Moving Forward with Phillip Dutton by: Julie Pifer
As this year's event season comes to a close, we all strive for that perfect ending especialy when this year most of us had to battle early heat waves, hurricanes, tornados and even an earthquake. I even had to scratch from my last event due to a snow storm in October. We all have many interesting stories to tell this year, like my grandfather accidentally drowning our truck in our pond the day of Plantation Horse Trials in June. Well, thanks to Phillip Dutton and the clinic I attended this past week-end November 11-12 at True Prospect Farm, we had the perfect ending to our years story. We began Saturday morning with dressage exercises immediately followed by stadium jumping exercises. The riders were all given tips on riding more effectively and improving the exercise at hand. Lunch was provided both days by Karen Rubin the clinic organizer and Phillip Dutton. Martin Collins, Phillip's footing expert (which was fantastic by the way) gave a talk about the footing and also sponsored the wine and cheese reception Saturday night. We were even given the chance to sit in the new saddles Dutton and Zabala-Goetschel designed. These unique lightweight saddles, which are currently available in dressage, show jumping and cross country models, focusing on the comfort of horse and rider as well as the proper balance and fit to help riders improve their position. They were so nice. Sunday we were treated to schooling the plethora of cross-country fences at True Prospect. Phillip has a wonderful variety of fences and even though the weather was a bit brisk, we were challenged to effectively ride courses to the best of our abilities. I was very pleased with my horse's performance and at the end of the clinic Phillip gave us all recommendations to improve. Mine was to ride my horse more forward and let the fences back her off instead of holding her back so much. I look forward to next season's first outing, and would like to thank Phillip for taking the time and giving us all something to ride forward to.