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Sinead Halpin in Nancy Jaffer's column: "If they really wanted me...'

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  • Sinead Halpin in Nancy Jaffer's column: "If they really wanted me...'

    Rain washes out Halpin's chance to prove her Olympic mettle

    Good interview with Sinead. Her frustration is both obvious and very deserved.
    Last edited by JER; Jul. 9, 2012, 02:25 PM. Reason: fixed link

  • #2
    Um, this links to some guitar boy story from Nashville.
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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    Comment


    • #3
      Correct link:
      http://www.nj.com/sports/njsports/in...on_trying.html

      Comment


      • #4
        http://www.nj.com/sports/njsports/in...on_trying.html

        opps! double post - sorry!
        Barn rat for life

        Comment


        • #5
          The article can be found here: http://www.nj.com/sports/njsports/in...on_trying.html

          Comment


          • #6
            "That's something all of us are sensitive about on the world stage,'' she said, agreeing with the selectors' concern.

            Ahhhhh...the Olympic politics, of having to worry about what the uneducated world will "think" about Tates bleeding issue. Really? He belongs there as much (or more) than any of them. Let the big horse run!!
            ******************************
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Neigh-Neigh View Post
              "That's something all of us are sensitive about on the world stage,'' she said, agreeing with the selectors' concern.

              Ahhhhh...the Olympic politics, of having to worry about what the uneducated world will "think" about Tates bleeding issue. Really? He belongs there as much (or more) than any of them. Let the big horse run!!
              I don't think it's necessarily an issue the uneducated masses will worry about. The PETA freaks and other animal right-wingnuts are the ones I'd be worried about. Wait a second...those ARE the uneducated masses!

              That is a possible major sh!tstorm brewing...an Olympic horse bleeding after the event? Abuse allegations would be started like wildfire. I do agree that he belongs there. I do NOT claim to be nearly as educated about all the horse/rider pairs as most of you, but from what I have read and see they deserved the spot.

              Hell, shove a couple of maxi pads up his nose...he'll be fine...

              Kidding.
              runnjump86 Instagram

              Horse Junkies United guest blogger

              Comment


              • #8
                The animal rights zealots ALREADY think we are abusing our animals by running them XC at all, especially at the UL. I really don't think a minor nose bleed will inflame their position on the issue, especially when we have the occasional on-course injuries (or worse) to feed their wrath.
                Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                The Grove at Five Points

                Comment


                • #9
                  Is the issue about the public/PETA though?

                  I thought that horses seen bleeding at FEI events were eliminated, so it was a potential risk of non-completion.

                  As much as I would have loved to see her included, I didn't interpret the decision as exclusively a PR one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Beam Me Up View Post
                    Is the issue about the public/PETA though?

                    I thought that horses seen bleeding at FEI events were eliminated, so it was a potential risk of non-completion.

                    As much as I would have loved to see her included, I didn't interpret the decision as exclusively a PR one.
                    Agreed. I was responding to runNjump's post.

                    We hashed the bleeding issue at length on the other thread (Olympic team announced).
                    Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                    The Grove at Five Points

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If the horse pulled up after cross country with a nose bleed would he still be eliminated? I don't know the exact definition of the rule. Is it just during the duration of the course, or for the entire event?

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Sinead points out that the bleeding issue is something she's investigated with vets and that they know how to control it.

                        Clearly, she wasn't wanted for the team.

                        I have zero idea what the situation is with the selectors but there was another odd incident of what looks like internecine warfare among those in charge. When Marilyn Little-Meredith withdrew from the short list, the Chronicle reported:

                        Rex passed USEF veterinary inspections prior to the naming of the short list on June 11, but a subsequent bone scan requested by a USEF representative on June 13 and a second veterinary opinion independent of USEF team veterinarians Dr. Catherine Kohn and Dr. Brendan Furlong was considered. Pursuant to that evaluation, the decision was made to withdraw Rex.
                        So there's evidence of discord and perhaps also a little backbiting. But then it's an Olympic year.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JER View Post
                          Sinead points out that the bleeding issue is something she's investigated with vets and that they know how to control it.

                          Clearly, she wasn't wanted for the team.
                          That's pretty much conjecture, IMO. The selectors have not stated their reasoning to anyone. Sinead seems to be speculating, as are we all. No where has Sinead stated that the selectors specifically gave her a reason as to why she wasn't on the team.

                          The truth is that Sinead and Tate underperformed in dressage at Barbury. So did several other riders, but not as much as Sinead in my opinion. Everyone knows they are better, and consistently score much better on the flat. Before Barbury, I thought she had the spot locked up, but I was really worried for her after seeing her flat score.

                          I would have put her on the team over Will C. But I'm not a selector. I'd bet money that it truly was the bloody nose thing that kept her off the team, particularly because Sinead outright said that she never specifically discussed the issue with the selectors.

                          However, I'd be very, very careful if I were Sinead about what I said to the press and public before the Olympics. She's now written a blog, given a radio interview (I think), and been interviewed for a news article. In the blog, she sounds disappointed but gracious. In the article, on the other hand, her comments sound very, very close to verging on accusatory in my opinion. They aren't yet, but they feel like they are toeing the line to me.

                          There's still time before the Olympics. There's a good chance one of the horses will be forced to WD. I think Sinead really would only be a replacement for Will C or KOC. Mystery Whisper is replaced by Mighty Nice, Otis would be replaced by Neville, Ringwood Magister by Arthur. Still, Sinead needs to be really, really careful to not even appear to say anything negative about the process until after the Olympics. Then, she can say anything she wants. (Although, the selectors might have long memories if she says anything too drastic.)

                          As much as everyone hates it, being politically correct is important to make the team. Playing the game is part of that, and Sinead has been very good at what she says to the public so far. At this point though, I'd err on the side of silence until the fat lady sings, so to say. It ain't over 'til it's over.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JER View Post
                            Sinead points out that the bleeding issue is something she's investigated with vets and that they know how to control it.

                            Clearly, she wasn't wanted for the team.
                            Except that it wasn't controlled at Barbury - the horse bled.

                            The reality is that we don't know if the bleeding issue was a factor at all when the selectors made their decision, or if it was THE deciding factor.

                            Sinead has indicated that she wishes she had had an opportunity to better explain the situation to the selectors. On the one hand, the fact that the selectors didn't ask her to provide an explanation prior to making the decision could suggest that it wasn't a factor in the decision, that she wasn't going to be selected either way.

                            On the other hand, the fact that it wasn't controlled at Barbury may just have been enough for them to conclude that the pair presented too high a risk. As was hashed out in another thread - one would imagine that the selectors had to wonder about what would happen if he bled on course.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Divine Comedy View Post
                              Before Barbury, I thought she had the spot locked up, but I was really worried for her after seeing her flat score.

                              ....

                              There's still time before the Olympics. There's a good chance one of the horses will be forced to WD. I think Sinead really would only be a replacement for Will C or KOC.

                              ....

                              As much as everyone hates it, being politically correct is important to make the team. Playing the game is part of that, and Sinead has been very good at what she says to the public so far. At this point though, I'd err on the side of silence until the fat lady sings, so to say. It ain't over 'til it's over.
                              Divine: I could not agree more. There are three L-O-N-G weeks until the games. A lot can happen and I think that she is still a viable candidate. I can see why she would be initially devastated - after a lot of hard work not being chosen in the first string would sting. But a lot can happen and now it's time to bide her time. Which will not be easy... but the door has not closed yet.
                              "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Remember Paddy was pulled just before the first jog at WEG so anything can happen.

                                I think there are things that were learned. I have read all the interviews, blog posts, and facebook postings. Everyone seems to be on pins and needles. I wish I could tell them all to take a chill pill and have fun! Someone must be making them all nuts over there.

                                You know, I think it is actually a relief not to be actually named, as now they are free to go and shop for horses, socialize with other countries' riders, etc. and have some fun, but still keep riding the horses and keep them fit in the beautiful English countryside, it just couldn't more more heavenly. How fortunate these young riders are to be there at this time in the sport, no matter what, it is still a privilege, and I'd like to hear a bit more humbleness and bit less bitching. But that's just me.
                                Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Divine Comedy View Post
                                  I'd bet money that it truly was the bloody nose thing that kept her off the team, particularly because Sinead outright said that she never specifically discussed the issue with the selectors.
                                  If the selectors wanted Sinead on the team, you'd think they'd have asked her about it. Or you'd think they'd have discovered it over the course of the several in-depth vetting sessions. Or, perhaps, it would have come up in the dozens of discussions Sinead had with CMP and the USEF entourage. There were also those coaching sessions, working on dressage with CMP and jumping with Lauren Hough.

                                  I find it hard to believe that Sinead's horse was anything less than a known quantity to the USEFers. If he was, then they don't seem all that competent.

                                  But then again, this is a team that was about to bring an unsound horse to the UK, if the Rovano Rex withdrawal is taken at face value. I wonder why that one unnamed 'USEF official' requested a veterinary opinion that was 'independent of USEF team veterinarians'.

                                  Originally posted by Divine Comedy View Post
                                  However, I'd be very, very careful if I were Sinead about what I said to the press and public before the Olympics.
                                  Why? Why not be straightforward and honest? It has to start somewhere in this process, so why not make it start with you?

                                  Originally posted by Divine Comedy View Post
                                  There's still time before the Olympics. There's a good chance one of the horses will be forced to WD. ... Still, Sinead needs to be really, really careful to not even appear to say anything negative about the process until after the Olympics. Then, she can say anything she wants. (Although, the selectors might have long memories if she says anything too drastic.)
                                  So what you're saying is the selectors will choose someone who plays the political game over the most qualified horse/rider combination. That says a lot about how you really feel about the integrity of the selection process and the ethics of those involved.

                                  It's a fear-based system with serious ethical lapses. No point in perpetuating it or even playing along with it.

                                  Sinead has been honest and open in her blogs and interviews. She's shared her life and dreams and self-criticism and high and lows with us, and she's continued to do so through this latest round of disappointment. That she can maintain this wonderful, generous attitude at a time like this makes me admire her all the more.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Sinead is the kind of person I'd gladly support through donations should she decide to do a fundraiser for whatever purpose. She is very classy, a very nice person and has done a lot of good for riders of all levels in her area.

                                    I hope someday to see her have all the opportunities she so richly deserves.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      If the selectors wanted Sinead on the team, you'd think they'd have asked her about it.
                                      Maybe. Maybe not. I don't get the impression that the selection process allows much room for explanations. On the other hand, maybe explanations could be given for so many things that the selectors prefer to draw conclusions on their own from the vet findings, an un-biased view of the horse in their view. But when you say, 'you'd think', you're assuming things.

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      Or you'd think they'd have discovered it over the course of the several in-depth vetting sessions.
                                      How many times has Tate been vetted for the US Team? He never got vetted for 2010 WEG. The horses on the Short/Long/DR lists aren't vetted before being put on the training lists, so he wasn't vetted then. The first time Tate was probably vetted for the US Team was right before he shipped for England. So he's had two vettings. And the source of nose bleeds are tough to find spontaneously if they aren't actually flowing. I'd be surprised if a vet figured out the nose bleeding tendency if Tate didn't actually have an active bleed AND the vet was unaware that he was prone to them.

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      Or, perhaps, it would have come up in the dozens of discussions Sinead had with CMP and the USEF entourage.
                                      Again, maybe. Maybe not. As I've said before, it may not have ever crossed Sinead's mind to even mention it, since it was well managed and hadn't been a concern since he ran 2*'s.

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      There were also those coaching sessions, working on dressage with CMP and jumping with Lauren Hough.
                                      Those aren't generally a place or time to disclose minor medical facts about your horse that haven't been a factor. They are very much lessons. Also, CMP/Lauren Hough aren't selectors. Even if she told one of them, they may not have said anything to the selectors.

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      I find it hard to believe that Sinead's horse was anything less than a known quantity to the USEFers. If he was, then they don't seem all that competent.
                                      Maybe they did have all the facts. Maybe they knew everything about the horse, but just decided in the end that the risk of a nose bleed causing an elimination was unacceptable. Maybe it WAS her dressage score that sunk her. While I realize politics plays into this, I believe Sinead has been very good at playing the game, and I don't believe they would have left her off simply because they didn't like her as a person. I think they DO like her.

                                      However, to imply that they are incompetent if they didn't know all the facts is pretty arrogant of you, in my opinion. If Sinead never imparted that there was an issue, why would the selectors think to ask about a nose bleed specifically? And if all major vet issues from the past few years were required to be disclosed, perhaps Sinead felt it was minor enough to not really count. You never know, and you can never assume that anything was disclosed or said on either side unless someone specifically states that it was. And from all I've seen Sinead write, she has never said that the selectors were previously aware of the nose bleeding tendency. She often says she wishes she could have discussed it with them, which to me implies that it was a situation they were previously unaware of; otherwise, why would she need to explain it? However, even though the implication is there, I couldn't say definitively either way.

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      But then again, this is a team that was about to bring an unsound horse to the UK, if the Rovano Rex withdrawal is taken at face value. I wonder why that one unnamed 'USEF official' requested a veterinary opinion that was 'independent of USEF team veterinarians'.
                                      Because vet checks aren't perfect. Just as with a nose bleed, unless you know there might be an issue in a certain area, it's impossible to know everything that is wrong with a horse, no matter how thoroughly you check it. Even when you buy a horse, a vet check doesn't rule out having a lame horse a few months down the road. As thorough as vet checks can be, it's impossible to examine everything. I believe there was something up with Rovano Rex that the selectors were initially unaware of. While there was an issue at Rolex, MLM stated it was merely a bump, and may have told the selectors it was resolved.

                                      However, if you know there's an issue, you might want to vet check further into a particular area. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the selectors got a tip from an independent, reliable source that maybe not all was not right with Rex and called another vet check, pinpointing the specific area. Upon re-inspection, the injury was found because they were now specifically looking for it, and MLM withdrew.

                                      That's a pretty straightforward possible explanation.

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post

                                      Why? Why not be straightforward and honest? It has to start somewhere in this process, so why not make it start with you?
                                      That's all and well to say, but when it starts with you, you often don't reap the benefits of the path you are paving. If Sinead's goals in the near future include being on US Team's (as they obviously do), she needs to play the game that is in place now.

                                      Also, one can be straightforward and honest without saying everything on their mind. I'm not saying she needs to lie, at all, or even twist the truth. I would never condone that. She simply needs to be careful about how she phrases her disappointment to avoid insinuating the selectors led her on, etc. Eve if she feels that they did, they may not have done it intentionally, and might feel offended that she thinks they would do that intentionally. This is not the time to air those concerns (and I'd be wary of doing so even after the Games if I were here, although it would certainly be a better time to do it.)

                                      And really, let's be honest. The real world is this way. You can't just walk around saying anything you want. There will be consequences if you say something that offends someone who has power over you, even if it is honest. If the President makes an honest comment that offends people, he loses votes. If you make a comment in your workplace about your boss (even if everyone is thinking it), your boss could discipline or fire you. I'm not sure why you think the world is free of consequences for total honesty. If you simply think that people should be honest regardless of the consequences, well, not everyone wants to be a 'hero' and say damn the system. Sinead can be a 'hero' if she wants to, but if she says the wrong thing at the wrong time, then her goal is now to change the system, rather than to make the Olympics.

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      So what you're saying is the selectors will choose someone who plays the political game over the most qualified horse/rider combination. That says a lot about how you really feel about the integrity of the selection process and the ethics of those involved.
                                      That's not at all what I said, but thank you for putting words into my mouth. What I am saying is that she shouldn't piss off the selectors with anything she says to the public.

                                      If she were obviously the most qualified candidate, she could say whatever she wanted. But she's not. As I said multiple times, I thought she was until Barbury. But her dressage score at Barbury was the lowest of everyone. While everyone knows that the pair can put in a much better test, the final selection trials is there for a reason. A performance there can make or break you.

                                      Take Shannon Lilley. Prior to the Pan Am selection trials at Richland, most people hadn't heard of her, and didn't expect her to make the team. However, by winning the selection trials, she made herself the obvious choice. Similarly, I believe that the selection trial at Barbury took Sinead from an obvious choice to a bit on par with both Will C and Will F. She finished last in the dressage of all the US horses, and last overall. And of course, the nosebleed. She might have gotten away with either the low dressage or the nosebleed, but not both.

                                      So now she's on par with Will C and Will F. I'd have put Sinead over Will C based on past performance, but I can't crucify the selectors for choosing differently. Will C has been trying just as hard for as long as Sinead to make a team, and isn't any less deserving. All of them played the political game well, so I don't believe that was a factor.

                                      The situation as it stands now is highly likely that Will F and Sinead are both alternates for KOC and Will C. It's unknown who will be the first called on to replace those riders, even Sinead and Will F don't know. The selectors cannot allow those horses to be let down, to have time off, because for all we know, both Mr. M and Twizzel could be injured before the Games. I understand Sinead's frustration; she wants to be able to move on. Unfortunately, that's what being an alternate is. You have to keep training as if you will compete because you might need to be subbed in at the midnight hour. If you assume you won't go and let the horse have time off, you really aren't acting as an alternate anymore.

                                      However, if it comes time to choose between Sinead and Will F, AND if Sinead has crossed the lines and said something that has irritated the selectors (such as saying she was led on, etc.), AND if Sinead and Will F are considered equal risks by the selectors, then yeah, 'political forces' could be a factor. However, I 100% do not believe it would be a conscious decision. I simply believe that if the above situation occurs, the selectors might not even realize their perception has been colored by her comments but still be swayed into picking Will F. The selectors are human after all, and all things being even, I know I'd probably go with the person who made all the right moves politically instead of the person who accused me of things.

                                      If her dream is the Olympics, why should she tip the scales against herself, when by staying silent she maintains a status quo? I don't believe there's much one can do to improve their chances by saying anything publicly other than a gracious statement (as Allison and Sinead and possibly others did after the announcement). If she can't gain anything by speaking publicly, and has the potential to decrease her standing in the subconscious of the selectors, then why say anything? Save it for after the games.

                                      Again I must emphasize that I do not believe that Sinead has crossed the line into accusatory yet. However, I do think she is toeing the line closer than she should.

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      It's a fear-based system with serious ethical lapses. No point in perpetuating it or even playing along with it.
                                      That's your opinion. No system is perfect, obviously. I don't consider it 'fear-based' at all, although it does have other flaws. And maybe you don't see the point of perpetuating or playing along, but if your goal is the Olympics in three weeks time, then this is the system you have to work with. If Sinead wants to work towards changing the system, she should do it after the Games. Somehow, I doubt that's really her goal though.

                                      Besides, isn't DOC about to take over? I imagine we'll be seeing a rather large culture change in the US Team and selections when he takes over. Why don't we wait and see how the system changes under him before we start discussing revolution?

                                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      Sinead has been honest and open in her blogs and interviews. She's shared her life and dreams and self-criticism and high and lows with us, and she's continued to do so through this latest round of disappointment. That she can maintain this wonderful, generous attitude at a time like this makes me admire her all the more.
                                      I completely agree with you on this. I actually very much enjoyed her blog for COTH and teared up a little at it. However, the article you linked left me a little uncomfortable, because as I said before, I feel like she's getting close to the edge.

                                      I greatly admire Sinead as a person and rider. When I was thinking of moving to NJ, I was pretty convinced that I would want to train with her. I really feel for her at this time.

                                      However, I know the selectors are doing the best they can. They must put together a team that they think can win, regardless of public opinion, and which in the end is merely an educated guess. They have to leave people off, which means there will ALWAYS be people unhappy with at least one choice. If the team falls apart, or does badly, the selectors are blamed, but if the team succeeds, they rarely get credit. They worry about their selection choices much more than the rest of us realize. I've personally seen how emotionally exhausting the selection process is to a selector, and it bothers me how much they are vilified. They are doing their best, but they are human, and subject to human foible.

                                      Maybe they are working within a broken system, as some people feel. Regardless of the system, they are hard-working, educated people, trying to do a good job.

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                                      • #20
                                        JER, for someone with your high journalistic standards I am surprised by how easily you decided to take a quote completely out of context and re-arrange it to fit your agenda. Actually, you managed to do it so quickly that they appear on the same page of this post.

                                        In post #12, you provided the below quote that you cited from the Chronicle:

                                        Quote: "Rex passed USEF veterinary inspections prior to the naming of the short list on June 11, but a subsequent bone scan requested by a USEF representative on June 13 and a second veterinary opinion independent of USEF team veterinarians Dr. Catherine Kohn and Dr. Brendan Furlong was considered. Pursuant to that evaluation, the decision was made to withdraw Rex." End quote.

                                        Then, in post #17 you wrote:

                                        Quote: "But then again, this is a team that was about to bring an unsound horse to the UK, if the Rovano Rex withdrawal is taken at face value. I wonder why that one unnamed 'USEF official' requested a veterinary opinion that was 'independent of USEF team veterinarians'." End quote.

                                        The Chronicle quote does NOT state that the USEF official requested an opinion independent of USEF team veterinarians. What it does state is that a bone scan requested by a USEF rep AND a 2nd independent vet opinion were considered.

                                        You keep lambasting people about your high journalistic standards and how embellishing for the sake of a good story (or conspiracy theory) is wrong. Is it only wrong when Boyd M. and Heath R. do it, or is it wrong when you do it as well?
                                        Annabelle Mayr, Arcadia Farm
                                        Home of Fitz, Austria & Erin
                                        Now over the Rainbow Bridge: Daeo, Max, Finn, Jake, Seamus & Pleasure

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