Don't Apologize For Being Happy

Apr 16, 2013 - 5:56 AM
Sinead Halpin performed the CIC*** test ride at The Fork aboard Manoir de Carneville, and the gelding has since been cleared to return to galloping and jumping. Photo by Mike McNally.

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. And as a country, the bombings at the Boston Marathon strike fear and anger in the hearts of all, whether you’ve been personally affected or are just watching on NBC.

This makes the small stresses of everyday life seem insignificant. Sometimes these things leave me feeling, for lack of a better word, defeated.

Several years ago I lost a friend who struggled with depression. I had no idea how to cope with the idea or concept of death or how to be proactive with the weight of sadness I felt. But one day I woke up and thought, “OK, enough is enough. I’m lucky to be alive, healthy and doing something I love.”

That day I went for a run, for what seemed like hours, on the back roads of Middleburg, Va., thinking if I was lucky enough to have legs I was going to use them. Then I decided that since I was lucky enough to find a job doing what I love, I wasn’t going to waste my time being miserable because that would almost be abusing a privilege. Instead, I was going to work harder than anyone at that job. When sadness or frustration started creeping in, simple solution: work harder and work to be happy.

Andrzej Kurowski served as an inspiring teacher and mentor for many New Jersey riders. Photo courtesy of Ewa Blum.

At Andrzej’s memorial at Brendan and Wendy Furlong’s house, we laughed, cried and told stories about this one-of-a-kind Polish man. Leaving the house that night I made a quiet promise to myself to read Andrzej’s books and study the notes he left behind (there are notebooks full). This will be what I owe Andrzej—I will be smarter and try to replicate the student he was.

After watching Boston, I’m challenging myself to be healthier, to work at respecting my body and how I treat it. The people affected by the bombings were outside, enjoying a healthy lifestyle, and out of respect for them I will promote what they were out doing.

As for my business and the stress I’ve put on my clients, staff and horses, I’ll work twice as hard to create a wonderful working environment in the future so they keep sticking with me.

On a personal note, everyone at team SHE has been working very hard to get Tate healthy, as well as working to secure his place in our barn with his new syndicate. This hard work has paid off with a happy, healthy Tate, and he’s gotten the thumbs up by team vets to carry on with galloping and jumping work.

We’re very lucky to have Manoir De Carneville back in action. Our tentative plan is to debut at Rebecca Farm, then head to France to compete at Haras Du Pin’s CIC***, then finish up with the Blenheim CCI*** in England.

We need to get our WEG qualification, hence needing a CCI. I don’t feel like Tate owes me another Burghley right now, and with the amount of travel it takes to get to the Pau CCI****, it wouldn’t suit him either. But Blenheim is incredibly competitive, and it’s a track he and I haven’t yet tackled.

I want to take full advantage of being lucky enough to have Tate and his amazing syndicate owners. I’m very proud to announce that On Cue is a completely sold syndicate, and Tate has only one share left. My amazing new members are as follows:

  • Chris Turner
  • Kristin Michaloski
  • Brian, Annie and Kasey Callanan
  • Adrienne Iorio
  • Imogene Hatch
  • Bernadette Cogdell

This group is filled with people who love the horses, the sport of eventing and, lucky for us, having a good time. Every single member stuck with me through Tate’s slight setback, and they’ve been the support group my team needed to stay positive and kicking on. Our team is stronger than ever with our new members.

I also want to thank Jim Cogdell and Carrig LLC. Without Jim’s support, I wouldn’t have Tate, and I can’t imagine my life without that amazing horse. Jim also made this syndicate possible with his business savvy and patience.

I want to end this blog by just saying how lucky I feel to have amazing people and horses around me. No matter what you do, try your best to do it well. And don’t apologize for being happy, because it takes work to be happy and to love the people and animals around you.


Sinead Halpin Equestrian


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