Dec 30, 2021

What's In a Name: Phillip Buttons Leaps Hurdles to Live up to his Namesake

Photo courtesy of Lilyanna Wood

Everyone in eventing knows the name Phillip Dutton - but, have you heard of the little pony that could named Phillip Buttons?

When Lilyanna Wood first saw the then 6-year-old German Riding Pony by Makuba, she knew the gelding was meant for her. Wood is no stranger to producing eventing mounts, but the start of her relationship with the pony she now affectionately calls Spike for his sassy personality was unique.

“Three years ago, I was horseless,” she explained. “I had sold my last mount and I had my eyes open for another, and was even working two jobs to make sure I could afford it. One day I came home and my mom had gotten several horses in; while they were all nice horses I saw him and just immediately fell in love.”

The two have formed an inseparable partnership in the years since. Although the gelding the gelding had been left sitting in a field for some time after having been originally broke and presented challenges for Wood along the way, she guided him through his first dressage work, jumping exercises, and cross-country experiences.

“For the longest time after I had acquired him, he would dump me several times a week,” she laughed. “He was definitely a bit of a handful but I love the challenge.”

The pair are currently competing at the Training level and swiftly moving up the divisions with his newfound skill in the dressage. According to Wood, Spike has always had a natural jumping ability but struggled with understanding and riding through the dressage phase. The two dedicated much time with dressage trainer Jenni Hogan in Nashville and are currently spending a year in Wellington, Fla. under the tutelage of dressage professional Laura Ashley Killian to lock in their knowledge before the eventing season begins.

Photo courtesy of Lilyanna Wood

However, if you ask Wood, she will tell you that the biggest breakthrough she feels they have had so far is successfully attending the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds at the Kentucky Horse Park this past year.

“I quite honestly was not sure we would ever get to go and compete at something of that caliber,” she explained. “When we first started training him, he was a bit uncontrollable. So to compete at such an event and to hold our own was really a testament to the work that both he and I have put in and to how our partnership has grown.”

She is especially grateful for the dedication of trainers Danny Moguel and Zully Castrejon whom she says never gave up on the pair despite some antics from Spike, and are the reason he is so successful today.

Spike owes his cleverly thought of name to Wood’s mother who got the play-on-words from a friend with a mount by the name of Boyd Marden, of course after eventing champion Boyd Martin.

Photo courtesy of Lilyanna Wood

“My mom just thought it was so funny when she heard about her friends' horse and so when she came up with this I just went along with it,” Wood laughed. “He does, however, live up to his name.”

Unfortunately, an untimely tire malfunction incident kept the pony from meeting his namesake at a clinic he was set to attend in 2021, but Wood is confident the opportunity will arise again when the time is right.

The young rider has big plans for the aptly named pony, whom she hopes to continue to produce up the eventing levels to at least Preliminary.

Does your horse or pony have an extra-special or unique show name? We want to hear all about them. Email Meagan DeLisle at [email protected] to tell us more and for a chance to be featured in our next What's In a Name column on useventing.com.

Dec 07, 2022 Convention

Meet Your USEA Board of Governors

During the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, there will be two meetings of the USEA Board of Governors (BOG), one on Thursday, December 8th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and one on Sunday, December 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The USEA is run by a BOG of around twenty individuals. These individuals discuss and vote on important matters related to the organization and its members. BOG members come from all over our ten USEA areas and come from various backgrounds from grooms, to professional riders, to amateurs, to course designers, and much more. Each BOG member serves a three-year term.

Dec 07, 2022 Convention

Fast Facts: 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

USEA members from near and far are getting ready to converge on the historic city of Savannah, Georgia this week for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention! With four full days jam-packed with educational seminars, committee meetings and social gatherings, the convention is sure to excite all members of the eventing community that will be in attendance. The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel this year, and we have all of the information you need to know to make the most of your experience!

Dec 06, 2022

The Business Toolkit for Eventers

As USEA members prepare for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, the USEA is pleased to share “The Business Toolkit For Eventers” from our educational partner STRIDER. This webinar is part of their popular Professional Development Series for Equestrians, which features experts from across the horse industry speaking on business topics relevant to equestrian sport.

Dec 06, 2022 Young Event Horse

Get to Know the 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant Recipient: HSH Blake

If you look at HSH Blake’s competition record, it won’t take you long to understand why Caroline Martin is dreaming big with the7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Owned in partnership by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin and Molly Hoff, HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass) has already seen much success in his short career, collecting the championship title at the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 5-Year-Old Championship, several top 2 finishes at the CCI2* level and multiple top 10 finishes at the CCI3* level since stepping up this year.

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