Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023

A Day In The Life With: Sara Kozumplik Murphy



An “A” Pony Club graduate and five-star eventer, Sara Kozumplik Murphy bases out of Overlook Farm in Berryville, Virginia, and Mardanza Farms in Micanopy, Florida. Now 41, Murphy first competed at Rolex Kentucky in 1999 aboard As You Like It, her off-track Pony Club mount, and the pair went on to complete Blenheim, Bramham, Burghley and Badminton in England. Murphy is married to Irish show jumper Brian Murphy and currently has three upper-level horses, Rubens D’Ysieux, Devil Munchkin and Otta B Quality.

She took us through a typical Monday following a horse trials last fall.

4:30 a.m. Wake up. Not sure when I started waking up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. without an alarm, but at this stage I just go with it. Since I don’t have a busy day, I’m doing the 6:15 class at Orangetheory rather than the 4:45. This means I can take longer to get going and enjoy my coffee while checking in on my emails and social media stuff for the business. (OK, maybe some personal memes too.) I also try not to get depressed by the news.

6:15 a.m. Orangetheory. I go about three times a week and do Pilates with my best friend Sharon White on the off days when our schedules match up.

7:15 a.m. Finish Orangetheory, head home and bring my husband Brian a cup of tea. I love how he’s always so confused that it could possibly be morning already.

8-11 a.m. Running late to get on my first horse since I always think I can get 875 things done in 10 minutes. The poor people that work for me!

I check in with my incredible groom Sara Kelson to make sure all is well, then get on Rubens (Rubens D’Ysieux), Kermit (Devil Munchkin) and Otter (Otta B Quality) to stretch them down after the weekend.



I like taking my horses for a stretching ride the day after they work hard. Photo Courtesy Of Sara Kozumplik Murphy

Their legs all look good, and they jogged well, but I find I get the most information from riding them for a few minutes to see what might be a bit sore. I also find dressage to be therapeutic and similar to pilates,  so it’s a great thing to do the day after a hard work. I usually do this with my horses the day after a competition, then a day off the following day. Since Brian has to leave for Tryon, North Carolina, I also stretch his grand prix horses.

9 a.m.  Brian leaves for Tryon with a really cool amateur jumper mare who will be staying there for a week to be tried.

11 a.m. The wonderful Jen Oliver comes to massage my boys and do the students’ horses that are competing on Friday. I try to space out the number of horses we have at each event since I don’t feel like I do a good enough job when I have a ton to ride and a lot of students. I know several people can do this well, but I’ve learned I’m not one of them!


Rubens D’Ysieux enjoys some bodywork. Shannon Brinkman Photo

11 a.m.—2 p.m. Teach a bunch of dressage lessons and ride Alan Montemayor’s lovely AZ. Alan, who is from Mexico, came here to train with us before the CCI2*-L at the Virginia Horse Trials. They had a great weekend, finishing with some time on cross-country and one rail in show jumping.


Alan Montemayor’s AZ. Alan came from Mexico to train with us this year. Photo Courtesy Of Sara Kozumplik Murphy

2 p.m. I send my veterinarian Brendan Furlong a thank you for everything, letting him know that the horses all performed fantastically and felt good today. I adore working with Brendan and his team of fabulous vets. His vast experience and practical approach to managing the health of our horses is hugely important to me and my program.

2:30 p.m. Briefly catch up with my long-suffering office sidekick, Megan Mondschein. She rides a wonderful old eventer of mine and in return tries to organize what actually can’t be managed. We go through some beautiful things that Animo sent and decide what to send back and what to exchange.

3 p.m. Go over my horses’ back measurements with Cathy Frederickson so I can adjust my tack properly as they change in strength and fitness level.



Otta B Quality is one of my up-and-coming upper-level mounts. Photo Courtesy Of Sara Kozumplik Murphy

4 p.m. Spend a half-hour going over my website with Athletux. I just hired them to help me do a better job with my sponsors and explore new opportunities for our business.

4:30 p.m. My dear friend and eventing photographer extraordinaire Shannon Brinkman arrives! I’m so excited to have her stay for a day. We catch up and plan what we need to capture tomorrow. We are going to visit and take a bunch of photos for sponsors, owners, promotional stuff, and for me to just have because she is so unbelievably talented, and I treasure everything she creates.


Shannon Brinkman does a beautiful job capturing my horses (from left) Rubens D’Ysieux, Devil Munchkin and Otta B Quality. Shannon Brinkman Photo

5:30 p.m. My bestie, Sharon, arrives. We hang out on the fence outside the grand prix field at Overlook Farm and go over some horsey things, then get on a conference call for the USEF Eventing Eligible Athletes Committee, on which we both serve.

6:45 p.m. A miracle occurs, and the conference call is wrapped up in under an hour! Sharon’s lovely partner, Henrik Wranaker, arrives, and we all have Thai outside.


There’s often time for a selfie with my pal Rubens. Photo Courtesy Of Sara Kozumplik Murphy

10:30 p.m. Fall into bed.

2 a.m. Brian arrives home from Tryon.



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