Four-star U.S. event rider Sara Kozumplik Murphy was issued a yellow card and 25 penalties for dangerous riding by the ground jury at the Millstreet CCI***, held Aug. 24-27 in County Cork, Ireland. While on cross-country, Murphy took a wrong turn on course, and to correct it she jumped Rubens D’Ysieux over ropes meant to divide galloping lanes.
“To be completely honest with you, it’s 150 percent my fault. I should never have done that,” Murphy said. “I don’t really have any explanation for it. I went down the wrong lane, and I started down. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve come all this way. The horse is going incredibly well, I’m so good on my minute markers.’ And I’m thinking all this in a split second, and I just turned, and I jumped the rope back on to the galloping lane.
“Now that’s really bad behavior, and I feel I cannot even tell you how awful I feel for that split-second decision. I don’t have words for it,” Murphy continued. “I feel like I let everyone down, which I did—I let my horse down, I let everyone that helped me get here down—but I don’t have any excuses. It was a mistake, and I shouldn’t have done it.”
Murphy and “Rubens” were in second place after dressage, but after the card was issued for dangerous riding at the conclusion of her course the 25 additional penalties bumped them down. The pair ended up finishing ninth out of the 12 finishers.
“I know I’m partial to my horse, but Rubens is a very, very, very good horse, and I didn’t want to detract from him,” said Murphy. “I was very careful, even though it was very heartbreaking, that he didn’t have any of that emotion around him because he was so excited and happy, and he cooled down really quickly and knew he had done a great job, so I just didn’t want him to feel bad.”
Murphy has decided to delay her return to the United States and stay in Ireland to continue training with the Pau Horse Trials CCI**** (France) on her radar. Rubens contested a four-star track, the 2016 Rolex Kentucky CCI****, with his former owner Mikki Kuchta, but Kuchta was riding with a broken hand at the time and elected to retire on course. Pau would be Murphy’s first attempt at the level with Rubens, a 12-year-old Selle Français (Balougran—Orenda D’Ysieux, Mr. Blue).
“I only just made that decision today, so I’m going to leave him here in Ireland and give him a holiday and then hopefully re-route to go to Pau,” Murphy said. “We’ll give him a few weeks off. He pulled up really well [from Millstreet], and the vets were all extremely happy with him yesterday, but sometimes things pop up 48 hours after an event. So I’m just making sure he’s OK, and then I’m going to tentatively make plans for Pau from there.”