#Memories4Millie: Remembering Philippa Humphreys

Philippa Humphreys and Rich N Famous at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry. Philippa Humphreys and Rich N Famous at Millbrook. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Several people who were close to Philippa Humphreys are asking the community to share their memories of Philly using the hashtag #Memories4Millie. They will gather these memories and put them into a book that will be presented to her husband, Pete, and 6-month-old daughter Millie.

The idea is that this book will forever be a memorial to a young woman who accomplished so much within her life, and a way for Millie to learn about how special her mother was. Several equestrians have shared their memories on social media. Whether or not you knew Philippa well, your memories will be invaluable in the making of this book.

You can also send letters to Liz Millikin at P.O. Box 282, Millwood, VA 22646. A college fund has also been set up for Millie in her mother’s honor, which you can find here.

Many thanks to Liz Millikin and Aletta Martin for spreading this idea. Aletta, who heads up the Illinois chapter of Canter, shared one of her favorite memories of Philippa with us:

“This weekend, the world lost a great event rider. But it lost something even greater — a new mother with a kind and generous soul. Everyone who knew her will have a story to share, and this is ours.

Jodi Ladner and I run Canter Illinois, a group that helps with retiring racehorses. Philippa was a lover of the OTTB and all that it could do. She scoured the Canter pages weekly looking for her next project. In fact, this is how I reconnected with her.

Many moons ago I was an event rider too. The opposite of Philippa, who was an English girl living in the U.S., I was an American living in the UK. She was a young girl, a teenager, with an intense interest in eventing. She was trained by my trainer Tuffy Tilley, and would ride along to events with us, always wanting to learn more.

Imagine my surprise when decades later I get a message saying, “Is that you on the Canter Illinois videos? I thought I recognized you!” This was the beginning of a very beautiful relationship that we at Canter would have with Philippa. There is one story that we want to share, because it shows who Philly really was.

Three years ago we pulled a Thoroughbred from a field in Illinois who was extremely thin, very lame and in overall bad shape. There was something about him underneath it all, and Philly saw it too. We sent him to a foster and Philly was prepared to take him once he was healthy again.

Things changed quickly and we were suddenly in an emergency situation. With the horse’s life at risk and few options we called Philly in Michigan, who was about an hour and a half away from where the horse was stabled. Without hesitation she jumped in her truck and drove to pick him up.

She arranged emergency care and when it was clear he needed more she rushed him to Michigan State, where sadly after a few days his eye could not be saved and was removed for his comfort and safety. Philly was right back there to pick him up and then proceeded to offer this horse 24 hour care as he needed it.

Do you know what she asked for in return? Nothing. Instead she sent us daily updates on his progress, often saying, “I just wish I had taken him in from the start.” She continued to stay involved with the horse as we found placement for him. Her friends at PHE also chipped in, both physically, emotionally and financially and for that we are forever grateful.

What I am most grateful for, however, is that this brought me back into her life so I could see what a delightful young woman she had become. I could not have been more thrilled for her when she became a mother because I knew she would give motherhood the same energy that she did the rest of her life.”

The EN team and the eventing community continue to offer their deepest condolences to the Humphreys family during this terrible time.

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