Katie Ruppel accepted the Inaugural Philippa Humphreys Award as the highest-placed woman and winner of the Advanced division at Richland Park.
Humphreys died tragically earlier this year while competing at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event. Originally from the UK, Humphreys relocated to Michigan with her then-fiancé, Peter Humphreys in 2005. She had been a staple of Richland Park, making her Advanced level debut in 2007, and returning to the event each year to compete and coach. Because of this, the Advanced division, also a Adequan USEA Gold Cup Qualifier, was named in her honour.
Ruppel held a wire-to-wire lead at Richland Park with her longtime partner Houdini. She and the 12-year-old Thoroughbred scored a 27.7 in the dressage – a two-point improvement from their winning Advanced test at The Fork Horse Trials this spring – added 3.2 time penalties across country and had two rails to finish on a final score of 38.9. The pair won by a 10-point margin proving they were in a league of their own.
An emotional Rupel said: “It means everything. Philippa was a great friend to me. I’m just so happy her family was here and I could honor her by doing well in her division. She’s so missed.”
In the rest of the division, the leaderboard shuffled and there were few fault-free rounds. Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras had one of only two double clear rides in the show jumping for a second place finish. The eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood, owned by Debbie Adams and Jacqueline Mars, had a very solid weekend, which was apparent as he glided easily over the terrain at Richland Park.
“I don’t think I’ve ever ridden something with this much scope before. He’s new to the level, and he’s such a big baby, but he’s such a trier,” Kieffer said of her partner. “He’s a ‘yes ma’am, no ma’am’ type of guy. You ask him to jump something and he doesn’t think twice about jumping it.”
Holly Jacks and More Inspiration were the third place finishers in the Philippa Humphreys Advanced division. Her 11-year-old Thoroughbred added 18 time penalties to his original dressage score (30.50) to finish with 48.90.