Saturday, March 27, 2010

Northern Bound!

Well the packing has begun.. and like most eventers I have started to develop a system for packing... procrastinate, panic,persist and then finally and hopefully prevail! Doug, Megan, Chrissy and I( with 9 horses) are headed to the Fork on Tuesday. We are sending a few to New Jersey with Sam on Tues morning that have no need to go to spend the week at the Fork.

The horses are all well. Tate is bored out of his mind! but thankfully he gets to go on 30 min walks to keep his sanity... this normally consists of me sitting on him while he eats grass! Chrissy labeled this as Tate's "supervised turnout" its funny how sometimes you just feel safer on their back then holding them when they are fit and on stall rest :)!

I have two of Rebecca's horses Rocky and Margaret. They will go back to the Fork this week. Rocky is in full work and is fantastic! We had an exciting first jump the other day since Pinetop and he is def. happy to get back to the job! I know Rebecca is so excited to see him so it will be fun to reunite the two.

Im excited to get back to New Jersey. There are a few exciting prospects to add to the team this spring but im gonna keep the lid on that until the details have been worked out ;).. Chrissy and I are also working on setting up some clinic dates in New Jersey as well as a few out of state destinations. If anyone has any suggestions in farms that might want to set up clinic dates let me know and I will get information to them.

That's it for now i must go because I am obviously still in the procrastinating part of my packing procedure (who knew alliteration could be so much fun!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not so good news

I am sitting in front of my computer writing this letter when I should be rushing to get out the door and head to Southern Pines Horse Trials. Unfortunately I found out yesterday I will not be competing there on my Rolex/ World Equestrian Games hopeful, Tate. Tate has suffered a small injury that will bench him for the season. This means he will not be fit nor qualified to be in contention for the WEG’s. I am reflecting on the last few months as to where it went wrong but I am also looking towards the future so I wont be sitting here writing a letter like this again.
Being a part of Team USA the last few months has been amazing. I have literally told myself to enjoy all the moments leading up to Kentucky because this is what all the work is about, not just Kentucky. I have been able to participate in multiple training sessions with top instructors/competitors from the dressage and show jumping world. I have been watching and learning all the behind the scenes work that goes into molding a top class US team. I have watched the top riders really get to know the strengths and weaknesses in their horse and watch them go through the training process to improve these slight imperfections. This has been very confidence building for me. I have realized even the best have things they are constantly trying to improve.
I have made some observations and still have some questions about where our sport is heading. I’m not sure how we are going to not only maintain participation in the Elite levels of the sport but how we are going to win. To speak candidly we have some fantastic horses and fantastic riders, but we do not have enough. I know my horse is lovely but still very green. I had to keep reminding myself of his greenness due to the fact there was so much interest in him to actually be competing at the WEG’s. I could not believe that there were so few top combinations to choose from. This sport is so expensive and only a small amount of owners get to experience the “ride to the top” it makes it difficult to entice people unfamiliar to get involved. Any horse person will tell you Eventing is the daredevil discipline of horse sports. When you ask an event rider why they do it most of the time they just smile and say I have no idea, but we do know.
Eventing is sometimes like a secret cult unless you are a member you really don’t understand the addiction to the thrill of cross country, the precision of dressage, the nerves of show jumping and ultimately the honest love and connection we have with our horses. We must build the strongest bond with these animals we put our lives in there hands and if they trust us enough they will give us the same in return. I trust Tate like I would a family member. I have been in enough situations with him to know how he reacts, how he thinks in a tricky situation what makes him give the extra inch I need to win. I am constantly working to learn more and more about what keeps not only his mind in the game but also his body. I have vets, farriers, trainers, sponsors and owners all working with me to get the best relationship I can with my horse. When we are out on course just he and I, we hopefully will have the best knowledge and understanding of each other to tackle what challenges lay ahead. That is what eventing is about.
Part of this letter is to let you in on my feelings of our sport, the other part is to put the question out there... how do I get more people involved? On a whole we need more horse rider combinations so we can win medals and therefore attract an outside audience to our sport. Personally to continue this sport I have to not just have one top horse but a few. This is not so that there is always one to fill the gap when something goes wrong but to even out the pressure in the barn. I have always tried to keep a balance to my program and my horses. In hindsight the only time I really feel I have lost some balance and perspective was about two weeks ago. I got caught up in making my horse better “right now” instead of realizing it takes time. Tate was the only horse I had at the level so I took advantage of the lessons I was getting. I truly think in my immediate efforts to make him jump up to the next level put him under to much pressure. His injury is slight and even the vets said if I really wanted to run him I could but there would be a risk of a larger injury. I have learned my lesson and im gonna wait this one out.
There are so many ways to get involved in Eventing... Syndication, American Horse Trials Foundation (tax write off), Forming an LLC that owns the horses... I am eager to hear if anyone has suggestions or thoughts. Please if you know someone who you think might have ideas pass this letter along. I am a horse person and love this sport, there is nothing more I want to do than compete and bring people into the sport of eventing so they can experience what I am lucky enough to experience everyday, highs and lows.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Southern Pines and Skinnyyy Rebecca

So Tater, Margaret and I headed to the Fork on Friday to see rebec, teach a few lessons and compete Margaret for rebec. at Southern Pines II. Rebecca looks fantastic, well in a far too skinny, slightly drugged and well walking like she's 80 fantastic, but none the less looking a million times better than last week. Jim dog( Jim Cogdell) has turned on the heat in the pool and rebec seems eager to get in.. so seems like the healing process is headed in the right direction

I took tate to gallop on some good NC hills since i haven't been able to find more than a slight"slope" in aiken. He is on good form and Im pumped for the advanced at southern pines next weekend!. From the sneak peak I saw of Southern Pines and The Fork the amount of effort going into the spectators,sponsors and owners is going to make these events ones not to be missed! PRO's assosiation with these event's in the PRO Tour is really kick starting some fantastic vision and correlation between the competitions organizing staff and the PRO riders.

This year has been a great year to be involved in the training lists. The sessions are very frequent and seem to constantly be keeping us on the ball. Last week I had some great flat lessons with Mark Philips and a jump lesson that remind me that there is still so much attention to detail needed. Amy Tryon was at my jump lesson and she informed me she did not do her first advance until she was 30! This information made me take a breath when I had not realized I was holding it. Our sport is so go go go you forget it takes time to gain experience. Its so easy to get to caught up in the moment and lose perspective. For me this lesson was very valuable. During these sessions I need to learn from my instructors and piers, do the best job i can for tater and CHILL! Next week is flat with Mark and Jump with show jumper Katie Prudant should be fun!

Oh Yeah .. my freakin truck died! buggerrrrrrrrr.. o well worse things can happen .. right rebec??:)!
ta ta

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rebec is going home!

Rebecca is going home!! Tomorrow morning is the big morning.. this is a copy from Mary's email

Rebec has the green light to go home. She is clearly headed in the right direction in terms of pain control , chest expansion and activity. Target departure will be late Monday Morning. Will try the day without Oxygen first. A new breathing machine turned up today (bye bye birdie IPB machine), that requires expiratory effort rather than inspiratory. The morning was a little more of a work out comfort wise, but all in all…pretty darn good. Next update will be coming to you from The Fork….

I will be headed to the Fork on the weekend to hang for the weekend and compete a horse of rebec at southern pines. I will keep updating on her progress but now that she is feelin better im gonna let her speak for herself !! so check out her blog on !! Thanks for all the support

Friday, March 5, 2010

just in case you need a laugh!

So my first visit to rebecca i was telling her a story about when she was in the first emergency room.. unfortunately that story led to laughter which led to tears(bc it hurt) which led to her oxygen dropping and the need for more drugs! DISASTER.. but it was funny.. it might not come over while typing but ill try and tell the story anyway
When the trauma group came to get rebec ready for her little helicopter ride they had to move her from the bed she was in to the movable collapsible thing she was to ride in the helicopter on. They went to move her and she yelled in pain! The nice trauma guy said" we are just going to scooch you over to the other bed" rebecca in classic Canadian fashion said " oh surry(sorry but in canadian) i though you were picking meup" they said " no no just scooching".. 2 sec later they picked rebecca up and she was screaming bc obviously this did not feel good.. when they got her to the next bed she yelled " THAT WAS NOT SCOOCHING".. we all laughed out loud and then felt a bit awkward bc it prob was not the right time.. when i told reb this story that was what sent her into the earlier described laughing disaster!.. when i told Mary this story she pulled up a you tube video hilarious! all about cross country snow boarding and SCOOCHING! its a must watch .. hope that left you with a laugh( and def confirms the hospital lift was not SCOOCHING!)

Not so funny

So today was what we expected... the pain has hit. In rebeccas words the epidural was a tease. Sometimes the worst pain is not the sharp ones but the pain you can not escape. So far we are still trying to figure out a way to stay ahead of the pain.. Meaning Percocet every 4 hours, Codon 2 times a day , small bits of morphine in between.. and its very tough to get it all right. The doctors have been upping amounts and rebecca has been trying to find comfort with different positions but all of this seems to have little effect.
Everyone is fighting to keep the mental game in action since the physical game seems to be losing its battle. I know up until this point keeping some humor in action was helping but now we are looking at the calendar and finding comfort in the fact that we are 5 days in .. and also reading some comments left by people that have had similar issues, saying they were almost fully recovered in 6 weeks and that things got much better after a week.. so we are creeping at a snails pace closer ..Rebeccas room is filled with flowers and showers of support every message and well wish really is helping keep a smile on rebecs face.. thanks for all the support .. im going to copy Mary's blog here .. Rebeccas blog on her website is now being updated so please check there as well for updates.. that

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Life continues!

So today I was planning on getting back to Charlotte but did not happen.. I did however speak to reb. on a few occations from "how are ya today girl?" to " so how much is the price on this horse? and what level is your student going this weekend? and "does that horse jump ditches?" oh and by the way " how is your punctured lung today?" .. you know all the normal things people text about!
So epidural removal got postponed till tomorrow so i stayed at home today and took care of my ponies and mearly walked in and aknowledge the amazing job Little Rebecca, Lynn,Jenna, Susan and the rest of the gang are doing at rebec barn getting horses not only riden but organized to go home on the weekend. Today once again I was amazed how everyone is so willing to just jump in and do what they can no questions asked. The amazing thing to me is the smile on everyones face and thats not excluding Rebecca ..the ability to say this is the situation... lets deal and lets make sure everyone is ok.
So Mary has sent me a blog post of todays activities.. Rebecca did say it was a rough morning.. but by the afternoon she had figured out a system.. typical rebecca! so thanks for your continued support and much love to Jan and Courtney King-Dye.

Thursday was a tougher day for Rebec. An uncomfortable start to the morning prompted anesthesia to leave the epidural in one more day. Things remained a bit more of a struggle however... just that one step forward - two stepsback kind of path that is of course to be expected - but comes as a piss off anyway!!She sprinted around the hallways at noon - but struggled again with increasing pain / fatigue in the afternoon. It eventually became apparent that the epidural pump was not delivering as it should (sound familiar Daddio ?) Once we got that sorted .... We had our girl back. The good news is we got her nails finally done, and found her ear rings.As of 7:30 this evening we returned to the 11th floor - with two full carts of flowers in tow. The staff could not believe this was all for a single individual! (They obviously don't know Rebec yet). This unit is exclusively trauma and my guess is the staffing / patient ratio is geared much lower than was the case on the 6th. At any rate, the trauma unit is a good place to be.The Epidural comes out first thing tomorrow morning... if push comes to shove - a new one could be installed a tad lower... but we will see. So far we are not a fans of the unscheduled trial run we had today. We both figure best case scenario would be that they take it out just long enough for a shower, and then install a pristine new one for a few more days of grace???For now all is good. Usual evening "course walk". The "office" is open again, with texts and calls getting coherent response.Thanks to Rebecca and Lynne and Susan and Sinead et al.... for keeping the barn in gear. Plan is for the crew to return to the Fork tomorrow (Ithink).Will see what else tomorrow brings..........Later from m & ral! so ill update tomorrow evening on how our girl is doing without the epidural... thank you again for continued support and love to Jan and Courtney King-Dye.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

From Rebec Mom Mary

So I got to the hospital this morning about 7:30 and rebec was already awake and ready to chat! she had a good night other than the fact that her alarm on her phone was still set for 4:30 am .. Pine Top XC morning! so not only was it a day she did not want to redo, she couldnt reach the bloody phone to turn the alarm off! insult to injury.. so the handy call button got the nurse in to turn off the alarm and keep pinetop xc day from happening again.. I left the hospital around 10 and Mary came with me bc its not a good idea to drive your diesel dually truck into the parking garage in a downtown anywhere !! Mary has not only been amazing support and comfort for rebecca she is an excellent traffic controller. She stopped oncoming cars,pedestrians and your occasional wheelchair bound patient while navigating my massive truck down 3 parking decks! not to is her account of the rest of the day...
"Helloooo from the Carolinas,
Quieter day here…sort of. The morning is non stop medical personnel – trauma team types, nurse practitioners, resp tech’s, unit coordinators etc.etc. They basically all need to see Rebecca play the
Breath the Ball Up Game - and all tell her the importance of scoring very well at this game. We are busy here… wash, walk, drink, breathe, move shoulders, cough, drink, sleep… and repeat. She is starting to feel a tad Hungary which must be a good sign as well. Potassium was low… so just as soon as it comes up from the potassium disspensing machine – she will get a hit of that. We have hijacked the “Bird Machine” (intermittent positive pressure) and intend to use it with considerable frequency.
A delegation from the Trauma Team reported that we would be moving back to the Trauma floor once there was a bed available – mostly logistics me thinks – this ward is primarily orthopedics, who of course do not really touch ribs and clavicles.
Visit from Jim C today, and the room flowing with flowers – but nice to have less outside activity and opportunity to get into a solid rehab routine.
Epidural will come out tomorrow – since 4 days is kinda as long as they like to leave em in. That will present a new set of challenges no doubt.
Rebec appreciates and enjoys all the mail and messages….and keeping the blackberry charged keeps me busy !
Love to you all
m & re


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

in case we didn't already know!

reading the chronicle forums!!

6215 cheese and wine party

So we are here in rebeccas new hospital room! I arrived to Carolinas Medical Center and thought I was checking into the Ritz! Mental note if you get your choice of hospital come here!! I keep looking for McDreamy around the next corner bc the everyone here is attractive, overly nice and carrying some type of drug..hmm seems like a good prime time show!.. back to rebecca .. she is doing very well but when talking to her on the phone she comes off like she is completely fine but walking in to the ICU i saw her pretty much answering text with her eyes closed! The epidural is doing wonders and has her able to sit up, stand and walk! Mary ( rebeccas mom) and I were hoping we could keep it going for the next 6 or so weeks while rebec recovers.. i dont think thats an option. About 4 times an hour rebecca has to breath into what we are calling the wind tunnel game! best score is 1500 but the highest score is 4000! She basically has to blow into a machine that raises a little ball .. the point is to help her take a big breath, blow against resistance to help inflate her lungs.. One time every 4 hours she uses the Intermittent Positive Pressure Breathing machine.. ( i need to use it after saying that sentence!!) which pushes air into lungs and to quote mary "like a blow up mattress"..
Susan Beebee showed up with wine and cheese a few hours ago .. so we feel like high schoolers hiding our wine from the nurses ( im pretty sure they are aware, 3 grown women in a hospital room that just happened to bring our own "sippy cups"hmmmmm)
On a serious note I have looked at rebecs chest x rays and she is pretty broken fortunately the epidural is taking care of the pain but we are all a bit nervous bc soon she will have to be taken off of that and start to heal just with the use of normal pain killers. We are all staying positive and have been reading facebook and looking at pictures from Pine Top.. Rebecca will most likely be here for a few more days. The room number is 6215 at Carolina's Medical Center if you wish to call or send anything.. thanks again for your continued support. ( i'm looking at her now and she has fallen asleep with her blackberry in hand so she is getting text as well!)

Reb tues am

Im leaving to head to Charlotte now. I spoke to Rebec a little while ago and she sounds good. She got up and walked down the hall today! Her pain is being kept well under control not only for her comfort but to make sure she can focus on deep breaths to help her lung heal. They hope to move her tonight from ICU if there is a room available and if not tomorrow..Gotta get on the road will update in a bit and let ya know if she is jumpin rope yet!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rebec Monday Evening

So Rebec seems to be in pretty good spirits( prob bc she got her cell phone and an epidural .. i dont know which one she likes more!!).. She is still in ICU but will hopefully be moved tomorrow to another room for a few more days. Conversation this morning was involving the question of surgery but she seems to be doing well so they gave her an epidural to help with pain management and she is really working on her breathing to help with the punctured lung.
She has gotten a lot of text but is not quite up to talking on the phone but is appreciating all the good wishes!.. Im headed to Charlotte tomorrow to check in on our gal im sure she will have sorted out how to text, type on her laptop and made up some exercise routine you can do while being restricted to a hospital bed!

Rebecca Howard

Yesterday at 4:15 Rebecca endured what most event riders fear most, a rotational fall. The fence was a nasty upright at the end of the course. The fence was set at a funny angle and blended into the surrounding boards. Rocky is a horse that Rebecca was 3 on at the Fairhill CCI** in the fall so is quite experienced. Rocky didnt see the jump until it was too late. Rebecca suffered multiple broken ribs,both clavicles are fractured in several places and she has a mild punctured lung. We airlifted her from McDuffy Hospital in Thomson to Charlotte,NC. She is currently in ICU but will hopefully be moved soon. She is classic Rebec and worrying about students,horses and upset about worring people! As usual she is putting on a strong face and cracking jokes but this will be a long painful recovery. My mom and Jim are with her in Charlotte and her mother Mary is on a plane now and will be here tonight. Rocky got up quickly and has not a scratch on him. Rebecca has always been so strong and the shoulder to lean on.. now she needs all of us to keep her positive and her spirits up. So send her texts or messages on Facebook .. as alot of us riders know the hospital is not a fun place so any funny stories would be a welcome distraction. She is on a lot of pain meds so maybe wait a few days to call. We are waiting today to see if she needs any surgery to help her shoulders and the stability of her ribs. I will update here until I can get info for rebeccas personal blog. Yesterday there were a few other bad falls so please keep your thoughts with the other riders as well. thanks xx sinead