Phillip Dutton Receives 2016 Whitney Stone Cup

Phillip Dutton accepts the 2016 Whitney Stone Cup in Wellington on Friday, Jan. 22. Photo by Rebecca Walton/Phelps Media Group. Phillip Dutton accepts the 2016 Whitney Stone Cup in Wellington on Friday, Jan. 22. Photo by Rebecca Walton/Phelps Media Group.

Phillip Dutton joined a long list of accomplished athletes last weekend when he received the 2016 Whitney Stone Cup at Louisburg Farm in Wellington at the Rockin’ Rio benefit fundraiser that raised $1.5 million to help send the U.S. Olympic equestrian teams to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

First awarded to Michael Matz in 1980, the USET Foundation presents the award annually to “an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport.”

Phillip had a standout season in 2015, finishing the year ranked seventh on the FEI World Athlete Eventing Rankings, which made him the highest ranked U.S. event rider in the world. He also served as the pathfinder aboard Fernhill Fugitive on the gold medal winning U.S. Pan American Games team in Toronto, where U.S. Olympic qualification was at stake.

“I was thrilled to be a part of the U.S. Pan American Games team that won gold in Toronto last year,” Phillip said. “In my mind, representing your country is the ultimate goal you can achieve, and you always go out there and try to do your personal best at every competition. When you have four riders that get their personal best at a championships like that, it’s incredible.”

Earlier in the year, Phillip won the USET Foundation’s Pinnacle Cup with Fernhill Cubalawn and became the new USEF National CCI4* Champion as the highest placed U.S. rider at the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. He was also reserve champion during the 2015 Dutta Corp/USEF National Championships at Fair Hill for both the CCI3* and CCI2* levels with Mighty Nice and Z, respectively.

He finished in 12th as the highest placed U.S. rider at the Aachen CICO3* in Germany with Fernhill Cubalawn, leading the U.S. team to a third place finish and Team USA’s first Nations Cup podium in three years. Phillip and Cuba also delivered a personal best dressage score of 46.4 at that competition.

“It’s an exciting time for U.S. eventing because we’re making a push for even bigger things ahead,” Phillip said. “It’s not going to be easy by any means, but in the next couple of years hopefully we can have even better performances on the world stage.”

He accumulated 15 top five finishes at the FEI level in 2015, starting the year with a win in the Carolina International CIC3* aboard I’m Sew Ready and capping off the season with a win at the Galway Downs CCI3* with Fernhill Fugitive.

Phillip is the fifth event rider to receive the Whitney Stone Cup, joining fellow recipients Jim Wofford (1981), Bruce Davidson (1988), Mike Plumb (1994), David O’Connor (1998) and Karen O’Connor (2000).

“I hope to build on this momentum for 2016, and we’ll work back from the Olympics to develop a program that best suits each horse,” Phillip said. “There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then, but on the other hand it’s not that far away. All the horses are back in work and gearing up for the first event of the year, and we’re excited to get the season underway.”

Congrats to Phillip on this achievement! He certainly earned it, and EN also acknowledged Phillip’s standout season by nominating him and Fernhill Cubalawn for 2015 Eventing Nation Horse & Rider of the Year. He finished the season ranked seventh in EN’s Overall Rankings, as well as first on our list of EN’s Top Equine Performers in Cross Country for 2015.

Read on for a full list of all the winners of the Whitney Stone Cup.

1980 – Michael Matz
1981 – James C. Wofford
1982 – Norman Dello Joio
1983 – Melanie Smith (Taylor)
1984 – Carole Grant
1985 – Joe Fargis
1986 – Conrad Homfeld
1987 – Katie Monahan Prudent
1988 – Bruce O. Davidson
1989 – Gregory A. Best
1990 – William Long
1991 – Hap Hansen
1992 – Lana DuPont Wright
1993 – Carol Lavell
1994 – J. Michael Plumb
1995 – Robert Dover
1996 – Anne Kursinski
1997 – Leslie Burr Howard
1998 – David O’Connor
1999 – Valerie Kanavy
2000 – Karen O’Connor
2001 – Tucker Johnson
2002 – Guenter Seidel
2003 – Peter Wylde
2004 – Debbie McDonald
2005 – Chris Kappler
2006 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden
2007 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden
2008 – Miranda (Randy) Caldwell
2009 – Steffen Peters
2010 – McLain Ward
2011 – Tucker S. Johnson
2012 – Christine McCrea
2013 – Rich Fellers
2014 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden
2015 – Chester Weber
2016 – Phillip Dutton