When the year started, Fair Hill wasn’t in the plans for The Foreman, but when a nagging splint kept interrupting his agenda, Phillip Dutton came to Fair Hill, Md., and made the most of the change of plans, winning the dressage in the CCI*** on a score of 42.2 on Oct. 19.
“It’s exciting for The Foreman,” said Dutton, who couldn’t recall leading the dressage at a three- or four-star before. He blamed himself for, earlier in the year, putting “Chip” into work too quickly before his splint had healed. “It’s been a frustrating year—I think he’s done two competitions this year.”
With Chip’s light schedule, Dutton was especially pleased that he came in and handled the atmosphere so well. “He’s a nervous Thoroughbred, but he took a deep breath and really tried,” he said.
Chip won the event in 2004 for owner Annie Jones and went on to finish second in two four-stars the following year. Now Dutton is trying to ensure his Olympic qualification for next year—but that doesn’t mean he’ll take it easy on Derek diGrazia’s course tomorrow.
“I’ll try to go for it,” he said simply. “It’s not every day that you’re here [in first place] like this.”
Boyd Martin, who came from Australia to work for Phillip Dutton in West Grove, Pa., stands second after dressage (46.1) with Ying Yang Yo. Like The Foreman, Ying Yang Yo missed earlier events this year with a minor injury. Martin credits his top dressage score to his wife Silva, a Grand Prix German dressage rider.
One positive aspect of The Foreman and Ying Yang Yo’s injuries is that they’ve spent less time galloping and more time working on dressage. In addition to Silva Martin, Dutton also gave credit to Mara Dean and Capt. Mark Phillips for his dressage, as well as time spent with Betsy Steiner last winter.
“He could do a really good test,” said Dutton. “I’m getting better and better about preparing him—sometimes you’re on too long, and sometimes you’re not on long enough [in warm-up], and this time I got it right.”
Like The Foreman, Ying Yang Yo began life as a race horse, and Martin acquired him in Australia for $600 from Australian horseman Ronnie Easy, an “old-time show jumper.” The horse originated in a primitive area of New South Wales.
“This old mate of mine gets a truckload of horses headed for slaughter and chases them over a jump with a whip to see how they jump. [Ying Yang Yo] is one of the ones who jumped all right,” he said with a laugh. “He’s a very quiet horse—he’d never seen grass before he came here, and he got a rug and shoes, and I brush him—he loves the American lifestyle.”
Despite the drought leading up to the event, heavy rains on Friday afternoon—the worst of which was endured by Bonnie Mosser during her test on Happy Valley—should make the ground good, said Dutton.
Martin said he didn’t mind the rain: “I got a good score compared to when I ride in the sun. I couldn’t sit the trot too well, but maybe the judges couldn’t see me too well, either,” he added with a laugh.
The judges included David Lee of Ireland, Christian Landolt of Great Britain and Marilyn Payne of the United States.
Dutton, now a U.S. citizen, was the top U.S. rider in the U.S. Equestrian Championship at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** this spring, and, going into the cross-country, he stands in a good position for capturing the USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship.
“I like the course, and it starts out with more room to gallop. In the past, there have been a lot of fences in the first minutes,” said Dutton. “One of the disadvantages is that you could go too fast [in the beginning], and we know the horses get tired here. But it’s a really good course, and it encourages forward riding.”
Top 20 After Dressage CCI***
1. The Foreman, Phillip Dutton, 42.4
2. Ying Yang Yo, Boyd Martin, 46.1
3. Rocket, Donna Smith, 46.7
4. Courageous Comet, Becky Holder, 47.8
5T. Up Spirit, Clark Montgomery, 48.3
5T. High Patriot, Mara Dean, 48.3
7. Dobbin, Corinne Ashton, 49.8
8. K. du Manoir, William Coleman, 50.0
9. Woodburn, Phillip Dutton, 50.9
10. Three Wishes II, Kristen Bond, 51.1
11T. Sloopy, John Williams, 52.4
11T. Neville Bardos, Boyd Martin, 52.4
11T. Arthur, Allison Springer, 52.4
14. Ballinakill Glory, Kelly Prather, 53.3
15. Mandiba, Karen O’Connor, 53.5
16T. Esker Riada, Cayla Kitayama, 53.9
16T. Belmont, Kate Ditchey, 53.9
18. Manny, Diana Burnett, 54.1
19. Balmoral Avenue, Sally McKechnie, 54.6
20. Allstar, Karen O’Connor, 54.8
Driving Dressage Results
1. Shelly Temple, 38.2
2. Jennifer Matheson, 50.4
3. Sara Schmitt, 55.4
4. Sherri Dolan, 58.0
5. Sybil Humphreys, 61.2
6. Mary Mott-Kocsis, 61.5
7. Vivian Creigh, 63.4
1. Boots Wright, 50.08
2. Lisa Stroud, 55.68
3. Monroe Russell, 64.16
4. Kelly Valdes, 65.00
1. Bill Peacock, 49.79
2. Robin Groves, 56.45
3. Kirsten Brunner, 56.7
4T. Donna Crookston, 59.01
4T. Kim Stover, 59.01
6. Suzy Stafford, 59.78
7. Wilson G. Groves, 60.93
8. Scott Monroe, 61.06
9. Dana Pigford, 61.18
10. Marjas Becker, 69.25
11. Amanda Kantor, 76.67
1. Lisa Singer, 51.33
2. Larry Poulin, 52.22
3. Gary Stover, 57.34
4. Alan Aulson, 62.98