Meet Philippa Richards - a talented young lady who’s quickly making a name for herself in the U.S. after arriving from England in 2005. Keep your eye on her, we’ll be seeing lots of great results from this talented rider in the future!
(Left: Philippa competing Gentleman Jack, owned by Kate Dernocoeur, at Otter Creek Horse Trials.)
Photos courtesy of Philippa Richards & Liz Lund
Philippa Richards, born 11/16/1982 in Chester, England, sat on her first pony at only two years of age and began taking lessons at age four. She grew up around horses and was in love with them (editor’s note - the name Philip means "friend of horses" and her nickname is "Philly"….I think fate had a hand in Philippa’s future!). Tuesday, Philly’s first pony, was an 18-year-old Highland pony that was given to her as a gift that she used in Pony Club and rode with her hunter trainer. When it was time to get a new horse, Philly advertised as needing a horse in the local paper, and received a phone call about a pony named Pen Pal. He was nine-years-old, stood at 12.2 hands, and had competed in show jumping. She competed in working hunter ponies with him which led to her discovery of hunting and eventing, and she found her true equestrian sport.
(Right: Philly as a youngster learning to ride. Below Left: Philippa & her husband, Peter Humphries, after Richland Park HT 2007.)
After Pen Pal, Philly went three years without owning a horse but she rode anybody else’s horses that she could. She met good friend and trainer Tuffy Tilly who offered to find Philly a horse that she would be able to compete. Then she found her angel, Christian. He was a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse. By the time she was 14-years-old she was winning at Preliminary and rode him to her best dressage score yet of a 17.0 at that level.
After high school, Philly went to University of Leeds, England. She survived the first year of school without a horse but needed one to keep her motivated to continue her education towards earning a degree in Physical Education. Philippa purchased Daisy. Daisy was young, scruffy, and nothing special to look at when Philly first acquired her. Philly started working with Daisy, whom at the time was an unbroken six-year-old ½ Irish Draft and ½ Thoroughbred. Before she came to the United States, Philly competed Daisy through Intermediate and another horse she owned she competed at the one star level. When Philippa moved across the pond to the States, she sold her one-star horse but brought Daisy along because she couldn’t sell her as no one else could ride her.
(Right: Philippa & Whoops A Daisy on their first Advanced course at Richland Park HT 2007, earning 6th place.)
In October of 2005, Philly decided to move to the United States to live with fiancé Pete Humphreys who had lived in the U.S. for twelve years. 2006 was Philippa’s first competition season in the U.S. She ran around a handful of Preliminaries at various shows and jumped double-clear in the one-star at Maui Jim Horse Trials at Lamplight Equestrian Center before Philly moved Daisy back up to Intermediate at Champagne Run held at the Kentucky Horse Park. After Maui Jim in 2006, she began working with Robin Walker, who is from Grass Lake, MI.
Spring 2007 at Otter Creek Horse Trials was the first time that I met Philly. She is young, spunky, knowledgeable and I was instantly intrigued by her background. It was impressive to watch her atop her mare, Whoops A Daisy, as they won the Open Intermediate division at Otter Creek Farm.
(Above Left: Philippa & Whoops A Daisy won the Open Intermediate division at Otter Creek Spring HT 2007.)
Philippa made her Advanced debut at Richland Park Horse Trials in 2007 earning a solid sixth place amongst top four-star competitors and horses like Karen O’Connor on Hugh Knows and Mandiba, Missy Rasenhousen on Critical Decision, Clark Montgomery on Up Spirit, and Jonathan Holling on Tinkatoo, and her trainer, Robin Walker, on Amazing Odyssey. She was on Daisy, the horse that many had believed would never go above Preliminary.
Philly aimed to compete Daisy in a three-star this year but with the ups come the downs of the horse world, and disappointing news hit Philippa in early June of 2008. Sadly, Daisy injured herself and is out of work for the rest of the year. With the mentality of the utmost respected top event riders, Philly wisely decided to give Daisy a full year to recover. Philly understands that her horses must be in top physical and mental condition to compete at the upper levels. Although her three-star dreams have been put on hold for the year, she presses on with her Training horses to further their experience and is currently campaigning for more clients and horses to bring up the levels.
(Right: Philippa riding Atticus, owned by Sarah Hughes, in competition.Left: Philippa riding For the Top, also owned by Sarah Hughes.)
Sarah Hughes is her main client, providing Philly with four mounts. Sarah’s eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding, For the Top, aka Alfie, is currently competing in the Preliminary division aiming for his first one-star this fall. Atticus, a seven year old Thoroughbred is also competing at Preliminary looking to do the one-star in the fall as well. Hot Prospect, aka William, is a seventeen-year-old Thoroughbred who Philippa currently competes in the Intermediate division. Viraldi is a KWPN Registered six-year-old dressage prospect. With miles of legs underneath him, he stands around eighteen hands high! He is young and Philly is looking forward to getting her feet wet with him in the dressage world.
Kate Dernocoeur is owner of Gentleman Jack, a Thoroughbred whom Philly has competed through Intermediate.
Philippa’s groom, Sarah Raby, works hard to keep Philippa’s horses groomed to perfection both at home and at horse shows.
Students of all ages ride with Philly from near and far. One student, Kyleigh Klaasen, 19, has been riding with Philly since the winter of 2005. She says, “Philippa makes riding challenging yet fun and there is never a dull moment.”
Philippa found Oliver, a “Prince Charming” for young student Sarah Chiazza from England and created a match made in heaven. Sarah is thirteen years old and competing at the Novice level.
(Right: Philippa competing Gentleman Jack owned by Kate Dernocoeur.)
Philippa’s students love to be around her, help her at every chance they get, and share the same love for horses that Philippa does. One student, Courtney Ainsworth, third place winner at the 2007 AEC at Training level, says, “Philly pours her heart and soul into not only her own riding, but also her students. I know she cares so much about how we do - it is really an inspiration. I want to do well for her AND myself.”
It takes special talent to be able to bring a horse from nothing, up the levels and to Advanced. Philippa’s favorite horses are the ones that people have given up on, the un-rideable, the ones that people said will never be any good.
Philippa purchased a new horse this summer from Sheridan, Wyoming. Rockstar is a 5 year old Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred that Philly hopes will be a great event horse.
I went to Michigan in June to work with Philippa and value everything I learned during the experience. I can’t wait to return at the end of July for a month until I return to college in the fall.
Visit Philippa’s website at www.pheventing.com - it will be up and running shortly!