| Phyllis was born July 27, 1957, and grew up in Great Falls, VA.
From the time
she can remember, all she wanted to do was ride and train horses. She found her
first pony under the Christmas tree in the living room when she was four years old, and hasn't looked back
since. Phyllis was active in 4-H Club and showed Hunters as
a kid, and was also an avid foxhunter from the time she was
12. She joined the Reston Pony Club (now Difficult Run), and
her 'A' rating in Pony Club. After graduating from Herndon (VA) High School,
she completed the Advanced Horsemasters course at Potomac Horse Center in Gaithersburg, MD, and then trained as a working student with top event rider
Bruce Davidson in 1976. She continued to train with Bruce whenever
she had the chance for over 20 years.
Phyllis began Eventing in 1973, and reached the Advanced level in
1977 with Freedom Flight, a horse she brought up through the levels herself.
Since then, she has trained many horses to the top levels. She has successfully represented the United States in International competition,
including the 1988 Olympic Games and the 1997 European Championships.
more information on Phyllis' early riding experiences, follow this link to
Phyllis made her International debut at Boekelo CCI*** in the Netherlands in
1985, where she participated on the winning American team in the "friendly
team competition" on Mountain High. In the autumn of 1987, she placed 2nd at the Chesterland CCI*** on Albany II.
She followed this up with a 6th place in the Olympic Selection Trials in 1988
in Lexington, KY, which earned her a spot on the Olympic Three-day team in
Phyllis represented the United States at the Olympic Games in
Seoul aboard Albany II and finished 10th, the highest placed American in the Olympic
Three-day Event. It was really the experience of a
lifetime. Phyllis was thrilled to put in a' personal best'
performance, jumping clear around an extremely long and demanding
cross-country test to finish tenth in the world on the day.
The experience of competing among the top riders in the world and
finishing well was exhilarating, as was the experience
of living in the Olympic Village and mingling with famous athletes
from all sports and countries.
Phyllis and Albany II at
the water jump in Seoul, Korea, 1988.
Phyllis continued to compete successfully at the International level.
She has ridden around the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event over
twenty times, and has several times completed the prestigious Burghley CCI**** in England.
She has won Three Day Events at Radnor, PA, Essex, NJ, North
Georgia, Checkmate, Ontario, and Bromont, Quebec. She has won the
Advanced division at Morven Park Horse Trials a total of six times, and
her wins and high placings on various horses at other
competitions, both here and abroad, are too numerous to recount.
Other highlights include being named the United States
Combined Training Association's high point Leading Lady Rider in 1992, and
the winner of the North American section of the FEI Landrover World Rider
Rankings in 1997. Visit the Competition
Horses page to learn about some of the special horses Phyllis has competed over the years.
Star Bright at Thirlestane Castle,
Phyllis had the opportunity to compete in England with the USET
during the summers of 1997 and 1998. She competed
successfully in many Events there, including the CCI*** at
Blenheim, the Scottish Open Championships at Thirlestane Castle,
the British Open Championships at Gatcombe Park, and the Bramham
In 1997, Phyllis had the opportunity to again represent the United
States Equestrian Team, when she rode in the Open European
Championships at Burghley. A clear fast cross country round
helped her finish a strong 19th out of a field of over 90 starters
consisting of the best horses and riders in the world.
Phyllis Dawson and Snowy River at the Open
European Championships at Burghley, 1997
Phyllis rode and trained many horses to a high level of success in
Eventing. She has always enjoyed building a relationship
with her horses based on mutual trust, and considers the rapport
between horse and rider, built with a correct foundation of
training, to be one of the most rewarding aspects of riding.
Although no longer competing at the
Advanced level, Phyllis is continuing this philosophy while concentrating on training and producing
top quality young horses, and giving them the right start to their
At Windchase, her Virginia farm, Phyllis specializes
in offering an outstanding selection of talented
prospects and Event Horses for sale,
correctly started and well produced. Windchase also takes
horses of all levels in for schooling and training, ranging from
green-broke youngsters to high level Event horses being prepared
for competition. We also offer top class instruction on
there own horses for riders of all levels. For more
information on these services, see our Boarding
and Training page.
We invite you to base your horse at
Windchase and let us help you prepare for competition. There
are excellent events within about an hours drive most weekends
from the end of March through mid November. Windchase has
everything you need in order to have you and your horse ready to
do your best at the events. We offer everything from
occasional schooling on request to complete preparation for the
competitions, where you show up for the event and we have your
horse ready to go. Come and join the Windchase Team.
in the Journey, not the Destination.
This is my personal motto,
and I have had the good fortune to have the opportunity to ride
and compete many
excellent horses during my career. I have always enjoyed
the process of really getting to know the horses that I was riding
and competing, of having a chance to develop a partnership with
them, a mutual trust. I have been Eventing for over
thirty years now; my riding career has been a journey, and I have
had many wonderful equine partners along the way. Here are
some of the ones that have been the most special to me. With
the exception of Albany, who is listed first in the place
of honor, they are roughly in chronological order.
~ Phyllis ~
II will always be first and foremost in my heart. He took me to
the Olympics, what more can you ask? I found Albany, a 1979 bay 17 hand
English Thoroughbred cross gelding,
in England. Riding
Albany, I placed 10th individually in the 1988 Olympic Games in
Seoul, Korea. That was one of the highlights of my life. Albany always tried his best to be good and do
what was right, never once can I remember him misbehaving in any
way. He always gave it 100 percent in everything he did.
Albany passed away in the spring of 2006.
He was a dear and gentle soul. He spent his last years wandering
loose about the farm, going wherever he pleased, not constrained by
fences. Everyone here at Windchase misses
He shared my
dreams and helped make them a reality.
He took me where I had always longed to go.
He helped me touch the sky.
~ Phyllis ~
Starting with my first Advanced Horse and
working roughly chronologically, here are some of
the other excellent horses I have had the opportunity to ride and
compete over the years.
(For more information on
some of my earliest mounts, visit the Starting
Freedom Flight was the first horse
I rode at the Advanced level. What he may have
lacked in talent he made up for in heart, and together, we
competed at the upper levels for over seven years. He
was really my 'Schoolmaster' horse, even though we learned
together. He was forgiving of my mistakes, and we formed a strong partnership. The mileage I gained on
Freedom was vital to my later competitive success. I owe him
more than I can ever say.
High was an incredibly big and strong horse that always wanted
to go very fast. He would jump anything, and had the most magnificent
extended trot you can imagine, but was quite difficult to
control. I fell in love with him at first sight, and
we developed a special relationship as I trained him and moved him
up through the levels. I got my first taste of
overseas International competition on Mountain High, when we were
a part of the winning American Team at the Friendly Team
Competition at the Boekelo CCI*** in Holland in 1985.
was the first of the race horses I bought from John McKee
of Charles Town, WV. Since then, I have developed a
great business relation with John, and have bought over three hundred
Thoroughbreds from him over the years. Fleet was owned by my
friend Hossein Askari, and he enjoyed a successful career up through
he CCI*** level.
was one of the only horses that I ever rode that was already
experienced before I got him. He had been ridden by
the great David Foster of Ireland, and was bought for me to ride
by Hossein Askari. Byeway was one of the most
talented horses I ever rode. He was very bold and
strong cross-country, but if I could control him, he would jump
anything! I completed my first Burghley CCI**** in
England in 1991 on him.
was yet another horse owned by Hossein. He was only
15.1 hands, but all jump and power. 'D.A.' had no love for
the Dressage phase, but he could really run and jump, placing at
the CCI*** level.
was an appendix Quarter Horse that I bought from Bruce
Davidson. He was brought from the mid-west by the
great horseman Mr. Tindel, who selected horses for
Bruce. Indiana was always totally serious and focused
about his work, and had a huge determination to succeed. I
rode him to the Advanced level, after which he was purchased by
Joerg Eichmann of Brandenburg Farm, who gained much competitive
mileage riding this talented horse.
was another of the Thoroughbreds that I bought as a youngster off
of the racetrack from my friend John McKee. He was
always just a fun and cool horse to ride. Jet black
and 17 hands, he was a real eye catcher, one of the most truly
beautiful horses you will ever see. I rode Jet to the
Advanced level, competing with him in England in 1994.
After that, soundness issues dictated that he compete at a lower
level, so he also went to Brandenburg Farm, where my friend Joerg
had a successful competition record with him.
was a horse that I purchased in England.
Very quiet and dignified, Altair was always a
gentleman. He was quiet and laid back, but very
talented. He competed successfully at the CCI***
level, including a clear round at Rolex in Lexington, and numerous
Advanced level wins.
was a horse I bought in Ireland as a youngster. He was
extremely talented, but a also quite spooky and quirky, which made him
a bit difficult to ride. He enjoyed success at the CCI***
level, including completing the Blenheim CCI*** in England in
Tomorrow was a homebred, so I knew him from the day he was
born. Very talented, 'Tommy' has all the ingredients
to go to the top. His only fear is cows, he has always
been deadly afraid of them! Tommy went on to compete successfully at the Intermediate level with a Young
has as much sheer talent as any horse that I have ever
ridden. I purchased her in Ireland when she was a
youngster from Robin Blackmore, she is a full sister to my
four-star horse Star Bright. Sirius later passed on her
talent to her offspring as a broodmare.
Half Magic was a 1985 16.3 hand chestnut Thoroughbred gelding by Ground Breaker.
I bought him as an unbroken 2-year-old from racehorse
trainer John McKee at Charlestown, WV, and he has been
one of the horses dearest to me ever since. We formed
a strong partnership from the start, and I have
probably had more wins with Magic than any other horse I have
ridden, including winning Three Day Events at North Georgia,
Essex, NJ, and Checkmate, Canada. He has been
short-listed for the U.S. Team on three different occasions, and
has won or placed at the Advanced level numerous
times. A truly beautiful horse, who always gave his
career highlights include winning the CCN* at North Georgia in '92,
the CCI** at
Essex in '93, and the CCI*** at Checkmate, Canada in '94. He has won Advanced divisions at Morven Park in '94 and '97, and was 9th in the
CCI*** at Rolex Kentucky and 6th in the CCI*** at Fair Hill in '97.
He was short-listed for the World Equestrian Games in 1994, the
Pan American Games in 1995 and the Open European Championships in
Magic was a very beautiful horse who loved to be admired and to pose for
pictures. He was quiet and gentle most of the time, but became
highly enthusiastic when it is time for Cross-country.
Half Magic passed away in January of 2008. He was a great
soul, and we will miss him very much.
Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
~ Cecilia M. Hylton ~
River was a 1986 gray Thoroughbred gelding by Babamist.
He was bred by Bruce Davidson, and purchased by Phyllis as a preliminary
horse in 1994. She brought him up to the Advanced level in '95, and they
formed a very special partnership. He
Dressage was a waste of time, but he could run and jump with the best
of them. Some of his top placings include winning
the Intermediate at Fair Hill Horse Trials in '95, winning the Advanced at
Morven Park and placing 6th at the Fair Hill CCI*** in '96.
The highlight of Snowy's career came in 1997, when
he represented the
United States Equestrian Team in the Open European Championships at
Burghley, England. He was also the alternate horse for the USET World Championship team
Sadly, Snowy passed away in early 2005.
He was a great heart and a good friend, and we miss him.
To back the flying steed
That challenges the wind for speed.
Seems native more of air than earth!
Whose burden only lends him fire!
Whose soul, in his tack, turns labour into Sport.
He makes your pastime his. I sit him now!
He takes away my breath. He makes me real.
I touch not earth,
I see not - hear not - all is an ecstasy of motion!
~ James Sheridan Knowles
was a 1994 Irish Sport Horse 16.1 hand gray stallion, owned by
Phyllis Dawson and Jineen Reed. Phyllis competed Windstar at the
Training level in 1999, with a perfect record, winning every event they
Windstar's offspring are having great success in competition.
He sired top level Advanced Event horses such as Arthur, Phoenix Star, Polar
Storm and Polaris. We are thrilled with the excellent quality of
his offspring. Follow these links to see photos of some
of Windstar's Babies, or pictures of Windstar's
Offspring in action. Some exceptional youngsters
sired by Windstar may also be found on the Horses
for Sale page.
was a 1990, 17 hand, bay Irish Sport Horse gelding by I'm A
Star. I imported him from Ireland as a green-broke three-year-old, and he
has rose to the top ranks very quickly. He won the CCN* in Bromont, Canada in'96, and in '97 was 1st in the Intermediate at Morven Park, 4th in the
CCI**at Essex, and moved up to Advanced in the summer while competing in England.
Upon returning home in the autumn, he was 8th in the CCI*** at Fair Hill out
of a very competitive field of 80 horses, quite an accomplishment for a seven-year-old!
In the spring of '98, he completed the four-star CCI at Rolex
Kentucky, and was Short Listed for the World Equestrian Games in Rome.
In 1999 Bright also completed the CCI four-star at Rolex, Kentucky. He placed
10th in the CCI*** at Foxhall, Georgia in May 2000.
Bright is a very kind and gentle horse who always does his very best to
please. He excelled in the dressage, and was a bold and scopey jumper.
Sometimes playful and spooky, he would never really misbehave.
a truly sweet personality, and always gives you his 100 percent best.
Star Bright passed away in 2016. He has a
place always in our hearts.
Enniskerry Imp was a
1995 Irish Sport Horse by Master Imp. I bought him from
Peter Green as a youngster, and brought him up through the levels
to Advanced. He always had a very strong sense of humor and
a great sense of fun. Excelling in all three phases, he was
a blast to ride, and was one of my all time favorite horses.
was a 1998 black 16.2 hand gelding from Bulgaria. I imported
him in the late autumn of 2003. He began his
Eventing career in Bulgaria, and he quickly moved up the levels in
America. He is a super
jumper and an awesome cross-country horse, and has the potential to go
to the highest levels.
Viatar means 'The Wind' in Bulgarian. And though he feels like he
can run and jump like the wind, he has a very gentle and sweet
personality. He is very spoiled, and expects to be fed candy or mints
constantly. He loves life in America, as it
includes things like daily turnout and water buckets in the stalls; luxuries
he did not get in Bulgaria! He likes to hack, trail ride and
jump, and is willing to put up with the necessity of doing dressage in
order to get to do those more fun things in life.
In 2007 Viatar was ready to move up to Advanced level, but at that
time I was retiring from upper level competition, so regretfully I
sold him to an active competition rider.
was a 2003 Irish Sport Horse bay gelding by the
leading Eventing sire Master Imp, and his dam was a sister to my
four-star horse Star Bright. I imported Drifter from Ireland in 2006;
with breeding like that how could I resist! He is very self
confident and precocious, and a really phenomenal jumper. I
enjoyed competing him at the end of my competitive career.