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Sinead Halpin

October 27, 2011

The Ultimate Sports Fan

I went to a friend’s house the other night for dinner, and as I walked in, I realized by the way our host was decked out in team gear that we were actually there to watch a football game.

I’ve never quite understood how grown men and women get dressed up in team colors and get so involved to the point of literally a “game” ruining their day, week or even month. They have opinions on the players, the coach, they have notes on the venue and tabs on the weather, and they sometimes even know what’s been going on in the players’ personal lives.

September 28, 2011

Who's THAT Rider?

I assume the position: fully dressed for cross-country, sitting on the tack trunk, striking my crop at the grass, adjusting my helmet, fidgeting with my watch and eventually settling into a deep stare at nothing in particular.

Sarah, my working student, asks if I’m all right. She’s not yet been to a competition with me where I’m heading out over an advanced track, and she’s confused by my lack of normal confidence and chatter.

September 6, 2011

Behind The Scenes At Burghley—A Competitor’s View

I’ve timed it perfectly. I can get down to watch Michael Pollard’s dressage test in the riders’ tent at stabling and give myself exactly 25 minutes to get ready for my own dressage test. I already have my top hat and tails ready, and my breeches and shirt are in my bag, which is next to my spurs and boots.

I am literally congratulating myself on being so organized!

August 15, 2011

Bring On Burghley!

Well, we’ve been here a week, and I have to say it’s gone by so slowly and so quickly at the same time! Megan and I were driving home yesterday from Hartpury Horse Trials, and I turned down a horrible song on Radio 1 and asked, “Did we just do a three-star this weekend?” And she said, “Yup, actually this morning.” 

That’s one of the cool things about England—an hour down the road you can run a three-star with William Fox-Pitt, Andrew Nicholson, Bettina Hoy, Mark Todd, and a few Americans you know as well, and be home in time for an early dinner!

August 8, 2011

Over-Prepare, Then Go With The Flow

Tate and Megan have begun their adventure to the U.K., and I am sitting here (while I should be packing!) thinking that in exactly 30 days, whatever is going to happen in Europe will have happened. Time is a funny thing, in that I feel like it was just a few minutes ago when I was writing a blog about entering Rolex, and now here I am about to spend the next month in England preparing for the Land Rover Burghley CCI****.

July 7, 2011

The Logical Question: Did We Need To Go To London?

When I got the call about going to the Olympic Test event I had mixed feelings. My first thought, on a selfish level, was excitement. I certainly was dying to see the venue. But my next thought was, “Is that the best use of USET dollars?” I know we need information about the venue as far as terrain and logistics, but isn’t this why we have our coaches, directors and managers go to the event? 

June 21, 2011

London Calling

We had a very busy Father’s Day at S.H.E.!

We took four horses to compete at the Bucks County Horse Park Horse Trials (Pa.), and I’m really starting to enjoy competing quite a few in one day. If you have not such a great ride on one, you don’t have time to overanalyze—you just get thrown onto the next horse and kick on!

June 17, 2011

You Can Never Have Too Many French Redheads

Exciting news!! We have one more French redhead to add to the team at S.H.E. (As if our barn didn’t have enough “character” already!) 

I’ve taught a few clinics up in Massachusetts at Apple Knoll Farm, one of Adrienne Iorio’s training facilities. Adrienne is a top notch trainer and competitor. She’s competed through the four-star level, ridden in Europe and at the highest competitions stateside. She’s done everything from training with Mark Phillips to spending winters riding with George Morris.

June 10, 2011

You Must Commit To Rhythm And Balance When Jumping

I walked down the barn aisle this morning sweating in the 100-degree weather and feeling frustrated. I was thinking about some mistakes I made in a jump school earlier. 

I really like every jump to count on the preliminary and above horses, because I feel that one less jump I jump at home is one more I will get to jump in competition. If they are making mistakes, then they have to jump a bit more, but when it’s me making the mistakes that causes the need for a few extra jumps I tend to be less than amused with myself. 

May 24, 2011

It's Like Wearing A Billabong Trucker Hat To The Kentucky Derby

I galloped around the show jumping ring at the Virginia Horse Trials this weekend with one hand on the neck strap the other hand clutching my bat, expecting at any moment to be looking up from the dark brown footing in the covered arena.

After I managed to survive two fantastic bucks and one or two intimidating crossrails, I trotted into the indoor with Kim Severson giving me a smile and saying, “That looks like fun!”

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