Lessons and Tips from Phillip Dutton
On August 5 – 6th I audited a clinic with one of the top Eventing riders in the world, Phillip Dutton. This clinic took place in Mono, ON just before Phillip was due to leave for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy to represent the US. I was very lucky to attend this rare clinic and watch this highly respected rider and coach share with us his important tips and lessons to help make both horse and rider, a successful team.
One important lesson that Phillip shared with us is the importance of the horse being forward and obedient to the rider’s leg at all times.
Exercises: many transitions, lengthing the stride and shortening the stride and lateral work. All of this can also be done in your 2-point position do make the horse even more responsive.
Throughout the clinic Phillip also stressed that jumping should just be an extension of the flat work.
For example;bending and keeping pace through the turns, the rhythm of the strides, having the horse’s hind end underneath itself and not just running around on the forehand.
In order to be a great rider you must be able to make a plan and execute it, whether that be in the middle of your course/test at the show or before hand. Therefore, your horse must always step exactly where you want it to go at all times. Which brings us back to the importance of horse being obedient off the leg. When jumping, you must always find the correct line that you will ride to the jump in advance so that both you and your horse can jump successfully, this is especially important in combinations. At no point can you turn around the corner with your horse being off balance and just be ‘gunning it’ to the jump(s).
Exercises:set up many jumps in a row and ride it without drifting, and/or jump your horse by angling over the fences but by still staying straight on your correct line.
TIP #1: Practice being able to tap your horse behind your leg on the take off stride so that you learn to maintain balance by only having one hand on the reins. This reaction then also becomes second nature if your horse backs off or is spooking at the fence.
TIP #2: Practice jumping fences on different canter strides while keeping them in front of the leg and in balance. It is very important to be able to come into different types of fences/combinations on different canter strides, especially on cross- country.
TIP #3: If your horse runs out at a fence be sure to turn your horse around in the opposite direction that the horse ran out “or you are just teaching them bad habits,” (Dutton).
Proud Ambassador of The Tack Shoppe of Collingwood