In the Chronicle’s new series, we follow riders throughout a typical day. First up is five-star event rider Sinead Halpin.
Based in Citra, Florida, with her husband Tik Maynard and her son Brooks Maynard, Halpin has competed at the advanced level since 1999. With her top horse Manoir De Carneville, she finished third in her first Rolex Kentucky CCI5*-L in 2011. They took second at the Land Rover Burghley CCI5*-L (England) in 2012 and were fourth in Kentucky in 2014. She also represented the United States at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in France. She’s blogged for the Chronicle since 2011.
6:30 a.m. Brooks wakes up! Brooks still sleeps in our room in his crib. We are lucky that he is a happy baby, so instead of waking up to an alarm clock, we wake up to a laughing, chatty baby. I am more of a morning person than Tik, so baby and I have our coffee and milk together while Tik works on opening his eyes.
7:45 a.m. The negotiation. The art of distraction is the only thing that helps get Tik and I out the door to the barn when our nanny, Sam, comes in. This is normally the most Brooks cries, but as soon as he goes out the door with Sam and sees a bird or a rock or something shiny he quickly forgets what he was upset about. He gets this from his father.
8 a.m. Arrive at the barn, and the first horse is tacked! The ride board is written up on Mondays, so the girls have the first horses tacked and ready other than the bridle when we arrive. I switch around bits a lot so it actually saves time to let me put the bridle on just in case I am feeling something different than what I have been using.
11 a.m. James Burtwell comes to teach me on Cutty [Cutty Sark]. Tik and I both try to plan at least one lesson a week to keep up with continued education and inspiration. We are always watching finances but both feel continued help is a priority. Brooks tends to show up around the farm during the day as well, which is pretty fun.
12:30 p.m. My support team at Neue Schule shows up to help me fit a horse that is particularly funny in the mouth. I am lucky with the great relationships I have with my sponsors. They are not only providing gear but are a constantly available resource to make sure I get the best out of the horses. I can tell them what I’m feeling, and they can help with the saddle, feed, bit or their specific expertise.
1:30 p.m. Start teaching or riding any of the remaining horses. I tend to ride five or six horses a day. I used to do a lot more, but now my schedule with Brooks and, honestly, more of a commitment to balance has me focused more on the quality of everything I do instead of quantity.
3:30 p.m. Grab Brooks and head to Majestic Oaks for an afternoon cross-country school. This venue is great because they provide golf carts, and it’s super close to my house! Brooks loves the cart, and the owners of the place are wonderful. I actually was teaching a cross-country lesson here when Brooks was 5 days old. He was in the baby carrier, and I held him on the cart while I taught.
4:45 p.m. A quick meditation. I try to get to my sports psychologist at a minimum once a month. One of her strongest suggestions for me was to meditate. My first reaction was, ‘Who has time for that!?’ But if you add up how much random time you spend scrolling on Facebook you can find five minutes to sit still and breathe. This helps me settle from the first part of my day and transition to the next.
5:15 p.m. Head to Orangetheory. My afternoon workouts vary between 3:15, 4:30 or 5:45 depending on my lesson schedule as well as when Tik can take Brooks. Our nanny time is up at 4, so we work together to navigate the rest of the day. My fitness has become a huge priority for me for my sport and my sanity. When Brooks was little I did 6 a.m. classes, but to be honest, now I love our morning time together. Tik is an evening person, so he bathes him and has daddy time while I am at the gym in the afternoon.
7 p.m. Dinner and bed for Brooks! I have been a stickler for keeping a schedule with Brooks since he was very little. Like my horses, he eats at the same time every day and goes to bed at the same time. I cannot control a lot in our schedule with the horses and babies other than when they eat and when they sleep, so I hold that fairly sacred.
8 p.m. Wine timeeeee and dinner. I also try to remember if I had time to shower around now….. [My former groom and fellow eventer] Meg Kep lives with us for the winter, so this adds a whole lot of humor and warmth to our hectic but pretty fabulous lives!