Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On the Road with Sinead Halpin

A few months ago I was in the middle of a whirlwind of activity. I had had a super run on my advanced horse, Tate, at the CIC 3* at The Fork, qualifying us for Jersey CCI 3*. My business on the other hand was an uphill battle. I was living in Middleburg trying desperately to get the training, sales and teaching back up to where it had been before shutting down to move to England the previous year. I was living on one of my best friend’s couches as I just hadn’t had the time to find a place to live. I was running in circles and not sure if I was getting anything done, and a broken arm caused real insult to injury.

In an effort to keep my mental game on track, since my physical game had a set back, I pulled out some sports psychology books, bought Badmington, Burghley and Rolex DVD’s, and tried to figure out what it was going to take to get to the top of the sport and still get a balance in day to day life.

In one book I read “not push the boat upstream." Instead, it said to survive in nature one must learn to “go with the flow." I quickly realized that is why I was “breaking” literally and figuratively. Why was I continuing to run around in circles, not have consistency in all my horses and not enough business to survive? I decided I needed a fresh start.

I moved to Gladstone, New Jersey where I had friends and peers and there were fewer horses and professionals than Middleburg. I headed back across the pond to get re-inspired and watched some good friends as well as greats such as Mark Todd, Mary King and William Fox-Pitt compete.

Physically healed, I headed to New Jersey. The first event back was one I was glad to get under my belt. I had only jumped a couple of times and I was determined to have a good run. Tate was a star, winning the Intermediate division, and with Geoffrey I placed in the OP division at Stuart Horse Trials. The feeling was more “relief” than “excitement” to be honest.

Since then things have been very positive. I love my new barn in New Jersey. Business is picking up and I have never been hungrier to take advantage of everyday I’m in the tack, and every day with my horses. Tate finished 5th at the CIC3* World Cup Qualifier in Canada last month and Geoffrey finished 2nd in the OP. The young horses at the barn have been stepping up to the plate as well! White Gloves Adamus “racer” just won his first begginer novice and Sir Bally Patrick Ricardo has won his last two Novices on 23's! Tate is headed to the CIC3* at Plantation Field next week and Geoffrey the CIC1*.

I have been lucky enough to remain on the Developing Rider list which made me eligible for a training grant. With the grant I have been able to get help from Show Jumpers Katie Prudant and Anne Kursinski and Dressage rider Betsy Steiner. I have read that most people who have been successful in their business or sport were not handed everything, but when a door opened they walked through without hesitation, or when an opportunity arose they took full advantage of it. I am aware that I have an amazing horse, have positive people surrounding me and am lucky enough to do a job that I love. I plan to take full advantage of every day that I have that.

My goals this season are to have successful outings at Fairhill CCI3* and qualify for Rolex 4* this spring—and I hope both will be great previews for the kind of competition we will see at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games next September. I also plan to enjoy every day on the journey there!

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