I had seen something like it in the distant past, but it had definitely been so long that I couldn't clearly remember it.   Soon, however, the rain clouds returned and covered it, before I had a chance to really figure out what it might have been.
     I love the rain.   I really do (I am trying to think positive!).   I love it when your feet are wet so long that fungus grows in your boots.   I love it when all the gravel on my driveway washes down into the creek.   I particularly love it when everything in the trailer dressing room is wet from the leak in the trailer roof, and weeks go by without a day nice enough to hang the stuff out to dry.   It's great when everything gets covered with that lovely green mildew! 
     I think I need to go somewhere dry . . .

Until next time,

May 18, 2003

   Entry Fees and Stabling for Virginia Horse Trials: $425
   Diesel Fuel to travel to Virginia Horse Trials: $94
   Motel Rooms for Virginia Horse Trials: $225
   Having every item of clothing or equipment you took with you to Virginia Horse Trials wet and soggy for the entire weekend: Priceless!

     It was not a stellar weekend! Melissa and I arrived in Lexington, VA, in the rain, and proceeded to ride in the rain, walk courses in the rain, and basically live in the rain the entire four days we were there. 
     We were wet on so many levels!   For once, I decided to pack light.   So upon arrival on Thursday, by the time I had ridden in the rain and walked the course in the rain, pretty much everything I had brought with me was soaking wet.   I then checked in to my motel room (at the wonderful EconoLodge) and proceeded to spread out all of my wet clothes and raincoats over the heater, which I had turned up to full blast, to dry.   When we returned to the room after dinner, the clothes had made considerable progress towards drying, but the room was about 95 degrees!   So the rest of the night, we dried the clothes with the air conditioner!
     Things then seemed under control, until the morning, at which time I went to brush my teeth.   When I went to turn the water on in the sink, the handle came off in my hand, and the water spewed out like a geyser, all over the ceiling, myself, and most of the room!   So much for drying my clothes the night before, I was soaked again, and I hadn't even left the motel room!
     After another day of rain, we returned once again to the EconoLodge, to find that not only had they made no effort to dry the waterlogged carpet from the sink fiasco, but now the room was also flooding from the other side, by the door.   Everything within 10 feet of the door was in standing water, and soaked!   And when I returned to the Horse Park in the morning, I went to hitch up my trailer to come home, only to fine that the roof had leaked, and everything in the trailer tack room was saturated.   And when I cranked the trailer down on to the truck, the multiple gallons of water that had been sitting on top of the trailer came pouring down on my head!
     The bottom line was, I did not run Given Wings (a.k.a. Flier) cross country because of the weather.   He was great in dressage and show jumping, but I did not feel it would be productive or fun to go XC considering the wet and slippery conditions on Sunday.   Melissa was in the Preliminary with her fancy new horse "Just Fun Stuff", and put in a good XC round on Saturday, before the rain got serious.   And congratulations to Melissa for acquiring this talented young horse, he is really special, and it will be a pleasure to watch their progress in the future!
     Congratulations also to Natalie Hollis, for a super clear cross-country ride in the CCI* on her "Ready to Rock"!

Natalie and Ready to Rock

     The Virginia Horse Trials are a real example of how to organize an Event!   Brian and Penny Ross have done an exemplary job of running both the Three-day event and the Horse Trials simultaneously, with over 500 entries total.   As always, everything was well prepared and perfectly organized, and the courses were superb.   What a shame that the lousy weather put a damper on things! 
     And on the subject of lousy weather, last weekend we went to the new event at Rubicon Farm, near Leesburg, VA, where they have built a fabulous new cross country course.   Unfortunately, it rained so much all week that in the end, they had to cancel the Event altogether because of the weather and footing.   This was very disappointing, as the course is lovely, but they made the right decision, and we look forward to competing over this beautiful track in years to come!
     By the way, the drought is definitely over!

Until next time,

May 6, 2003
Difficult Run Horse Trials was this past weekend, and as always, returning to Frying Pan Park really transports me back in time, as I spent so much time there in Pony Club and 4-H when I was growing up!   The area around it is totally unrecognizable compared to how it used to look, but once you turn into the park itself, it looks just the same. Many of the cross country jumps there were built by my mother twenty five years ago!
     Our horses went well for the most part, too bad the riders kept getting themselves eliminated on technicalities like missing flags and jumps!   But I suppose I have teased them enough about that, so I won't bring up any specifics of who missed what, or say any more about it.
Our working student from Mexico, Lin, had a terrific ride on Emily Curtis' Half Magic (my former Advanced horse).   He had a super cross-country round, except for missing the . . . . no, wait, that's right, I wasn't going to bring it up again . . . . Let's just say he rode beautifully, and could have won.
     Melissa did a great job with Sierra in the Novice division, he was going like a machine, until she forgot the . . . . hang on, I wasn't supposed to mention that either . . . . well, let's just say the horse went like a dream.
     And Nicola Hasling was going great guns with Hoagey Pokey until they got to . . . . whoops, there I go again, never mind.
     But my friends and fellow coaches Natalie Hollis from Water's Edge and Joerg Eichmann from Brandenburg were quick to point out that none of THEIR students got eliminated!   Actually, I shouldn't tease my students, at least they got to ride, while I managed to lame my Novice horse before I even got to the Event!

Sierra (offered for sale

Lin riding Emily Curtis' Half Magic

     On a more serious note, Melissa did a great job with our new horse, Just Fun Stuff, finishing 3rd in his first Preliminary.   And the organization at Difficult Run had an well run event as usual, and had made every effort to make the footing on cross country as good as possible.   Thanks to them for a job well done!

Until next time,

April 28, 2003
Back in the Start Box again!   I rode in competition for the first time since my knee replacement surgery at the Loudoun Horse Trials this past weekend, and how super it was to be out competing again!   Enniskerry Imp was just as enthusiastic about being out again as I was, and we had great a great time together.   I felt a little rusty, having not really gone cross-country in ages, but fortunately Imp remembered his job, and we had great fun.   What a lark!

Enniskerry Imp shows his enthusiasm to be back competing.

     I also have an exciting new horse, named Just Fun Stuff.   Melissa rode him around the Training, he went like dynamite.   He will move up to Preliminary next weekend; it's always fun to have new toys!   Watch for this horse in the future, I think he is going to be special.    
     It is also really fun to watch the progress of some of the former Windchase horses out competing.   A number of horses that we have sold in the last couple of years have been just cleaning up on the Event circuit this spring.   Cahir and Emily Libby continued their success this weekend, winning the Junior Preliminary.   We have also been seeing such horses as Saxony, Draco, Balliough, and Daybreak constantly in the top placings.   It is very rewarding to watch these former Windchase horses going on to have such success!
     Our third broodmare, Chip, finally got around to having her foal Friday night, about two weeks late.   This has definitely been the year of the fillies, as this is the third one, a beautiful bay with a big white star!

Until next time,

April 9, 2003
I guess it is spring, but I'm not really sure.   The grass is green and the trees are starting to leaf out, but it is about 34 degrees and pouring rain, and has been for days now.   So we are stuck in the indoor arena again!   This winter has been a bit like the movie Groundhog Day, where we keep living the same nasty weather over and over and over!
     But at least it is great to be back to a more or less normal riding schedule again!   Since having the knee replacement surgery this winter, I am now able to ride without pain for the first time in years.   I started riding again the first of March, and I have started jumping and galloping again now.   I hope to be able to compete in some lower level Events by May.   Boy is it nice to be properly back in the saddle again!
     The Event season has started off late for everyone here at Windchase, because of the bad weather and being confined to the indoor arena.   But Melissa Hunsberger started us off with a bang last weekend, finishing 3rd with a great run on her talented young mare Expedience in the Preliminary division at Fair Hill.   Congratulations to her on a job well done!

Until next time,

Cartel's foal at 3 days

March 30, 2003
     Winter had one last insult to throw at us!   We woke up this morning to find the ground white, and it has been snowing like crazy all day.   For the last couple of weeks the weather has been beautiful, with warm temperatures and the grass growing and the flowers and leaves starting to open; and now this - what a shock!   We have about four inches on the ground, and it is still falling fast!
     A bunch of us went out to dinner last night, and we had the most marvelous dining experience!   Our good friends from Brandenburg Farm, Joerg and David, have just opened up a new restaurant in Winchester, VA.   It is right on the square in the middle of the old part of town, and it is called The Village Square Restaurant.   What a great job they have done with the place!   It is really lovely, and the food is out of this world!   I highly recommend it if you want a great dinner in a wonderful atmosphere!

     Not too long after I returned home from dinner, another treat awaited.   We had another beautiful foal by Windstar.   Cartel, my favorite broodmare, had a lovely filly at about one o'clock this morning; a dark bay with a big white blaze.   She is absolutely charming!   There is something magical about being present when the foals are born, it is a miraculous feeling that never grows old.   There is nothing quite like being there from the very start, and watching them every step of the way; from their first wobbly attempts to stand to the successful completion of their first Three-Day Event!

Until next time,

March 21, 2003
     It's a girl!   Our broodmare Sara had a lovely filly by Windstar night before last.   She looks black, but will probably turn gray.   She was born at ten o'clock at night, just about exactly the time the bombing was starting in the Baghdad.   So out of the doom and gloom of impending war, another little miracle appeared!   The filly is amazingly sweet and very beautiful.   I think I will name her Estrella, at the suggestion of Lin, our friend and working student from Mexico; it means 'Star' in Spanish.


Until next time,

March 17, 2003

Spring at last!   Can you believe it?   The Endless Winter from Hell is finally over!   The snow is almost gone.   The weather has warmed up, the grass is ever so slightly starting to turn green, the trees are starting to bud, and the Spring Peepers are singing along the creeks.   And today Jineen saw that one sure sign that the season has changed, that lovely traditional winged harbinger of Spring.   What, a robin?   No, no, she saw the year's first mosquito! 
     And if that is not enough to show it is spring, here is the exciting thing.   We have two foals due eminently!   My two favorite broodmares were actually due to foal to Windstar this past weekend, so we should have some new arrivals any time now!
     By the way, Happy Saint Patrick's Day!   All the Irish horses celebrated today by eating Ginger Snaps (for medicinal purposes only, of course) and wearing green polo wraps.

     On a grimmer note, war looks eminent.   I hope that it does not happen, but I fear that it shall.   I saw a pertinent message written in graffiti on an overpass the other day: "If I fear my neighbor, can I shoot him?"   Mr. Bush, take note!

Until next time,


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

Read about Phyllis, Grace and Patty's latest Ireland Adventure, July 2002.

Read about Phyllis and Jineen's earlier trip to Ireland, December 2001.

Go to the Site Map to read accounts of some of Phyllis's other trips.

United We Stand


Phyllis Dawson
Phone: (540) 668-6024 stable
(540) 668-6548 home

(540) 668-7210 fax
Address: 36502 Kidwell Road
Purcellville, VA 20132  USA