IRELAND’S Michael Murphy won Ireland’s first medal at the ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark, and first ever para dressage medal at a World Championships when he claimed bronze with his mount Cleverboy in the Grade I para dressage competition after scoring 74.14%.

Latvia’s Rihards Snikus won Latvia’s first ever equestrian gold medal at a European, World, Olympic and Paralympic competition when, on King of the Dance, he scored 78.535% to take the gold in the Grade I, narrowly ahead of defending champion Sara Morganti (ITA), at her third World Championships on Royal Delight, with 78.393%.

Speaking after the prize giving Michael Murphy said: “He’s an amazing horse to go from competing at Grand Prix level dressage to a walk test takes a special horse and he is, he’s amazing! He took it all in his stride and I want to thank my trainer Elder Klatzko for getting me here and for getting Cleverboy here looking and feeling so well and to his owner Bronte Watson”

The Para-Dressage High Performance Director, Debora Pijpers said: “Today was an exciting and very good first day of competition here at the World Championships. Michael Murphy rode a very active and sparkling test and really showed the quality of his Cleverboy. With a score of 74,143% he won a historical bronze medal for Ireland in Grade I.

“I’m very proud of Michael and Cleverboy and his support team. They all showed true sportsmanship and have given it their very best. I want to sincerely thank Sport Ireland, Horse Sport Ireland, Para Equestrian Ireland, and Paralympics Ireland for all their support!”

Horse Sport Ireland Chief Executive, Denis Duggan, said: “This was an outstanding performance from Michael and Cleverboy against the very best in the world. Huge congratulations to Michael, Sue, Debora and the entire team here in Herning. It has been a hugely successful few weeks for HSI’s High Performance teams on the back of last weekend’s team gold medals in Pony Showjumping and Eventing. Today was the first day of the Para dressage and Showjumping competitions here at the World Championships and I would like to wish all competitors the very best of luck in the coming days.”

Michael Murphy and Cleverboy represented Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 where they achieved 4th position, Michael has also represented Ireland at many international events including the Para Dressage European Championships in 2019. Michael is supported by his trainer, Elder Klatzo, his groom, Mollie Sears and his family (Mum Sue, Dad John & brother Patrick) who are instrumental in Michael’s and Cleverboy’s success.