Even the announcer’s voice was cracking when it came time for the Philippa Humphreys Advanced division awards ceremony. Katie Ruppel and Houdini won the class by a landslide 10 points — and a more fitting recipient there could not have been.
While now based in Ocala, Katie is a Michigan girl herself. She grew up right here in Kalamazoo, her family is here, and a lot of the people she grew up riding with were Philippa’s clients.
“Philippa was a great friend to me, and I’m so happy I could honor her by doing well in her division,” Katie says. “It means everything. She is very missed.”
Philippa’s presence has been felt by all this week at Richland, her home turf event. She rode in her first Advanced horse trials here with her self-produced mare, Whoops a Daisy, in 2007. In 2014 she successfully completed the CIC3* on Don and Rockstar, and in addition to competing she has coached many a student here as well.
Her friends and family, including husband Pete and daughter Millie, have been here every day, showing their support for the community that meant so much to their lost loved one. The horse she suffered her accident on at Jersey Fresh, Rich N Famous, was here as well, finishing in the top 10 in the CIC2* with Meghan O’Donoghue.
A frangible table on the CIC3*/Advanced course was painted in her cross country colors …
… and the Advanced division was renamed in her honor. In addition, the highest placed female in the class — Katie — was presented a special prize.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the place when Philippa’s crew walked onto the course for the award-giving, and Katie was crying as she embraced them all. “I love you,” she told the family, teary eyed.
Philippa Humphreys Advanced final top 10: