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.
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.
“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.
Finding a penny on heads is pretty lucky, but finding a Penny that has a mane, tail, and talent to boot? Now that’s grounds for an eventing prospect. Mix a little luck and a lot of experience with the right opportunity and that’s the exact recipe that Area VII eventer Jacqueline Cameron found herself smack dab in the middle of in April 2021.
With less than 20 days remaining until the United States Eventing Association American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds at Rebecca Farm, to date over five hundred entries have been received. Entries for the event close on August 16, 2022. Those entrants in the AEC championship divisions this year are qualifying under the requirements that have been in place for the last several years. However, for those intending to compete at the 2023 AEC in Kentucky, the USEA Board of Governors have approved a strengthening to the qualification requirements.
The USEA Board of Governors (BOG) concluded a productive two days of the August BOG meeting on Wednesday, August 9th in Dulles, Virginia led by USEA President Max Corcoran. All but four BOG members were able to attend in person this year. Many key items related to eventing in the U.S. were discussed at great length including safety, membership strategies, competition procedures, visibility of the sport, and more over the course of the two-day gathering.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.