Monday, October 29, 2012

Life is good

It has been one of those magical few days where life in my little corner of the world is just good. Friday night, I pulled into Sovana to do a couple work things befor heading home? There, I ran into Densey and Ron Juvonen who invited me to join them for dinner. Turned out, dinner also included Bonnie Stedt, Pierre Colin, Denise Lahey and Boyd and Silva. It was a lovely treat. I enjoyed talking with Pierre about our mutual love of thoroughbreds, hearing from Densey about Camilla's lesson on Remington, and all the talk of horses. It was a kick off to a great horse day Saturday.

Rachel and I took Solo and Keegan to the CT at Blue Goose. We were the only riders doing training level, so coming home with ribbons didn't mean much, but the experience did. Both horses wre very well behaved on the showgrounds, although Keegan demonstrated his biggest spook to date (still pretty much a non-event) at the yellow painted SLOW DOWN on the driveway walking to warmup. He was a bit distracted, but very quiet, perhaps too quiet as the judge's comment was that he needed to move more forward. Much of the test was quite good, inclding 7s on both the stretchy trot circle and free walk. He was much more ready for the training level test than when we attempted it in February. Solo also put in a generally good test, despite some bouncy ballness that he still exhibits so that you know he is ready to jump, the jumping was a soft training level course, but Keegan was absolutely perfect. Solo jumped really well when he wasn't arguing with Rachel instead of just jumping. He really doesn't like not being in charge, but he can *really* jump! So, we headed home happy with the excursion. Rachel then headed off to take Harry cross country schooling. They were going with Bonnie Kibbie and Loki. Bonnie will be riding the lovely grey beast at the Plantation starter next weekend, where Solo is slated to make his eventing debut.

Meanwhile, I headed over to Windurra for a lesson on Remington. I totally understand why Densey said Camilla had a big smile after her lesson. It was so great. Caitlin taught and was certainly kinder about my riding than deserved, but Remi is such a star. I got to do all kinds of fun stuff. I will be keeping the feel of the medium canter in mind as I work with Keegan. We also did canter half pass and some transitions. His canter is super comfy. I am incredibly lucky to have access to such a super opportunity. It is incredibly generous of Caitlin to share her 4* horse. Caitlin is also out of her neck brace and able to drive, so only restricted from riding for two more months.

Sunday was rainy in Chester County as hurricane Sandy started in. I ran a half marathon. It was not rainy in Philadelphia. Then, to beat the storm, I flew out Sunday evening. That meant that after working for a few hours this morning, I got to head to Cobblestone and was treated to a lovely hack on Debi Handler's Josie with Cathy who was riding Sherry's lovely young mare, Rosie. They were both very good out in the blustery wind and it was great to hang at Cobblestone for a bit.

Now off to the purpose of the trip, the Value Based Insurance Design Summit. Look for our white paper on V-BID for devices and procedures being released tomorrow and more horses next week.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Radnor report

I was thrilled to get back to Radnor for the first time since riding Keebler there in 2007. Wow! hard to believe it has been 5 years. It was a really lovely day (at least once it warmed up a little). I broke out the toe warmers for the morning.

After almost needing plan B, when Missy's truck wasn't sure it wanted to start, we got everything sorted and headed out with Ike, Dylan and Keegan aboard (thanks Joe!). Keegan got to graze while Missy and Steph warmed up for and did their dressage tests. I enjoyed chatting with folks while Keegan munched. The Radnor crowd is great, and the event just keeps getting better.

Back to the trailer and on for dressage. Missy was also riding a novice horse, Ory, that belongs to one of her cients. Ory is hunt horse, dipping his hoof into the eventing world. The wonderful Mary Coldren gave us ride times that were back to back, making it easy for Missy to make sure I didn't do anything too boneheaded. I did remove Keegan from the warm up arena to the grass as neither of us really wanted to deal with the crowds, lack of steering by some crowd members or dust. The grass was great, footing wonderful and Keegan more than balanced enough to be fine.

Both Keegan and Ory put in nice tests. Missy agreed that Keegan didn't score as well as either of us expected, a 38, but I was thrilled with how grown up he was and how smoothly the test went. Jumping ahead all 4 horses finished on their dressage scores. Ike's 29.somthng was good enough for first place. That boy is showing every signs of wanting to be a big time horse. Ory rocked his first event, gettting a 3rd. Dylan was 6th and I'm sure Steph is thrilled to be back eventing after 11 months Keegan didn't get a ribbon, but he skipped around the stadium and loped around the xc and was altogether easy to ride and fun to be with. I'm looking forward to some dressage bootcamp with Missy in preparation for the winter season.

Lots of folks were at Radnor. Gloria Cascarino did a great job announcing for dressage and stadium. We all missed Dick Thompson's voice during the cross country. The Radnor organizing committee and the volunteers did a great job with the courses (Jeff did the xc this year and I loved it. The decorations were in the fall spirit, although I think several people (including Steph) may have preferred fewer corn stalks. Keegan took it all in stride and didn't look at anything. I was able to say hello to the Aliquippa crew, the Cairn O'Mount crew, Courtney Cooper, Molly Rosin, Boyd Martin, Ryan Wood, Lance McCue (who set me up with a mimosa for my xc walk - life is good), the Juvonens and many others. I somehow managed to completely miss Caitlin, who was there schooling Camilla, who rode in the novice on her super pony, Tuesday. I did hear that Caitlin walked the whole novice xc with Camilla, which was great news.

Back to Blue Hill and then yummy lamb and wine for dinner with Henry.

Sunday morning was warmer and really lovely. Keegan and I went for a long hack, accompanied on part of it by Laura and Hobbs (who seems to really enjoy the out and about time, but also looks a bit like he is wondering where the start box is). Altogeher a great weekend with the horses.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Creative Cross Country Schooling

I was quite impressed by these pictures of Solo working on his jumping into water skills. He has proved very brave out and about cross country schooling, although he is probably convinced that we are trying to work him to death with all of the hills. This was a bit of creative schooling after all the recent rain. Thanks to Stephanie Cauffman for the pictures.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

That which is Important

My dad once said, referring to work, “I am so busy doing the urgent things, I have a great difficulty making time for the important things.” This applies to life as well. Certainly, I’m not the only person who has had this thought. I looked to see if my dad was quoting someone famous, but didn’t find any specific quotes. I did discover that the urgency/important matrix is part of a lot of time management programs. On a more personal note, I found this blog quite relevant

I had a couple of opportunities over the week to reflect on the important. The first, unfortunately, started when I received a text from Jenna Silliman that Caitlin had fallen off a horse and was en route via ambulance to Christiana Care. A couple of my new colleagues in the Emergency Department were kind enough to go down with me and get instant updates when Caitlin was brought in. Thankfully, she was doing quite well, but there was a skull fracture, so the risk remained. Best guess on cause of injury was the very low probability event that the horse that tripped while Caitlin was riding somehow clipped the back of her head below the helmet (that Caitlin always wears). I spent that evening in the trauma bay and then the SICU with Jenna, Ryan Wood and Caitlin. Rick (Caitlin’s dad), Boyd, and Dom Schramm also all came by and spent some time. Caitlin continued to stay focused with no noticeable neurologic deficit. They repeated the CT scan after 6 hours and things continued to look about the same. After they kicked us out of the ICU, I was able to persuade Jenna to come home to Chadds Ford with me and we spent the night there, and in the morning headed back, finding Caitlin still doing well, although uncomfortable. During the day, she had an MRI and spoke with the neurosurgeon. While still not 100% out of the woods, reasonable optimism was expressed by the neurosurgeon. Since then, Caitlin has continued to improve and will be released to Bryn Mawr rehab later today. The community has rallied around as the eventing community always seems to. Caitlin’s grandparents, Evie Dutton, the Juvonens, Erin Sylvester, Linsey Taylor (from Boyd’s barn) and many, many others have visited and spent substantial time with Caitlin. Jessie (Caitlin’s sister) came down for the weekend, and because she is a trained therapist was able to help with hair washing and all of those things as well as painting Caitlin’s nails bright pink. And in the wake of this, I was reminded again that the important is not that she is a brilliant rider, but that Caitlin is a brilliant human being and I am very proud to have her as a friend. One of her first longer sentences was how badly she felt for poor Felix (the barn worker who was the first on the scene after she fell), and the first phone call she made was to reassure Linsey that she was ok. The important is that through watching and appreciating Caitlin ride, I have a wonderful friend in Jenna. The important is that the eventing community is truly a community, far beyond just a group of people with a common interest and that I have colleagues who care enough to take time from their urgent matters to stand with me by the door to the trauma bay.

I had a second opportunity in the happy event of my friend Steve Baker’s 50th birthday party in Provincetown. It was a gala weekend, meticulously and impressively planned by Steve’s partner, Gavin. We had a lovely dinner Friday evening, a super brunch Saturday morning and a terrific party with amazing food, drink and cakes.

It was great to see Provincetown for the first time, meet Gavin and Steve’s family and reconnect with old friends. As the blog linked above concluded, “the urgent stuff will always be running away from us, but the important stuff — the stuff that gives our life meaning — is waiting patiently with open arms.” And I found this with the weekend. Steve and I have been friends for 23 years, but I haven’t found time to spend with him in the past couple of years. It was great to be able to reconnect and to realize and appreciate that a friendship like this is there, waiting, strong and special as ever, even after recently not nurturing it as well as deserved.
As life stays busy and the to do list stays full of urgent things, I hope that this week keeps front and center in my mind the value of making time and taking time for the important.