Photo courtesy of Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center
(1989 – 2012)
Owned by Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center
Inducted: 2013


For years, Murphy brought a feeling of zen to Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center in Woodinville, Washington. He had a soul that could reach and touch each and every person who encountered him, and he taught those around him what true love and compassion really meant.

Murphy joined the program at Little Bit at four years-old, and he quickly became an integral part of the team. He learned his job with relative ease, and from day one, Murphy came out of his stall ready to go to work. Calm and confident under pressure, Murphy enjoyed parades, and he was not spooked by the number of foreign things he saw. In lessons he was 100 percent trustworthy, and the smallest children could be put on him to walk and trot around the arena without fear. He was a star in costume classes at Little Bit’s annual horse show, arriving dressed as a fairy princess, a fire engine and even a big blue first place ribbon. On a number of occasions, Murphy was hooked to a cart and delivered Santa carefully into the arena for Little Bit’s yearly holiday party. His willingness to serve knew no bounds, and he was a favorite of anyone who had the opportunity to work with him.

One of the many students whose life was influenced by Murphy once wrote: “I think his heart is larger than the whole barn. He truly loves this job…I love the way he says hello to everyone working with him. I loved the way he would nuzzle my feet before I dismounted. He did that to every rider. I think he loved us all.” Murphy was put here on this earth to warm hearts, and he did it every day.

Murphy was a purebred Norwegian Fjord Horse, which are small but very strong. One of the world's oldest breeds,they served as farm horses in Norway for hundreds of years, and in modern times became popular for their good temperament and versatility. Murphy was no exception.

Over the years, Murphy was trained up to first level dressage, he learned to drive and long line, and he could jump cross rails. His skills under saddle made him the go to horse for hauling, traveling and going to different shows, and he was a top choice of independent competition riders. His driving education came in handy, not only to pull Santa, but in many local parades in the area. He proudly pulled a decorated Meadowbrook style cart with a driver and one of the therapeutic riders at the whip. His long lining skills were perfect for the Hippotherapy program, and as a vaulting horse he had the uncanny ability to know when a new, timid rider needed a strong, steady walk. The more confident rider could learn to canter aboard Murphy, and his tolerance of all sorts of vaulting tricks was amazing.

Murphy dedicated his life to being the best four-legged Equine Assisted Psychotherapy horse he possibly could, for as long as he possibly could. His service was recognized in 2001 when he was named the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) Equine of the Year. Murphy passed away in 2012, touching the lives of those around him with his huge heart and gentle soul right up until his passing.