Five Pieces of Training Wisdom from Phillip Dutton’s Rutledge Farm Session

Middleburg, Va. – Oct. 28, 2019 – On Saturday, October 26, two-time Olympic eventing gold-medalist Phillip Dutton returned to Rutledge Farm in Middleburg, Virginia to host his second clinic as a part of the Rutledge Farm Sessions clinic series. With one day to get to know the group of horses and riders, Dutton honed in on the importance of building from the basics, focusing on contact, thinking forward, and adjustability. Check out the top five pieces of training wisdom that Dutton imparted on clinic participants:

Clare Mansmann riding Buff Dude

1. Always keep consistent contact: 
“It’s not just about the bending, but accepting the contact as well. You don’t want your horse behind the bit, you want him to take the bit forward. They should not sit against the bit, but they also should not hide behind the bit. All of this understanding and training will help you when we jump.”

Jan Bynny riding Helloway

2. Build trust with a green horse:
“It’s important to get the horses to trust what is in front of them and trust what we ask them to do. Carefulness is a great thing for your horse to have, but you have to make sure that you encourage him. On a green horse, there’s a limit to how much you can make him add, so you have to be the judge how short you can get him to go. It may not happen today, but it’s not going to happen unless you address it every day.”

Allison Springer riding Rico

3. Always have forward thinking:
“Accepting the leg aid without tightness and resistance is all about forward thinking. Even if you’re slowing down, your horse should be thinking forward. If you want a forward distance at a jump, you have to create that canter to start.” 

4. Course-work will not always be perfect:
“Lengthening at the jumps is a great skill for a horse to have, but it’s not the only skill that we want. And it’s not just about getting the job done, because once the jumps get higher we have to make sure it’s right and it’s going to be fair to your horse. This is why we’re here, let them make an error that they learn from.”

5. Adjustability is key: 
“To fit in a certain number of strides on course, we don’t need to be mathematicians. It’s all about being able to adjust your horse. As you get further up the levels, the communication and adjustability becomes more and more important so that you do not have a battle on the approach to the jump. It’s all about you and the horse working together.”

Jan Bynny riding Helloway

For more information about the Rutledge Farm Sessions, visit 

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed