We had a sad loss a few days ago when we suddenly had to say our goodbyes to Murphy. Despite the fact he was almost 29 years old we weren’t expecting to say our goodbyes to Murphy, but sometimes life likes to remind you that anything can happen at any time.

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Murphy and his mom met each other in 1999. Murphy is a thoroughbred and was destined to race, complete with a lip tattoo. For unknown reasons Murphy never actually made it to a race and found himself searching for a second career before his first career every got started. But for a twist of fate Murphy might have been a show hunter, however he crossed his mom’s path when she was looking for a future eventer for herself.

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Murphy’s mom had received a small inheritance when one of her aunts passed, and her parents had told her she could use the money to buy a horse. She ended up trying Murphy and she knew he was the horse for her. The only problem was that Murphy’s asking price was twice as much as her inheritance.

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Murphy’s mom offered his owners everything she had, and then waited for a response. While she was waiting she instructed her mom not to wear the t-shirt she had been wearing when she was around Murphy. She said the t-shirt smelled like Murphy and had some of his hair on it, and she was going to keep the unwashed shirt to remember him forever. Luckily for all, the sellers decided to accept her offer. Murphy had a new mom and the t-shirt was washed.

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Murphy and his mom proceeded to move up the eventing ranks with each other during their years together. She and Murphy started at the beginner novice level on their journey together, and ended up competing all the way through the two-star level in eventing. Their biggest accomplishment together was making the Young Riders’ team for their area and competing at the North American Young Riders’ Championships. For those who are not familiar, it is not easy to make a team, and the courses at the NAYRC are not to be taken lightly.

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As often happens, life and school began to get in the way of riding for Murphy’s mom as she went to graduate school and then became a doctoral candidate. Murphy had started to slow down at that time, and when his mom moved from Louisiana to New England for school, she decided not to take him north and retire him in the harder winters. We were the lucky beneficiaries of that decision, and Murphy made the move to our farm from Louisiana a little over six years ago.

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After we met Murphy it was easy to see why galloping and jumping big cross country courses was easy for him. He had a beautifully balanced gallop and was naturally very light on his feet. He also had the critical “fifth leg” that upper level eventers need to have. When the other horses would be cautiously cantering downhill, Murphy would be effortlessly galloping along, never losing his footing or sliding an inch.

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Murphy on the run with Johnny, Dutch and Samimg_2567

It was a true pleasure to live with Murphy over the last several years. He was the boss of his group but was the ideal alpha, I like to refer to them as benign rulers. He expected things to be orderly but he never went out of his way to assert himself or to reprimand another horse for no reason. Murphy was very interactive with his group and like the good thoroughbred he was, he especially loved to run and play.

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Sadly, after more than six years of enjoying retirement to the fullest, Murphy passed very unexpectedly a few days ago. He was a few months shy of his 29th birthday. It was the type of passing that we hope each of our residents can have; instant and painless. Through more than a decade of boarding retirees, we have only had this happen five times. Every other time we, along with the owners, have had to “play God” and make a decision about when to let go. Despite dealing with such a sudden shock, I find the instant and unexpected passing to be easier on the horse and the people.

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Murphy and his mom were lucky to have 17 years together. Murphy was a consistent presence through many of his mom’s biggest life moments. From high school to college, graduate school and then on to a doctoral program, cross country relocations and marriage, Murphy was always his mom’s biggest fan.   Although we miss Murphy’s crooked blaze and gentle leadership, we feel blessed to have spent over six years with him and can never thank his mom enough for trusting us with care.

Rest in peace Murphy, you are greatly missed.

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Murphy, B-Rad and Aleximg_4494

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Rest in peace Murphy, you are greatly missed.

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The End