Our 2014 Favorites: What’s It Like to Win a Day with Phillip Dutton?

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. Photo by Jenni Autry. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. Photo by Jenni Autry.

What happens when a group of everyday eventers win a clinic with Phillip Dutton? Fortunately for us, Practical Horseman and Cosequin provided such an opportunity for “Team Misfits,” a group of eventers from Georgia, earlier this year.

The group consisted of experience levels ranging from never evented through Novice, and Phillip took his time introducing and solidifying basic principles that would carry forward to jumping and cross country.

Going forward and having a responsive horse were paramount for the riders, and while Phillip did not expect the horses to move perfectly through a leg yield, the biggest thing he wanted to see was a quick and eager response.

By the end of many of the exercises, some of the horses had found a new, undiscovered gear that would enable them to carry a more forward pace in all three phases. Phillip also worked with the riders on jumping the center of the fence and establishing confidence over basic cross country questions such as small banks.

He also reminded the riders that they were always training the horse, and that creating good habits was a key ingredient for success.

“The riders finished the clinic with a wealth of knowledge that they planned to bring back to their barn and practice, while helping each other. During an unmounted session earlier in the day, Phillip said this was a great asset. ‘Eventing is an individual sport, but when I have other great riders at my barn, I watch what they are doing and it pushes me to be better. You can do that for each other. It’s great that you guys work together. If you can encourage each other and push each other, everyone will continue to improve.'”

This was a wonderful opportunity for these riders to experience training from one of the very best in the world. Thanks to the opportunity from Practical Horseman and Cosequin, we’ve gotten an insider’s look into these teaching foundations and the encouraging but correct mannerisms from Phillip.

Be sure to check out the full clinic report on Practical Horseman here

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