When Phillip Dutton dismounted from his horse on Day 2 of Dressage at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* Three-Day event, he was met with applause from well-wishers, who didn’t hold back expressing just how much they adored him. Two days later, on Sunday, April 30th, 2017, he was met with the same level of regard when he entered the arena following the close of the competition, this time for a much bigger reason: a special sash around his chest.
On the final day of competition at the Rolex, Dutton was among 39 horse and rider combinations to compete in the event’s final show jumping leg. Of those riders, 24 represented the United States of America, but it would ultimately be Dutton who would finish as the highest-ranked American in the competition. It was Dutton’s third time receiving the award, which he accepted at center stage as the 2017 Rolex/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Champion aboard the cheeky Irish Sport Horse gelding, Mr. Medicott.
There are plenty of reasons to be a fan of Phillip Dutton. But, in our eyes, here’s why he and Mr. Medicott deserve yet another round of applause.
- On January 17th, 2017, Dutton was named the 2016 USEF Equestrian of the Year in celebration of his successful 2016 and his impressive career in the sport.
- Dutton hums when he’s nervous.
- Phillip was one of two riders who competed aboard three different horses at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event; Mr.Medicott, I’m Sew Ready and Fernhill Fugitive all ranked in the top ten leading into the final day.
- Born in Australia, Phillip competed on the Australian National Eventing Team, making his international debut at the 1994 World Equestrian Games in The Hague, The Netherlands.
- Dutton’s Olympic debut was for Australia in 1996, when he helped to capture the Team Gold medal.
- Dutton later went on to win back-to-back gold medals, also winning the Olympic Team Gold in 2000 during the Sydney Games.
- When looking for a horse, he says it’s important to find one that is comfortable galloping for 10 to 11 minutes at a time.
- In the warm-up for cross country, Dutton says he prefers not to do too much.
- Dutton’s final Olympic appearance for Australia was in 2004 (he became a U.S. citizen in 2006).
- To date, he has 40 completions at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.
- His appearance in Rio at age 52 marked Phillip as the oldest competing Olympian in attendance for the United States.
- As far as vices go, Dutton likes chocolate and admits that he’s “a bit messy”.
- This past year, Phillip was also awarded the United States Equestrian Team [USET] Foundation’s Whitney Stone Cup, presented to the athlete who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct.
- Phillip focused on Agricultural Studies at Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre in Australia.
- When he’s not dominating in the saddle, Dutton enjoys golf and tennis.
- Phillip is a founding member of the Professional Riders Organization (PRO) and served as President in 2012 and 2013. He also chairs the USEF Eventing Active Athletes Committee and is a member of the USEF Eventing High Performance Committee.
- He won two Team Gold medals in the Pan-American Games, first in 2007 and then in 2015. He also won an individual Pan-American silver medal in 2007.
- His accomplishments with the Australian National Eventing Team contributed to his induction into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
- Phillip has earned the USEA Rider of the Year title on 13 different occasions between 1998 and 2012.
- Dutton and the OTTB Icabad Crane (trained by Graham Motion) won the first “America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred” award.
- Commanding Curve, the 2014 Kentucky Derby runner-up, began training with Phillip last year, beginning his new life as an eventing horse. (Keep your eyes peeled for Commanding Curve’s eventing debut!)
- Another of Phillip’s OTTB projects: retraining U.S. Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps’ and coach Bob Bowman’s Water Cube.
- Of Mr. Medicott, Phillip has said, “He’s always been a great horse. He hasn’t changed.”
- He’s the “quarterback of the barn” according to Dutton’s groom, Emma Ford.
- His stable name is “Cave”, though no one really knows why.
- He was previously ridden by Marilyn Little before Dutton took up the reins in 2013.
- He competed in the Hong Kong and London Olympic games, and in the 2010 WEG in Kentucky.
- He likes to nip when he’s being groomed, and putting on his girth requires an extra set of hands.
- Cave is a cribber.
- Before a competition, Mr. Medicott goes into “beast mode” and requires an escort to the cross-country start box.
- He’s a little impatient, but he loves attention. Cuddling is his thing.
- Cross-country is his favorite of the three disciplines.
- He feeds off the energy of those who surround him, so the calmer everyone is, the better!
- An old tendon injury prevented him from finishing the 2014 Rolex Three-Day Event, and he was rehabilitated for 10 months, with two years off following his injury
- Rolex Kentucky will be Cave’s last time competing at the CCI4* level.
- Dutton obtained Mr. Medicott when Karen O’Connor retired from the sport.