In eventing, names don’t get much bigger than Phillip Dutton, winner of two Olympic team gold medals and instructor of a long line of students that have gone on to glory of their own. Clearly, Dutton’s system is incredibly successful.
This book is the bible of that system. From feeding programs and saddle choices, to schooling exercises and horse selection, every piece of what his True Prospect Farm juggernaut has created is cataloged here.
For an interested student, it’s a comprehensive how-to guide, even if it’s not terrifically creative. But that’s the trick. The level of detail here is so intense that it’s hard to envision anyone other than a dedicated student of the sport getting through it. For a trainer, it’s a fantastic guide, and implementation of at least parts of the Dutton program can only help any competitor.
The book is well-written, well-organized, and comprehensive. It’s filled with excellent, illustrative photos of Dutton, his students, his equipment and barn. But the level of detail—an intrinsic factor in Dutton’s success—may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
There are a few exceptions to the technical framework: One is a small section at the end, in which Dutton discusses many of his top horses and their careers—at turns funny, enlightening, and sad.
The other is a healthy dose of sport psychology sprinkled throughout the book. Anyone who has seen Dutton perform with ice water in his veins time and again can see the inordinate value in his insight here. He also has segments in the various chapters called Personal Stories, which illustrate his points with real-life experience.
Bottom Line: We loved this book. If you want to know every tip, trick and guideline from one the most successful eventing programs in American history, this book is for you. It’s a blueprint for success.
Best Suited For: People with enough experience to absorb an in-depth guide to the care, selection and management of event horses.
You’ll Be Disappointed If: You aren’t an eventer or at least interested in their management techniques, or, you’re looking for a basic guide.
John Strassburger, Performance Editor