Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting Back to Work at Windurra

After a marathon drive home from Southern Pines on Sunday night I checked into Christiana Hospital, where some of the top orthopedic surgeons in Delaware performed a routine operation on my tibia. They put a titanium rod down the length of my bone and popped in a couple of screws top and bottom to hold everything in place. 


Dr. Michael Principe was so confident about his job he didn’t even put a cast on there. It’s totally stable and he said I should get nearly normal use out of it in two to three weeks.

The finished product
 I’m taking it day by day and not ruling anything out, so it remains to be seen whether I’ll be fit to ride at Rolex.  Luckily at the moment I feel like I’m very fit and light in my body weight, due to the hard work I've put in so far this year, so it’s mainly a question of whether my leg will be strong enough. I’ll be starting physical rehab for the leg sometime soon.

Our house still looks a bit like a hospital ward.  Silva’s mum Christa is still over from Germany as our in-house nurse and she’s a great cook and keeping everything in ship shape. It's also great emotional support for Silva, who’s undergoing 6-7 hours of therapy every day, then coming home to sleep.

Staying Strong

Silva at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital
 Silva is slowly getting to a point where she can start teaching a couple of lessons each day, and thanks to her girls, all of her horses are in work and looking in good form.

Silva Teaching Again!
 We count ourselves very lucky that we have an awesome, hardworking and dedicated staff; Caitlin’s work load has increased a bit and I’ve got a couple of young riders doing a fantastic job, and I’m thankful to show jumper Mike Walton for coming over and jumping a number of the horses for me. 

We’ve got all the four-star horses in full fitness mode; they went swimming at Mountain Meadows on Wednesday afternoon and my guys galloped them up the mountain this morning.  Obviously I’m keeping an eye on how they’re doing, and teaching the odd lesson here and there. With Silva’s therapy each day, and my keeping an eye on my horses and teaching the odd lesson, we’re busy every day, but I’m enjoying being on cruise control for now, and spending what time I can hanging out on the couch with Silva.


Monday, March 24, 2014

More Videos from Carolina International

Steady Eddie. Allie Conrad Photo

Steady Eddie - Cindy Lawler Photo
Shadow - photo by Cindy Lawler

Goodbye Aiken

Wintry Bridle Creek Farm in Aiken

This year's winter has been a memorable one, mostly due to the appalling weather that we saw in January and February! I still feel like I've had a most successful beginning to the year thanks to the quality of horses that have come my way. I feel blessed to have a phenomenal group of horses backed by some of the nicest people in the world.

I must say I enjoy Aiken immensely due to the fact that a lot of the owners are making the area their winter getaway as well and I enjoy the interaction with them seeing the day to day training process with their horses. Our team of owners and supporters are special not only to me but the staff, allowing them to occasionally sit on their horses, as well as putting on countless BBQ's and social functions ensuring everyone has a good time after working hard all day.

I must also thank my group of superstars: they're a wild and scrappy bunch but they're all extremely hard workers which I very much appreciate. For sure a lot of the success we've seen with the horses is due to the outstanding efforts of everyone who works for me.

The arrival of Shamwari at Bridle Creek
Of course I would like to thank Ilene Boorman for renting her phenomenal farm to us for the winter. Without question it's one of the best training facilities in the area. A big thanks must also go to Peter Barry, Fernanda Kellogg and Kirk Henckels for accommodating Silva and myself and our staff over the winter in Aiken.

I'd also like to thank my coaches and veterinarians Phillip Dutton, Michael Walton and Kevin Keane; it's awesome and inspiring being around these top-class horsemen.

We are back in PA now, where I'll meet with my orthopedic surgeon to plan the best course of action for dealing with a broken shin bone, and our crew and horses will regroup after the trip home to Windurra. I'm happy to be reunited with Silva, as it's the first time I've seen her since she came up from Florida. A huge thanks to everyone for the well-wishes.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Shamwari 4 Photo and Videos from 2014 Carolina International

Boyd and Shamwari 4 into the water. Allie Conrad Photo

Ups and Downs at the Carolina International

Making the best of it
Everyone at the event at Carolina International put on one of the best events I've ever seen this weekend; they made a massive effort which in my opinion rockets their status to one of the best CIC's in America. 

I'm heading back to Pennsylvania, and unfortunately our house is going to look like a hospital ward with Silva hobbling around on a walking frame and me on a pair of crutches! I have to say, though - I was proud to tell Silva that I hurt my leg falling from a horse rather than a scooter.

But let me start from the beginning. Steady Eddie is one of my top young horses, and he made the leap to advanced this year. He's a very careful jumper so I decided to be competitive on him and really go for it at the Carolina International. About half-way around the course, at the Ruins jump -- a vertical to a forward three to a very wide corner -- I was moving along and decided to carve my turn and jump the fence at pace; unfortunately due to Eddie's greenness it came as a surprise to him to see the corner and at the last moment he ducked out. My leg hit the edge of the corner at high speed which knocked me off the Eagle. Right away I knew my leg was broken - the medical staff thew me in the back of the meat wagon and took me to the local hospital for X-rays to confirm that my shin bone took a beating.

Just a little scratch...
...or not
I'll add this to my X-ray collection
I take full responsibility for the accident, it was a very well designed course and in hindsight I made the error of riding Eddie like a seasoned campaigner rather than like the green advanced horse that he is; obviously this is a very frustrating injury to pick up, due to the fact I'm just getting all my ducks lined up in preparation for the spring horse trials.

Bandaged up - they're almost as good as my groom Lindsey

Overall I was extremely pleased with the way all the horses went this weekend. I've got a superb group of top-level horses at the moment and they all put in fantastic dressage tests and good show jumping rounds. I'm hoping the injury to my leg doesn't hold off their improvements for too long.