few stallions compete at the top level in eventing - let alone at the Olympics. Windfall did just that, winning a team bronze medal under Darren Chiacchia for the USA in Athens in 2004. The fact that Windfall now has not one, but two, sons due themselves to
compete for the same country as their sire, the USA, in Tokyo really does make him one in a million.
Tsetserleg, Boyd Martin’s Tokyo Olympic ride, and Doug Payne’s Vandiver are sons of Windfall, the handsome almost-black Trakhener who retired from eventing, sound, at the age of 17 in 2009.
Windfall was bred in Germany by Heinz Lembke, by Habicht - who evented with Martin Plewa and who completed the CCI5* at Burghley, as well as winning Achselschwang’s CCI4* - his dam was a thoroughbred. She both raced and evented, and was accepted into the Trakhener studbook as an approved mare.
went to the great German rider Ingrid Klimke as a four-year-old and was very successful with her, first in dressage and show jumping and then eventing. He was short-listed with Klimke for the German team for the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but Ingrid chose to ride
another horse, Sleep Late.
Later that year Windfall was sold to Tim Holekamp for Darren Chiaccha to ride, and also for the Holekamps to breed from. With Chiacchia, Windfall enjoyed an outstanding career, with multiple wins at Advanced level and top placings at CCI4*-Ls such as the Foxhall Cup and Fair Hill. In 2003, they won the individual gold medal at the Pan Am Games, held that year at Fair Hill.
The highlight of their career together, however, was Athens. In 2004 they became the first winners of the first event - Rolex Kentucky - to run under the new short-format (without roads and tracks and steeplechase), and earned their selection for the U.S. Olympic team. Chiacchia and Windfall joined Kim Severson with Winsome Adante, Amy Tryon (Poggio), John Williams (Carrick), and Julie Richards (Jacob Two Two) and, clear inside the time across country, they were one of the three scores that counted towards that bronze medal.
The pair continued competing, and in 2006 won the second of their two World Cup qualifiers at CCI4*-S level. Windfall also competed with Cheryl Holekamp to Grand Prix dressage and performed at recognized shows to scores well in the 60s, proving to be one of the only upper-level eventing horses capable of going to the Grand Prix level in dressage.
Windfall retired to Tim and Cheryl Holekamp’s farm in Ocala, Florida, and enjoyed hacking around the property. In 2015, the popular stallion was given an official “retirement” ceremony at the Kentucky CCI5*, where his many fans were given another chance to see
if Tsetserleg and Vandiver could emulate their sire’s bronze medal - or better it - in Tokyo, that would be the most fitting end to this remarkable story possible.
One of my passions is continuing to be a good student, because I think no matter how old I get, there are multiple reasons learning new things inspires me. First and foremost, it helps me be a better rider and trainer, so my horses benefit. Second, it helps me be a better teacher by exposing me to different ways to have a relationship with a horse or a student.
This month we’re going to begin a three-part series on how to create positive riding experiences by making sure the words you say to yourself and the thoughts you think to yourself are positive. Referred to as self-talk, internal dialogue, or brain babble; the words you say to yourself can have a huge impact on your performance. In fact, your thoughts and voice are actually considered behaviors, and just like how positive physical behaviors (i.e. a balanced transition) can create success, your verbal behaviors can also accomplish the very same thing. So let's spend the next few months talking about how to talk to yourself!
Being spontaneous has paid off for Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy. “I bought him on a Wednesday and showed him on a Thursday,” Keane recalls about his first event with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, then 9 years old, at Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, Pennsylvania) in September 2016. “I owned him for part of a day, and the next morning I showed up at a CCI and jogged him up for a two-star, and we went clean and clean and clean.”
THANK YOU to everyone who has already entered the USEF/USEA Recognized CDCTA Spring Horse Trials scheduled for Sunday, April 9 in Berryville, VA. We will continue to take late entries through Friday, March 24 using USEA’s Xentry system. If you still want to come compete, please enter! The late fee has been waived through Friday, March 24.