COTH: Sinead Halpin Perfectly Summarizes a Relationship with Horses

Sinead and Tate at Burghley (with Meg photobombing). Photo courtesy of Team SHE. Sinead and Tate at Burghley (with Meg photobombing). Photo courtesy of Team SHE.

“I write this blog to all of those who have loved and lost in this sport at every level. We have cheered for you and cried for you … together.”  — Sinead Halpin

Sinead Halpin penned a fantastic blog for Chronicle of the Horse titled A Student of Empathy. Admitting she has questioned herself and the sport, she then reminds herself how lucky she is to share her life with these wonderful horses. Through success and failure, eventing has taught her what empathy really means: to relate with another being’s emotions.

“We work tirelessly developing a dialogue so we can head into competition — no matter at novice or four-star — looking to answer the questions that are challenging the relationship we have with our horses,” Sinead wrote. “In the beginning, the dialogue notices if the horse is a nervous shipper, and as the years get on, you notice the one tail swish, the ear flick, the odd step, the feeling when that horse says, literally, she is ready or he is not. But no one else knows but you.”

Sinead goes on to explain her relationship with her up and coming superstar mare, On Cue. She reflects on pushing “Q” a bit too fast, too far, causing a fall and blow to their confidence. As a result, Sinead is now taking things slow and steady — Sinead wonders, too steady? — but Max Corcoran says she’ll know when it’s time to put the pedal down again.

These are feelings and relationships that all of us share within this sport, and Sinead has expressed it all in this fantastic piece. Read it here, and then hug your horses today.

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