Young Guns – John Murphy

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I’ll reveal one every week or so!

Murphy has been riding all his life. He began with team penning and then switched over to working cow horse a couple of years ago. He credits his life in the country to the person he has grown to be. Photo by Barbara Glazer.

John Murphy

(Nominated for Competitive)
Age: 19
Wetaskiwin, Alberta

John Murphy is a 19-year-old country boy whose cow horse talents skyrocketed him to the top of National Reined Cow Horse Association charts last year. Riding Pepto Peppermint, a 2008 stallion by Surely A Pepto and out of Haidas Pepermint, Murphy swept the championships of four non-pro divisions at the NRCHA Circle Y Ranch Derby in San Angelo, Texas. He took home four buckles, a fistful of cash and had driven over 40 hours with his parents to do it.

Murphy accepted his awards with modesty, citing mentors and educational videos as the tools as aiding in his success. He made cow horse folk back in Canada buzz with praise.

Murphy laid claim to a mountain of international titles against some tough non-pro competition. He trained for those awards in the dead of a Canadian winter without an indoor arena or benefit of live cattle. Instead, Murphy used what he had available to him and packed several loads of shavings out to his family ranch shop – where he had also strung up a mechanical cow on the outside of the building. Using only the wood particles for footing atop frozen ground, Murphy and his horse prepared themselves for the 2012 event in Texas. When he needed guidance, the young rider would return to the house to watch a cow horse training video.

Murphy has been riding all his life. He began with team penning and then switched over to working cow horse a couple of years ago. He credits his life in the country to the person he has grown to be.

When it came time for Murphy to contribute financially to his show ventures, he began apprenticing underneath his father, who was a farrier by trade for over 30 years.

“I needed a job that could allow me to make some good money but still be at home. Farrier work allows me to ride horses half the day and do farrier work for the other half,” he says.

However, he is also currently evaluating a long-term career option as an electrician.

“I like the work of a farrier and it’s very rewarding to be able to help horses that previously encountered soundness issues, but I have seen the direct results of a lifetime of farrier work through watching my father. I think ideally, I’d like to be a low-key part-time farrier on the side, in addition to working as an electrician. That way I wouldn’t have to break my body down and I could still ride good horses.”

~ Jennifer Webster

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