IRELAND’s Michael Murphy (25) took Irish para dressage to new levels in the last week, claiming two bronze medals at the FEI World Para Dressage Championships at Herning in Denmark.
As reported in last week’s paper, Murphy won Ireland’s first ever para dressage World Championship medal in Wednesday’s Individual Grade I competition with the 15-year-old Cleverboy, owned by himself, Sue and John Murphy, Bronte Watson and Elder Klatzko.
He also placed third in Friday’s team competition, which did not provide individual medals, and helped the Irish team of Tamsin Addison, Rosemary Gaffney (Chantal) and Kate Kerr Horan (Serafina T) finished ninth of the 18 teams in the competition.
Murphy won his second bronze medal in Sunday’s Freestyle to Music when he scored an excellent 78.38% to cap an outstanding week. Italy’s Sara Morganti reversed placings from earlier in the week with Latvia’s Rihards Snikus and took the gold medal with a score of 80.65%, while silver went to Snikus on a score of 78.40%.
Murphy’s new Freestyle floor plan was a treat to watch and he said it was the best Cleverboy ever felt in a test, riding to the occasion in the big atmosphere. “That’s by far the best that he’s gone round that test. It’s a difficult test to ride, but you’ve got to make it challenging at this level. And he was so good in there, he was with me the whole way. He was so relaxed and ready to do the next move. It was a dream to ride,” Murphy said afterwards.
Good job! Murphy Michael and Cleverboy \ Holcbecher/Lafrentz
Horse Sport Ireland’s para dressage High Performance Director, Debora Pijpers, said: “I am very proud of how all four Irish para dressage combinations presented themselves this World Championships.
“Highlights were absolutely Michael Murphy and Cleverboy obtaining a historical bronze medal in the individual competition and a bronze medal again in the Freestyle (Grade I), with a gap of 0,013% separating them from a silver medal.
“The aim for the team result was to achieve a top 12 position, so I’m very pleased with the 9th position and the promising scores (76,072%, 69,824%, 67,975%) that contributed to this. I feel that each rider as an individual but also our team has grown from all valuable experiences in Tokyo last year. We are very happy with the results now and we are motivated and inspired to develop and improve our team further!”
Horse Sport Ireland CEO, Denis Duggan, said: “For Michael to come away from these Championships with two medals and a top 10 finish for our team is just reward for the incredible effort he and the entire High Performance squad, led by Debora Pijpers, have put in. I want to congratulate Michael and his family, support team, trainers and of course the owners of Cleverboy – Bronte Watson, Elder Klatzko, Sue Murphy and John Murphy.
“The past few weeks have been incredible for Irish equestrian sport with numerous European Championship medal wins, two World Championship medals and Olympic qualification for our senior Show Jumping team and we look forward to celebrating these achievements together at the Dublin Horse Show.”