Sinead’s love of horses started at a young age in a small town called Irmo, just outside of Columbia, South Carolina.
“Horses are in her blood,” says her mother and greatest supporter Bernadette Cogdell. “Growing up in Galway, Ireland, our ponies were allowed into the house for tea in the evenings. So when Sinead said, ‘I want a pony for Christmas!’ the request was taken a little more seriously!”
And so it began. The school year was spent riding and taking care of horses at the family farm in South Carolina. By the time high
school came around, Sinead
summers in Middleburg,
VA working for–andtraining
with–Canadian Olympian, Stuart Black.
Under the tutelage of Stuart Black, Sinead achieved an impressive amount as a young rider, including making her Three Star debut at the age of 19 on her horse, Killian. During that competition, she caught the eye of legends David O'Connor and Mark Phillips by being one of only 10 horse and rider combinations to have no jumping or time faults on the championship level course, something that set up her move to the next level.
Sinead topped off her experience with Stuart by winning the
Bromont International Three Day Event in Quebec, Canada.
She left Black’s barn with enhanced skills and a strong work
ethic that would separate her from most in the sport.
That earlier meeting with O’Connor led Sinead to High Acre, home to the O’ConnorEquestrian Team (OCET). Her experience as part of one of the most prestigious eventing teams in the world is one she still regards with great respect and appreciation. Under the watchful eye of David and Karen O’Connor, both US Olympians, Sinead was transformed from a kid with blind ambition to an educated and passionate professional.
While part of the OCET, she had access to the top vets, farriers and horsemen in the world. This fed the business side of her riding career, and strengthened her new position as a partner in Dunlavin Eventing, a venture that specialized in importing top sport horses for re-sale. On the competition front, she was riding everything from babies to seasoned Advanced horses. Her achievements included a multitude horse trial wins, becoming a member of the United States Equestrian Team Developing Rider Program and winningthe prestigious Radnor Hunt National Two Star Championships.
“I met Sinead when she was an 18 year old learning
the ropes of this sport. In the time I've known her,
I've watched her grow from being an outgoing,
aggressive young rider to a solid professional
with real talent and finesse. She’s perservered
through the ups and downs of this sport and come
out stronger and more focused than ever.’’
David O'Connor, US Olympic Gold Medallist,President of the USEF
and Head Coach of the Canadian Olympic Eventing Team
Thanks to the support of Sinead’s sponsors and owners, she was given the opportunity to move to the UK and train with the legends of eventing. Sinead spent six months with Sandy and Mark Phillips, riding for British team member and European Champion, Zara Phillips. Her positive introduction to European eventing left Sinead craving more.
After meeting William Fox-Pitt at Burghley Horse Trials, he offered Sinead the opportunity to head to southern England to experience working for one of the greatest riders of all time. In the ten months Sinead was based
with William, he won two four stars, two three stars
and had three horses on the short list for Beijing
Olympics. She was submerged in the training, fitness and drive that it took to be the best of the best. Sinead had the opportunity to compete four different horses from the Novice level through Intermediate for several different owners. During that time, Carrig LLC purchased her present upper level mount, Manoir De Carneville in Cherbourg, France. Sinead learned first hand what it took to lead a team into international glory... and that made the UK adventure the ultimate eventing experience.
“Sinead was part of my team for the 2008 season, she was a brilliant person to have around and did a fantastic job keeping my horses on track particularly when I was away competing. She schooled the horses on the flat and over fences and it was very obvious to me how well she kept them feeling soft and supple.’’
William Fox-Pitt, British Olympic Medallist, Multiple Winner of
Badminton, Burghley and The British Open Ranked #1 in Britain,
#1 Ranked Rider in the world
“Sinead’s experience in England has brought her into her own. I feel she’s incredibly talented with many different types of horses. I think the best of her is yet to come for this country and being competitive with the best riders in the world.’’
Jan Byyny, 2006 World Games Team Member, Pan Am Games Bronze
Medallist, Established Four Star Competitor
With the success of Rolex in the rear view mirror Sinead is looking forward with much excitement. Now already having qualified for the 2012 London Olympics the goal is to keep confirming Tate’s confidence at the top level and aim for Burghley International 4 star in the fall of 2011. There are a few new comers in the barn that will hopefully be making FEI debuts this fall. There is also buzz around the barn about some new and exciting additions to the business at Sinead Halpin Equestrian, but all will have to stay tuned to see what adventures lay ahead!