Dutton Dominates Day Three of FEI CIC 3* Competition at The Fork and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Eventing Test Event
Phillip Dutton and Z made easy work of the cross-country phase to overtake the lead heading into show jumping tomorrow at The Fork, presented by Lucky Clays Farm at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in the FEI CIC 3* division, serving as the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Eventing Test Event, and the pair sit on a score of 28. Jordán Linstedt and Revitavet Capato added 3.20 penalties onto their score to improve their rank to second place on a 29.9. Dutton also guided mounts I’m Sew Ready and Fernhill Cubalawn around the Captain Mark Phillips designed course to secure third and fourth place rankings with scores of 30 and 31.5, respectively.
Dutton and the 2008 Zangersheide gelding owned by T. Tierney, S. Roosevelt, S. Lacy, A. Jones, and C. Moran, crossed through the timers in 6 minutes and 17 seconds, just a mere second over the optimum time. “The goal was to step things up a bit from what I’ve been doing as far as speed goes,” said Dutton. “I thought the course in general rode well. It’s golf course terrain, so you’re working all of the time with your lines and the different elements of up and down.”
Today’s FEI CIC 3* competitors commented on the potential hints on course as to what September is expected to bring on the track. “I think that it showed today with even a straightforward course that the time is hard to make, and that’s going to only be the first seven minutes,” noted Dutton, who is currently ranked fourth on the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings. “The horse needs to be fit and rideable. You want to ride through this terrain and not have to always be shortening up, so you want a nice, balanced, rideable horse. It’s going to be a good test.”
Dutton described his first place mount as competitive with uncommon athleticism, and one that he has fun piloting around the cross-country phase. “I’ve always known he was a freak!” exclaimed Dutton. “He just loves to jump. He’s only getting better and better. It’s kind of fun to be a part of his (hopefully) long career.” “He’s point and shoot, and he’s just as good as my other horses. We’ve had one fall in which he over jumped in the water a few years ago, so we’ve learned from that. He’s not a horse that I want to ride aggressively all of the time, since he trusts me and if I say ‘really go,’ he really goes. I just have to make sure I don’t override him.”
As one of Team USA’s most veteran competitors, Dutton, who earned an Individual Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, plans to run the gelding one more time next weekend at Fair Hill International in a combined training outing before heading to the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event at the end of April, where the horse will contest his first FEI CCI 4* event. “He’s on target,” stated Dutton. “I was pleased with the way he settled yesterday because the weakest part is the tension with him, so that was kind of a load off of my mind. We’ll run him next weekend to just get him in the ring one more time, but you never know if you have a four star horse until you run a four star course.”
Dutton’s third place mount, I’m Sew Ready, a 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kristine and John Norton, proved just that as he galloped around the cross-country phase with ease. “He can get strong before the fences, but it was a good run for him,” said Dutton, who is based in West Grove, PA, and Aiken, SC. “I’ve still got him to go a bit faster, he’s not naturally that fast. This is his last run before Kentucky, so I’m pleased with him.”
Ending the day’s phase in the second place position, Jordán Linstedt and her own Revitavet Capato, a 2003 Hanoverian gelding have been to TIEC several times, and Linstedt commented that their experience onsite has been helpful in their success so far this week. “This is my third time going around the track. I was here last year in the spring and then again for the [USEA American Eventing Championships]. It was similar and it was helpful to have already gone out and done some of the questions, although it’s always different,” she said. “He felt fantastic from beginning to end. I didn’t go fast on him at Carolina [International] – I think it was the slowest I’d ever gone on him for multiple reasons. Here, I kind of went out pretty quick and he was great.”
Heading into tomorrow, Linstedt said she’s planning for a smooth ride to match Capato’s movement, and commented that show jumping is the pair’s toughest phase. “I guess stadium is kind of my weakest link with him a little bit, so my plan is to go in and jump a good round. I tend to, since he’s such a big-moving horse, either go a bit too forward or a bit too back, so just a really smooth round [is my goal], and hopefully he jumps really well,” she concluded.