Top eventer Phillip Dutton will have a familiar face in the barn this year as he moves down to Aiken, S.C., for the winter and spring seasons. His former head groom, Emma Ford, has returned to the job she held for seven years after a stint working for Jim and Sarah Wildasin, who own Dutton’s 2012 London Olympic Games mount Mystery Whisper.
Ford, 37, left Dutton’s barn in late 2012 for a less demanding position managing the Wildasins’ smaller group of horses at their private farm in Aiken.
“I really missed [True Prospect Farm] is what it came down to, “ Ford said with a laugh. “I knew Phillip hadn’t found the right person, so when I approached him, we worked it out. I thought I was ready to slow down, and apparently that was not the case. Unfortunately, you never sort of know until you take a different direction.”
Ford, who’s originally from England, enjoyed some time at home over the holiday season and officially started her duties at Dutton’s on Jan. 1.
She’ll serve as barn manager and will travel to the bigger international competitions to groom for Dutton.
“It’s been good,” she said. “I think I’ve missed them as much as they’ve missed me.”