Beginnings in Dressage
Michele Murphy started riding dressage in 1980. She was a working student with Mella Van Bruggen in Salinas, CA for several months in 1983 and rode in numerous clinics while attending Colorado State University from 1984 to1988. During that time clinics included rides with Jessica Ransenhausen, Denis Callin, Inez Profe Credo, Major Lindgren, Baron Hans von Blixen Fineke, and Jeff Moore.
From 1981-1989, Michele trained her Percheron TB cross (pictured at left) from a wild 2 year old to Third level. This gelding was successfully shown in Seattle with scores between 65% and 70% in 1989.
Working and Training with Dietrich Von Hopffgarten
Dietrich Von Hopffgarten was an accomplished trainer through Grand Prix and was very sought after and well respected in the Northwestern United States and Canada . Dietrich completed most of his training under Egon Von Neindorff at the Reitinstitut in Karlsruhe and passed on this wonderful knowledge, philosophy, and passion for the horse. Michele was lucky enough to have his oversight both in California at Seabreeze Farms and at Dietrich’s prior farm (Blackwood Farms) in Seattle, WA.
The summer of 1986 Michele started and trained young warmblood horses on a breeding farm in Del Mar, CA. Dietrich Von Hopffgarten provided oversight to the training of the young horses through regular clinics. Michele rode/trained two Second level horses, a Training level horse, and started twenty 3-year-olds. She developed a reputation as a skilled rider and trainer as she successfully showed a mare, with the reputation for being unsafe to ride, with scores above 67%.
Michele was a working student for Dietrich Von Hopffgarten at
Blackwood Farms in Seattle, WA for the summer of 1987 and from 1988 to 1992. Michele was typically assigned 5 horses to ride per day as a part of her stable duties. Most of the horses that Michele rode and trained under Dietrich’s supervision were First level to Fourth level, but Michele also had daily access to school masters trained to Intermediare and Grand Prix levels. She received lessons from Dietrich daily, many of which involved riding Parsi, Dietrich’s Grand Prix exhibition horse.
Currently Michele is riding at Old Town Farms in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her primary mount is an older Westfalian gelding, Postillion, who is trained to Intermediare. Michele also regularly rides other horses at Old Town Farms on an “as needed” basis when owners need her assistance.