Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life is a highway....

I wake up... someone is moving in my bed... wait someone is moving in the bed NEXT to the bed I'm in, that is somewhat of a relief... at least someone is not in my bed, that would be awkward since I'm having trouble recalling the previous night ( Tik is in Florida, I am sure of that .. so no one else should actually be in my bed).. but still who is in the bed next to my bed and where am I actually?

This is what a lot of Event riders/ Rock stars (joke) wake up thinking during the hectic season. The feeling normally subsides within 30 seconds and the reality of the hotel, trailer, friends house or friend of a friends house that you are crashing at sets in. Now that the immediate sense of danger has subsided you are reminded that hitting snooze one more time would be pleasent(unless its cross country morning!!).

Back to who is moving in the bed beside the bed that I am in? ..... It would be Canadian WEG rider Rebecca Howard. Rebecca(my "sister"), good friend Jessi Hargrave and I have just returned from a successful DerbyCross in Florida. We are all crashing at my apartment at the Carlton Arms in Ocala. I look at the alarm and it says 2:45am meaning I have 15 min and then I am headed from the sunny south back to what still is freezing NJ. Rebecca is staying down for a few more days for Canadian training sessions. We all said our goodbyes the night before over margaritas because that is a lot more enjoyable than 3am bad coffee!

Meg and Sara left the night before to get the new barn organized and beat the shipper home. I stayed behind to get 6 horses on the commercial van and then carried on with the dogs and 2 horses to Middleburg,VA. I needed to pick up another horse and break up the 22 hour trip (the dogs are cute but not great conversationalist). The barn we had rented in NJ was a new farm that sounded like it might be a good fit. I couldn't find a spare 2 days in the Florida stint to schedule a trip to NJ to do a pre-screen, so we were working on blind faith. The owners of the property were incredibly kind and very realistic about the fact that it might work and it might not. And so a little over 48 hours after the Sinead Halpin Equestrian Team left Florida I realized ... oh no.. this is not going to work.

As most horse people know, the horses find a home and get fed before the people! So with that in mind, me being the organized and responsible boss I am had not found a place for my girls to live. I did not want to rent a home for them if I was not sure if the barn was going to work. I gave them the keys to my house and called friends, owners, vets , horsemen.... Brendan and Wendy Furlong to see if they had any housing ideas. They kindly took me in to stay as their guest while the girls stayed in my house ( they have been feeding me too well, im never moving out :) )The farm we are at now is lovely and the owners have been fantastic but it is not the perfect match.

I can say that today is the first time I have even been able to write anything down about what has been going on because it has been such an overwhelming experience. Rebecca ( the gal sleeping in the bed next to mine) could, for example, analyze the price of a bale of hay for 3 hours and it used to drive me insane: " its a bale of hay just buy it!".
and I know I would drive her crazy with my " come on it will work it self out, sometimes you gotta just take a risk Rebecca!" personality.

She normally would just look at me as she does, with that look - I'm sure most big sisters give their naive younger sibling without saying a word but the look says " I love you but you silly, silly girl". At 2:45 am when I realized Rebecca was the one moving in the bed next to mine I had no idea I was about to learn the lesson she had known for quite sometime...When you put a horse in your barn, a person in the position of an employee, buy a bale of hay ... the "buck" stops with you so make sure you have a damn good explanation of why you chose the barn, hired the girl and bought the hay!


I have always been very responsible with my horses care and my ultimate goal is to never have them be aware of my daily stress (Currently: trying to find a farm with suitable footing, adequate ride out, bathrooms for clients, safe fencing, a washer/dryer for boots and pads, manure removal, housing for staff on and on.. I could use some gastro gaurd!)...With that

I can happily say I have found a great barn for the horses and we will be moving on Friday. We will also be signing a lease on Friday for the girls house, I will be moving back to my house on Sunday. A week from today Meg, Tate, King, Zeppo, Baloo, myself and Ian will start packing again to spend two weeks in NC for Southern Pines and the Fork. (megan needs gastro guard too)

Lesson learned ... as the President of my business, It is up to me to make sure that the destination of my horses and staff is organized to ensure everyones happienss. - Being the president of my business means more than planning the eventing calendar and letting everything else fall in to place. I realize my girls are troopers and have stepped up to help me considerably and thank god the horses are more concerned with eating the grass in the fields then (The cost of a bale of hay - you could draw from earlier statement to tie it all together)! I am not going to dwell on the fact that I "should have" organized this all better, that is a given. But as Ralph Hill says "you gotta put money in the bank" and this experience added a good amount to the account of lessons learned!

"Life is a highway and I want to ride it all night long
if your going my way i want to drive it all night long"
Tom Cochran

PS- MANOIR DE CARNEVILLE (aka tater) and SINEAD HALPIN are now entered at ROLEX KENTUCKY THREE DAY EVENT ( just as a side note )

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