Last fall, Rutledge Farm in Middleburg, Virginia hosted Phillip Dutton for a one-day clinic for riders of all levels from Beginner Novice to Advanced. In this video, Dutton uses the warm-up on the flat and over small fences to engage the horse's hind end and establish the connection from leg to hand. "There’s a common thread between all of our phases, whether it’s dressage, show jumping, or cross-country, and that is the adjustability of your horse. To me, the biggest thing in doing well is getting your horse really connected from your leg to your hand. They’ve got to learn that you put your leg on, the hock comes under, and they come up [in front].”
First, Dutton has this group of riders start out at the walk, riding the shape of a rectangle and being sure to make square turns in the corners of the imaginary arena. Then he asks riders to focus on establishing the inside leg aid. "Bend them a little bit around to the right . . . and then leg yield them over to the wall. It's not just about asking, it's about getting a reaction." Dutton wanted to see a clear reaction from each horse when the rider put the leg on for the leg yield. After having riders leg yield in both directions at the walk, Dutton had the riders repeat the exercise at the trot.
Next, Dutton asked riders to move forward at the trot and collect at the trot, again establishing a clear reaction to the leg. "Remember, it's important for the horse to go, so kick him up and keep the flexion." Riders also performed a similar exercise, transitioning from the trot to the canter and then back to the trot.
For the final part of the warm-up, Dutton instructed riders to jump two small oxers on a two-stride angled line, focusing on establishing a straight line and keeping the focus on riding forward on that line. "You've got to show them the line." Riders successfully completed this exercise before moving on to jumping other more complex exercises and full courses.
Want to learn more from Phillip Dutton? Check out the full clinic report!
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.
The 2012 and 2016 individual Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung, blazed into first place after dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Games with a superb test on Chipmunk.
Deservedly scoring 21.1 - a record for both rider and his country at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings - it was a joy to watch. From the first extended trot, the pair looked secure, positive, and harmonious. The test was as accurate and as well-delivered as that of long-time leaders Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR), but with more expression and ease. Jung and the Contendro 13-year-old demonstrated all this specially-written, short Olympic test asks for and each movement flowed into the next.