Phillip Dutton Honored With 2016 Whitney Stone Cup from USET Foundation

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January 25, 2016--The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce that top ranked eventing rider Phillip Dutton of West Grove, Pennsylvania, is the recipient of the 2016 Whitney Stone Cup.

Jim McNerney, Phillip Dutton and S Tucker S Johnson | Photo Copyright Phelps Media Group

Jim McNerney, Phillip Dutton and S Tucker S Johnson | Photo Copyright Phelps Media Group

The award is presented annually to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport.

A five-time Olympian, Dutton led the U.S. Eventing Team to its Gold medal victory at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, where an Olympic qualification was at stake. Earlier in the year, he won the USET Foundation's Pinnacle Cup as the highest-placed U.Shighest-placed the 2015 Rolex/USEF National CCI4*. Dutton was also reserve champion during the 2015 Dutta Corp./USEF National Championships at the CCI3* and CCI2* levels, followed by a win at the 2015 Galway Downs CCI3*. He led the U.S. Team to a Bronze medal finish at the CIC03* Nations Cup in Aachen, and he has had 15 top five finishes at the FEI level in 2015 with his talented string of horses.

Dutton was presented with the award during the USET Foundation's Olympic and Paralympic Games benefit Rockin' Rio on Jan. 22, in Wellington, Florida. "I'm very fortunate because a lot of people have supported me, not only this year but in years building up to this year," expressed Dutton. "It's been a rewarding year, but it's also great for the people involved to see some of the results. It's very exciting for me, but I think it's exciting for the future as well."

Representing the United States is always at the forefront of Dutton's mind, and he is thankful to have that opportunity on so many occasions. "Representing your country never gets old," he stated. "In my mind, it's the ultimate of what you can achieve, and you always go out there a try to do your personal best at every competition. When you have four riders that get their personal best it's incredible. It's an honor really. It's something that I think everybody aims for, but you're pretty lucky when it comes up."

Dutton is always giving back to the sport that he has been involved with for five decades, serving on multiple committees and working with other athletes to continually raise the bar in the sport. He has helped develop young riders and young horses, and he now has three mounts that are jumping at the four-star level.

"Any horse that gets to the four-star level is a pretty special horse," noted Dutton. "It's not easy to have a horse that can handle the challenges of our industry sometimes, so it takes a pretty special horse. Obviously no horse is going to jump around four-star unless he is pretty gutsy and can feel confident about jumping around a cross-country course. Once you get to the four-star level, it's not for the faint of heart horse. All three of them have that in them. They are pretty brave on the cross-country, which I'm appreciative of."

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. | Photo Copyright Shannon Brinkman

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn. | Photo Copyright Shannon Brinkman

Now, Dutton and the U.S. Eventing Team will look ahead toward the 2016 Olympic Games. "We'll try to map out a program," he explained. "We'll work back from the Olympics and see what's best for the horses to have the best chances of getting to there. There's a lot of work to be done between now and then, but on the other hand it's not that far away. It's going to come around pretty quickly. They all look good at the moment, and I think they're pretty pleased to be back in work."

Dutton concluded, "It's an exciting time for eventing because I do see that we're making a pushing for better things ahead. It's not going to be easy by any means, but the next couple of years hopefully we can have some even better performances."

Whitney Stone Cup Winners

The Whitney Stone Cup is awarded in honor of the late Whitney Stone, who served as President and Chairman of the Board of the United States Equestrian Team from 1953 to 1973. Mr. Stone was instrumental in the creation of a civilian equestrian team when the Army retired from competitive horse sports after 1948. Previous Whitney Stone Cup winners are:

1980 - Michael Matz
1981 - James C. Wofford
1982 - Norman Dello Joio
1983 - Melanie Smith (Taylor)
1984 - Carole Grant
1985 - Joe Fargis
1986 - Conrad Homfeld
1987 - Katie Monahan Prudent
1988 - Bruce O. Davidson
1989 - Gregory A. Best
1990 - William Long
1991 - Hap Hansen
1992 - Lana DuPont Wright
1993 - Carol Lavell
1994 - J. Michael Plumb
1995 - Robert Dover
1996 - Anne Kursinski
1997 - Leslie Burr Howard
1998 - David O'Connor
1999 - Valerie Kanavy
2000 - Karen O'Connor
2001 - Tucker Johnson
2002 - Guenter Seidel
2003 - Peter Wylde
2004 - Debbie McDonald
2005 - Chris Kappler
2006 - Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden
2007 - Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden
2008 - Miranda (Randy) Caldwell
2009 - Steffen Peters
2010 - McLain Ward
2011 - Tucker S. Johnson
2012 - Christine McCrea
2013 - Rich Fellers
2014 - Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden
2015 - Chester Weber
2016 - Phillip Dutton

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America's elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.