Sinead Halpin is now a member of Team Absorbine®! Sinead talked about her retired competition partner “Tate”, memories for Rolex and WEG, and her career plans going forward.
While he may have retired from competition, Sinead’s Four Star horse “Tate” is still going strong and enjoying life on the new farm in Florida. Sinead reminisced with us about her journey with Tate, as well as some of her favorite memories.
Absorbine®: You recently retired your partner of many years, Manoir de Carneville, “Tate”. How does it feel to move forward into this next stage of your career?
Sinead: It has been very hard. It was a big change. Tate has been my best friend for ten years. He’s been the driving force behind who I am in a lot of ways. I think what was hard, after taking that part away, was to figure out what my driving force is now. Now, who am I to this sport and to these horses in the future? I think it was very hard to accept that we were at the end of his career. The exciting part about the next steps is that I’m so lucky to have met that horse and to have had the experiences that I did with him. It takes a certain bit of desperation out of my career. Before I was very intense, with an “eye on the prize”, “this is where we’re going” mentality, and I think you have to have a bit of that to get where you’re going in the beginning. It is such a hard sport, every day is a 12 to 14 hour day, and broken bones and hospitals, heartbreak and letdown, but it’s that one awesome moment that gets you through the next twenty bad moments. Tate has been that for me for a very long time. Now, I’ve been able to step back a little bit and look at things in the bigger picture and feel confident that I will get to that level again with hopefully multiple partners, but now I can take a step back and appreciate life and horses and being at the upper levels sustainably, and cultivate that without the same desperation. Often times, I think that doubt drives you: am I good enough?, is this possible?, can I make it? And I just fought until I reached whatever “getting there” means. Then I realize that when you “get there”, you’re not all of a sudden relieved that you made it, you just go back to work the next day. I miss Tate every day: he’s in my barn still, but I miss that bit of my life every day, yet I am also excited about creating something that will be more sustainable long term.
Absorbine®: Could you share a special memory that you shared with Tate?
Sinead: With Tate, I have ten years of memories with him. I think some of my favorite moments with that horse have been those moments where I know him so well that I know that he is going to do a second before he does it. There are so many amazing jog out pictures of Tate and I, because he is so naughty to trot out! At Rolex, and WEG, everywhere, he will go down fine and then when you go to turn him around it’s airs above the ground, with people diving out of the way! You can feel it coming, but you can’t do anything about it, so you just have to laugh about it! It’s the same thing in the dressage phase. For the last three or four years at every major competition, going down the final centerline, halt, salute, he walks three strides and then stops to scratch his nose. It’s just one of those moments that make you smile and think that it’s just him and me in the moment, and then you look around and you’re in the Rolex stadium with thousands of people witnessing your moment. A classic moment that I think will always be the biggest moment for me and Tate was our first Rolex. Jumping clear over the last show jump was a moment where I first realized that we were capable of doing a four star. I remember closing my eyes as his hind feet hit the ground and that moment of fear, waiting for them to say if it was a clear round or not. They called it clear and the crowd went crazy and it was one of those moments where you just can’t believe it. It was the most amazing moment and it was just me and him. There have been a lot of amazing people that have been a part of my career with Tate and I will forever be grateful for the horse for that.