We are happy to report that Phillip Dutton was named the 2016 USEF Equestrian of the Year and was awarded with the Robert P. Strub Trophy at last night’s Pegasus Awards in Lexington, Kentucky. We are crossing our fingers that Phillip’s Olympic bronze medal partner, the HND Group’s Mighty Nice, will be likewise honored with the Horse of the Year Award at tonight’s Year-End Awards Gala.
“I’m incredibly honored to be named 2016 Equestrian of the Year by US Equestrian,” Phillip said. “So much goes into your career as an athlete in this sport, and it’s not something you do on your own. There are so many people who support you. First, your family, then your team who works so hard with the horses every day, then your owners and sponsors who make the dream a reality, and finally your friends who stick by you through thick and thin. I’ve had an incredible amount of support since I moved to this country, and I have to thank everyone who has believed in me along the way. And, of course, thank you to HND Group’s Mighty Nice!”
Phillip was unfortunately unable to be in attendance to accept his award as he is at home in Pennsylvania with his daughter Lee Lee as she recovers from a injuries sustained in a serious riding accident last month. Today, Phillip and Evie Dutton released the following statement:
As many of you know, our daughter Lee Lee had a riding accident just before Christmas. Lee Lee was home from the University of Pennsylvania where she is studying to get her Masters in Social Work and was doing canter sets out on our exercise track on an unseasonably warm December day. The horse she was riding bucked and somehow slipped over, and they both went down. The horse got up immediately and was not hurt; however, he landed on Lee Lee. She was wearing a helmet, as she does for every ride.
Lee Lee was not alone and an ambulance was called within seconds of the fall. Once the ambulance arrived the EMT immediately called for the medivac, and she was airlifted to Christiana Care Hospital in Delaware. After undergoing surgery to relieve swelling in her brain, Lee Lee has been in the Intensive Care Unit under the watchful eyes of the incredible trauma team at Christiana Care. Lee Lee continues to make small but monumental steps forward in her recovery. It will be a long journey to a full recovery but we are encouraged by her strength, determination and will to overcome this horrible accident.
The full statement can be read on the Phillip Dutton Eventing website. Phillip will remain in Pennsylvania with Lee Lee and his family this winter. Part of the True Prospect Farm crew is in Aiken with some of the young horses and Phillip will make occasional trips back and forth. He does not anticipate returning to competition until possibly February or March.
While we congratulate Phillip on his well-earned award, our thoughts are with him, Lee Lee and their family and friends during this difficult time and we hope for Lee Lee’s continued improvement and a full recovery.