Sinead Halpin Maynard hosts intimate conversations with experts in the equestrian community to inspire, motivate, and educate. Sinead is a US 5* event rider with several top 10 finishes at the highest level of the sport including 3rd at KY and 2nd at Burghley.
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Austin O’Connor: Eyes on the Prize
In this episode of “In Stride,” Sinead is joined by Irish Olympic event rider Austin O’Connor.
Austin O’Connor won the 2023 Maryland 5* at Fair Hill on Colorado Blue, making it the first CCI5*-L victory by an Irish rider in nearly six decades. Earlier in the 2023 season, Austin finished 3rd at Badminton on Colorado Blue. Austin has represented Ireland at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics, and 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he placed 13th on Colorado Blue. In 2017, Austin was dubbed ‘cross country ride of the day’ with Kilpatrick Knight at Badminton CCI4*, earned a bronze medal in the Irish leg of the FEI Nations Cup at Tattersalls with Balham Houdini, and made an FEI European Championships appearance in Poland with Kilpatrick Knight. In 2020, Austin finished 3rd at the Little Downham CCI4*S and had a clear cross-country round at his first CCI5* at Pau. Austin is currently based in England at Alderbrook Stud, where he produces top-quality horses with his wife, Amy O’Connor.
In this episode, Austin discusses various topics related to producing top horses for his competitive career, including:
• The pressure of competing and learning to refocus when things don’t go as planned.
• How he has designed his business to work with his competitive career.
• His string of up-and-coming horses and the approach he takes to starting young horses.
• His thoughts on frangible technology and designing courses for safety.
• Representing Ireland in the Olympics and the management team’s involvement in his career.
• What he looks for when it comes to finding horses with the potential to do a 4* or 5*.
Join Austin and Sinead in this exciting conversation on producing and competing top horses.
Jake Biernbaum: Developing the Horse and Rider Relationship
In this episode of “In Stride,” Sinead is joined by horse development specialist Jake Biernbaum.
Jake completed a two-year Horse Management Program at Michigan State before working for Parelli Natural Horsemanship on the Ranch Crew and Tour Team. Jake also spent two years as a part of the Parelli Mastery program, graduating as a 3-Star Instructor and Horse Development Specialist. He traveled the country helping horses and humans for 5 years as a Licensed Parelli Instructor. Before his horse career, Jake spent almost 5 years learning at Tom Brown’s Tracker School, where he practiced tracking, wilderness survival, and primitive skills. Jake now teaches clinics across the country and runs a business out of Pear Tree Farm in Citra, Florida, where he builds successful relationships between horses and humans.
In this episode, Jake discusses various topics related to horse and human training, including:
• Working for Pat and Linda Parelli and the education he gained from that experience.
• His approach to teaching pressure, feel, and timing to horses and humans.
• How expectation plays a role in a rider's relationship with their horse.
• Identifying fear in horses and humans and helping them overcome it.
• The difference in the nature of sport horses vs. recreational horses.
Join Jake and Sinead in this exciting conversation on developing horses to be productive members of their community.
Caroline Pamukcu: Doing the Most
In this episode of “In Stride,” Sinead is joined by 5* event rider Caroline Pamukcu.
Caroline Pamukcu made history by winning individual gold and team bronze medals in her championship debut at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago a week after winning the CCI3*-L in Maryland. Caroline competed in the young rider and U25 programs, winning individual and team gold medals at the 2013 FEI North American Youth Championships and placing in the top-10 with two horses in the CCI4*-L U25 at Bramham. Caroline made her CCI5* debut with Spring Easy at the 2017 Kentucky Three-Day Event. She then traveled overseas to train and compete in Great Britain, completing the CCIO4*-S at Aachen and placing third in the CCI4*-L at Millstreet on Islandwood Captain Jack. In the last few years, Caroline’s sales business has grown, selling over 150 horses in partnership with Emil Spadone.
In this episode, Caroline discusses various topics related to balancing a business and a competitive career, including:
• Maintaining a routine and a healthy lifestyle on the road during the competition season.
• How the sales business has helped grow her competitive career.
• How growing up in the young rider and U25 programs helped mold her career.
• The thought process behind deciding who to work and train with.
• Learning to deal with competitive pressure while staying levelheaded.
Join Caroline and Sinead in this exciting conversation on the reality of life on the road as a 5* event rider.
Eric Smiley: Communicating with Horses & Riders
In this episode of “In Stride,” Sinead is joined by Olympic event rider Eric Smiley.
Eric Smiley represented Ireland at two European Eventing Championships, winning team bronze at both, competed at three World Equestrian Games, and has been on four Olympic teams. Eric is also a British Eventing Master Coach, a Fellow of the British Horse Society, and a coach for the 2012 Belgium Olympic Eventing Team. In addition to being a competitor and coach, Eric was formerly an FEI official and on the ground jury at both Burghley and Badminton Horse Trials. He was also the Director of the Golden Saddle Scheme for 18 years, where he helped identify talented children in all equestrian disciplines and was Chairman of Eventing Ireland for a total of 5 years. Eric competed in his last Badminton at 59 years old and now focuses on educating the next generation of riders.
In this episode, Eric discusses various topics related to training and bringing horses up the levels, including:
• Making riding instruction and horse knowledge more accessible.
• The difference between young horse training and re-training horses with a previous career.
• The importance of keeping the training consistent and simple.
• The physical and mental maturity of horses at a certain age and how that is reflected in young horse championships.
• Training horses to be good decision-makers and not dependent on the rider in cross-country or show jumping.
Join Eric and Sinead in this exciting conversation on training horses with simplicity and clarity.
Allison Springer: Aiming for Longevity
In this episode of “In Stride,” Sinead is joined by 5* event rider Allison Springer.
Allison Springer is a well-known three-day eventer that is based in The Plains, Virginia. Allison’s business includes competing at the top level, training client horses, and coaching professionals and amateurs. She has competed at some of the most prestigious events around the world, including Land Rover Kentucky and Land Rover Burghley. Allison has been named to the USEF High Performance Training List multiple times on multiple horses and was an alternate for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In this episode, Allison discusses various topics related to creating longevity in her career and business, including:
• The importance of balance and a strong support system.
• Recommendations for taking care of one’s mental and physical health.
• Creating opportunities to make money within her business and the challenge of making a living as a professional.
• Her approach to dealing with fear and nerves.
• Knowing when a horse should move up a level or stay home and continue training.
Join Allison and Sinead in this exciting conversation on creating longevity within the industry.
Shae McMaster: Finding Happiness Through Physical and Mental Health
In this episode of “In Stride,” Sinead is joined by founder of The Enlightened Athlete and host of the Get Uncomfortable podcast Shae McMaster.
Shae McMaster completed the exercise program at Hastings College before starting his personal training and nutrition coaching business “Enlightened Athlete”. The business started with a gym in Hastings, Nebraska, and transitioned to one-on-one training after COVID–19. Shae also has a podcast, “Get Uncomfortable,” where he and his guest discuss using obstacles and adversity to their advantage. The podcast also covers different practices to improve one's mental health, physical health, and mindset.
In this episode, Shae discusses various topics related to mental and physical health, including:
• The purpose of “Enlightened Athlete” and what led him to start the business.
• The positive effect of being challenged and why discomfort can be an advantage.
• Dealing with stress properly and the 5-step process of releasing stress and anxiety.
• Optimizing downtime and staying present throughout the day.
• How he integrates breath work into his coaching and daily life.
Join Shae and Sinead in this exciting conversation on improving the overall quality of life.
Sinead, I have l loved following you and TIk on your journey of horsemanship! I love that two very impressionable people are daring to step up and say that “there are better ways of horsemanship, now that we have better understanding”.
The Mastermind episodes were over the top’
Thank you Will, Tamie, Sinead, and especially Jon, for being real, honest and vulnerable for the world to see. I have such a deep respect for all. Being vulnerable is probably my biggest obstacle, but after these 4 episodes I have courage to “open that door “.
I have ridden and taken lesson for years, but never competed in a formal environment bc of the fear of being judged…. I thought I was alone in that thought. Had I heard this podcast years ago I may have actually competed. Thank you all so much!
The Masterminds will Blow your Mind
I’ve left a review before but I just finished the 4th mastermind with Natalie and Oh. My. Gosh. All I have to say is wow. So many amazing take aways in the those episodes. I cried, laughed, cried more, (not a crier) and was inspired so immensely. The people in our sport really are just amazingly gritty, inspiring individuals.
Great platform, great podcast, MANY golden nuggets to be found in every lesson and every interview. Well done.