Eventers lucky enough to be escaping the winter in Ocala next month will have the exciting opportunity to learn from Irish Olympian and cross country master Joseph Murphy during a three-day jumping clinic.
Held during the week leading up to Ocala Winter I Horse Trials, Joseph’s clinic on Feb. 6-8 at Liz Halliday-Sharp’s Horsepower Equestrian will combine show jumping and cross country fences to get horses and riders tuned up for the competition season.
If you’re not familiar with Joseph, you certainly know many of the horses he produced in Ireland as youngsters. Joseph competed Rio Olympic bronze medalist Mighty Nice at the start his career, including at Le Lion d’Angers as a 5-year-old, before he went to Phillip Dutton.
He also produced Will Faudree’s late four-star partner Andromaque in the early years, as well as Sam Griffiths’ super mare Paulank Brockagh, who won Badminton in 2015 and finished fourth individually in Rio to boost the Australian team to a bronze medal.
Based in Co Down in Northern Ireland, Joseph has represented Ireland at the last four European Championships, as well as competed at the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 World Equestrian Games. He competed in his first CCI4* in 2011 and his since completed 19 four-stars with multiple top-15 finishes at Badminton, Burghley, Luhmühlen and Pau.
Joseph has trained with William Fox-Pitt, Michael Jung, Chris Bartle and Ginny Elliot. Lucky for us in the States, he is keen to share the training technique and philosophy he has developed throughout his career, especially in the jumping phases, during his clinic in Ocala next month.
“I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a good while to go over to the States and see how people train and run their facilities. I also want to show people what I’ve been working on and how I train my horses, particularly in the jumping and cross country, that I feel is a successful way,” Joseph said.
“It’s important to me that people come away with something really important and it sticks with them. I’m not there for people to come and jump a few fences. It’s more for the actual knowledge and intuition and giving them the tools.”
Joseph is preparing for his own competition season this week during Irish team training. With a stellar coaching staff of Ian Woodhead for dressage, Yogi Breisner for cross country, and Ian Fearon for show jumping, the Irish team feels confident in the early lead-up to the 2018 World Equestrian Games.
“All the vibes are positive within the team. We have been trying to raise funds so when it comes to the WEG there are no barriers for funding with training and traveling,” Joseph said. “Now we meet up as a group this week to see which horses are available for WEG and how everyone is feeling and what everyone’s plan will be.”
Joseph represented Ireland at the 2014 World Equestrian Games with his London Olympic partner Electric Cruise, and last year he rode Sportsfield Othello at the European Championships. Now 17, Sportsfield Othello has completed nine CCI4* competitions in his career and will certainly be making a case for a slot on the Irish WEG team.
But Joseph is especially excited about Gorsehill Pearl, who at 13 is now established at three-star level and ready to step up. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she is the one who comes out on top this year,” he said. “In all three phases she is very good. Everything could fall into place for her because the WEG is late enough in the year for her season.”
Joseph plans to start Gorsehill Pearl’s season at Barroca d’Alva in Portugal in March, then run her at a few national events back home in Ireland before aiming for a CCI3* to gain her WEG qualification, most likely at Bramham.
You can get to know Joseph and more of his horses in this video:
Liz Halliday-Sharp and Andrew McConnon, both good friends of Joseph, helped organize the clinic at Liz’s winter base, Horsepower Equestrian, so we have them to thank for bringing this top clinician to our side of the world.
The clinic is filling fast, and Liz recommends early booking to secure your slot. The clinic will combine show jumping and cross country fences and is open to to all levels of riders, from Beginner Novice to Advanced. The clinic will have small group sessions with 80 minute lessons.
The cost is $150 for one day, $290 for two days and $420 for all three days. The price includes the facility fee for Horsepower Equestrian. If you haven’t yet ridden at Horsepower Equestrian, EN strongly encourages you to do so! The cross country course designed by Pam American Games course builder Greg Schlappi is one of the best private facilities in Ocala.