Ireland’s Michael Murphy on how disappointment in Tokyo has made him stronger, as he performs well in Herning

  • Ireland’s Michael Murphy is currently holding the silver position in the Orifarm Healthcare FEI World Para Dressage Championships results having ridden a super test for 74.14% in the grade I individual with Cleverboy.

    In Tokyo last year, Michael’s first championship, disaster struck in the individual test when he lost one of his reins. Here though, it was smooth sailing – he and the scopey 15-year-old Vivaldi gelding, a former grand prix ride of co-owner Elder Klatzko, delivered a flowing, harmonious performance. They initially went into the lead, only to be overtaken in the World Para Dressage Championships results by Italy’s Sara Morganti and Royal Delight.

    “Elder had him warmed up beautifully so we were ready to go; it’s quite a big arena with a big buzz, but he was amazing and coped with it all really well,” said Michael.

    Michael explained that their experience in Tokyo, while disappointing at the time, has actually helped him become a stronger competitor.

    “It’s helped me, when conditions are tough and things aren’t going my way, to kind of battle through it and to know I can come back. If anything it has made me more resilient in this type of environment, and almost feel a little bit invincible, like whatever happens I can come back. But I’m very glad that this time around it went better.”

    Cleverboy walks like a big, black panther, prowling around the arena with his ground-covering walk. He and Michael rode a super serpentine and accurate circles, with just one halt slightly letting them down today. It’s testament to Cleverboy’s fantastic temperament that he has been able to switch from grand prix to walk-only tests so well, and it’s clear that he and Michael have developed a very strong partnership.

    “The main thing I was happy with was the fact that we stayed together,” Michael assessed. “There’s so many things that could easily catch his eye but he’d stayed with me.

    “And being able to do the championship test without dropping a rein is, I think, the main achievement,” he chuckled.

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