Since helping Area II to team gold at the 2018 Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships at Rebecca Farm and the subsequent retirement of her esteemed partner, Mr Medicott, 18-year-old Olivia Dutton has been working to establish her next partnership. As she shares with us, it has been a journey of peaks and valleys. We are excited that she has connected with a new ride, Iniesta (“Indio”), a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lordanos x Tilithya) imported by Caroline Martin. The pair has finished first or second in eight of their 10 USEA starts together. We thank Olivia and Athletux for sharing their story!
When I unexpectedly had to say goodbye to my incredible horse Teddy in April of last year, I was devastated. Teddy had an injury to his neck and one day could not move in his stall, and suddenly became neurologic. This loss really took a toll on me and honestly because of it, I was having a hard time processing the thought of getting another horse.
The universe works in funny ways, and one day while strolling through Instagram, I came across a post from Caroline Martin highlighting some of the sales horses she had newly imported. I made mention of it briefly to my dad (Phillip Dutton) later that evening and I think being that he was eager to get me back in the saddle with my own horse, but did not want to push knowing how tough the loss of Teddy was for me, he quickly responded that he thought Caroline had a very nice six year old in particular he thought we should go try.
It was so nice that we did not have to fly to another country to look at horses, and only drive a few hours to look at a top-class horse. When I first saw Indio, as we now call him in the barn, he took my breath away. Growing up with my dad being an Olympic eventer, I have had the good fortune of seeing many top horses over the years in our barn, but to be honest there has never been one to make me feel the way Indio did when he walked out of the stall. He was such a stunning horse who just seemed to ooze athleticism.
I rode Indio and he suited me very well. He had never done cross country before arriving at Caroline’s and he was expectedly very green, but extremely willing. He was very rideable and seemed like a horse that had great potential. Before being imported to America, Indio came from Paul Hendrix’s farm in Holland. He was bred to become a show jumper, and had done a fair bit of jumper classes, but the team there, as well as Caroline, figured he would be better suited as an eventer.
The stars all seemed to fall into place, and through the help of my wonderful parents Phillip and Evie, as well as some very special people (Kevin Keane, Stephanie Speakman, and Susie Sutch), Indio was able to become my new partner. I have already learned a tremendous amount, and it has been a very educational experience having Indio thus far.
Because of Indio, I have already grown as a rider a great deal. I had only competed very seasoned and experienced horses before him, and now with a green horse I have learned how to adapt and change my ride, really helping to make me a better competitor and horse person in a short period of time.
Together, we started at Novice last summer and since then, Indio has gained a lot of confidence, currently competing Training Level with many top placings. Seeing and feeling his improvement always excites me, and it is rewarding knowing that he had not evented before I got him. We are going to continue to build his confidence in the cross-country phase at Training level for a little while, but I am very excited about our partnership and where it could lead.
I am really trying to take my time with him and slowly work our way up the levels because I think that he could be a really special horse for me in the future, and I think trust and a great partnership can take you far. Indio is a true workman, and every single day I look forward to riding him because he has such a great attitude. He has helped me immensely get over the loss of Teddy and want to continue to work towards my goals as a rider, and because of him I am more determined than ever.
Indio is such a spectacular horse and I want to ride him as best as I can and allow him to live up to the potential that he has, and that really motivates me. He excels in all three phases. He really seems to love his new job as an eventer, and every cross country school we have he seems to get braver and braver.
I am thankful people like Caroline are helping to bring such wonderful horses into the U.S. so that we do not have to go to unknown barns across the globe in some cases to find them, and I am even more thankful that I decided to take a chance with my broken heart and consider the possibility of a new partner. If you have lost a horse you love, I encourage you not to give up. You cannot replace a horse you love or have loved, but there just might be another one waiting for you who can help you to find your excitement once again!
Big news from Athletux! The agency has recently restructured its business model to focus on three main areas: equestrian brands, athletes and events. This is a particularly exciting development for brands, who will benefit from Athletux’s wealth of industry insight to help build their image, maximize use of social media platforms and email marketing campaigns, manage sponsored riders, assist with graphic design and more. Learn more by visiting the just-launched new Athletux website here.