This week has been a rough one at SHE. The business is unfortunately having to change barns in New Jersey due to too many horses at one facility. This is a huge stress on the staff, horses and clients mid-season. At home we also lost a dear friend, Andrzej Kurowski, who showed me what it is to be a true student of the horse. Andrzej started helping me on my flatwork in 2011, right before my first four-star, and his passing leaves me feeling that I didn’t learn all I could from him.
We’re moving right along in team training session season, and as you may have heard or read on Monday, we learned some new information in the recent vet evaluations that’s altered our spring competition plan for Tate. While he’s still in full flatwork and continuing on with the training sessions, our previous plan to do Rolex again seems an unnecessary risk if it could complicate the big picture plan for Team USA and the 2014 WEG in Normandy.
I haven’t worn any type of jewelry for the past month.
After spending six months out of New Jersey last year, between our Florida stint and the summer in Europe, I decided that we should stay in N.J. for January. This would, first and foremost, allow me to earn back some of the money I’d spent on our summer adventures, as well as reconnect with the community that had supported those adventures (one of those people being my wonderful fiancé, Tik).
This seemed like a great idea. Until the temp started dropping below the 30-degree mark.
I rang up my good friend Rebecca Howard the other day, knowing she was at the Boekelo CCI*** in the Netherlands, watching the Nations Cup. I wanted to get the scoop on the performances of our American contingent as well as her impressions of the rest of the field.
If you watch closely at Boekelo, you’re bound to see some of the likely contenders for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Rebecca, like most of our North American riders, did not have a stellar Olympics this year.
I walked around the cross-country warm-up trying to stay calm and focused. I felt at home on the familiar four legs that were carrying me, but there was a smell of nerves and of the unknown so thick you could almost see it sifting in and around the red and white flags.
Every morning when I wake up, the first thought that crosses my mind is: “I am not going to the Olympic Games.”
Then I start my daily pep talks (to myself), and normally by the time I reach the barn I can get a smile on my face. But it’s very difficult in my situation to keep growing as a person and accept the lessons that need to be learned.
So it’s 2:00, and I’m sitting here looking out at the British countryside, trying to figure out a way to narrow down some of the experiences I’ve had since I last blogged. Somehow, after the whirlwind of the last few months, I find myself one week away from a competition that will decide if I get the opportunity to represent my country in the London 2012 Olympic Games… INTENSE!
“OK, I’m just running inside to take a shower. I’ll be out the door in 15 minutes!” I said to Rebecca Howard around 7:15 on Saturday evening. She and I were going to grab a quick dinner to vent/chat about life.
It had been a wild day for S.H.E. (Sinead Halpin Equestrian), with clients in town, five horses at Rocking Horse Horse Trials and eight others to be managed at home, Meg on crutches after a “conversation” with a jump standard, Baby Sarah trying to cope with stepping up to head girl, and me trying to keep it all running smoothly.
About three months ago, I was walking down the grocery aisle with my über-healthy, vegetarian pentathlete boyfriend when he asked me, “If you knew that eating healthy and working out more would get you closer to an Olympic medal, would you start at least eating your greens?”