April 2017 Issue - page 1

Vol. 24 No. 4
Our 24th Year
April 2017
LANC., PA 17604
(Continued on page 11)
By Jenni Autry
Life changed in an instant
for Rio Olympic bronze med-
alist Phillip Dutton when his
stepdaughter, Lee Lee Jones,
suffered a traumatic brain injury
in a riding accident just before
Lee Lee, a 22-year-old
graduate student at the University
of Pennsylvania, was cantering
around the exercise track at the
Duttons’ True Prospect Farm in
West Grove, PA on an unseason-
ably warm day when the horse
she was riding bucked, slipped
and fell. Thankfully, she was
wearing a helmet.
The horse landed on Lee
Lee, and she was airlifted to
Christiana Care Hospital in
Newark, Delaware. After spend-
ing more than a month in the
Intensive Care Unit, she has now
begun the long road to recovery
at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in
Phillip’s wife, Evie, has
been by Lee Lee’s side every
day, overseeing her busy sched-
ule of physical, occupational
and speech therapy. Their twin
daughters, Olivia and Mary, visit
with Phillip around their school
schedules and riding. It’s a
routine that has become the new
normal for the family.
“Lee Lee is progressing
well at Bryn Mawr, which is
an incredible rehab facility and
the next step in her recovery,”
Phillip said. “She has friends and
family visit with her each day.
She is making constant progress
and positive steps forward in her
It’s been a quiet winter for
Phillip, who was named 2016
USEF Equestrian of the Year
following his bronze-medal
performance at the Olympics
with HND Group’s Mighty Nice,
who was also named 2016 USEF
International Horse of the Year.
Instead of heading south
earlier in the winter to train
and compete in more favorable
weather, Phillip instead sent
the core members of his team
and his young horses to their
Red Oak Farm in Aiken, South
Carolina. Phillip stayed behind
in Pennsylvania with his top
mounts to be with Lee Lee and
“It’s been what you could
call a life-changing moment for
Lee Lee and our family,” he said,
and it certainly puts things into
perspective about what is import-
ant in life.”
Deeper Understanding
The quiet winter days spent
in Pennsylvania, when the rest
of the local eventing community
has long since migrated south,
brought Phillip to a deeper level
of understanding with his top
“On a personal level, it’s
brought me back to basics with
my horses,” he said. “Having
what you might call the ‘A team’
here with me in Pennsylvania and
having to do all the long jog sets
and canter sets and jumping on
them myself, I’ve really enjoyed
it. I would like to work toward
being able to keep going like this
in the future.”
With that goal in mind,
Phillip has decided to scale back
his operation, from the number
of in-house students and work-
ing students to the size of his
staff and the string of horses he
“I wanted to place a con-
centrated effort on the careers
of my top horses,” he said. “I’m
still going to teach, but my first
priority will be these horses and
not spreading myself quite so
With Lee Lee making con-
sistent progress in her recovery,
Phillip shipped his top horses
down to Aiken at the end of
February. Despite getting a
late start on the season, Phil-
lip settled right back into the
competitive form that makes
him one of the top event riders
in the world.
At Red Hills Internation-
al Horse Trials in Tallahassee,
Florida, at the beginning of
March—his first major competi-
tion back—he finished sixth with
Fernhill Revelation in the CIC3*
and finished another four horses
in the top 20 of a competitive
CIC2* division.
He continues to travel back
and forth between South Caro-
lina and Pennsylvania regularly
to visit with Lee Lee, and she
continues to take positive steps
forward in her recovery every
“We all feel comfortable now
that Lee Lee is on a proper road
to recovery,” Phillip said. “It’s
obviously still going to be a long
way before she’s able to come
home, but we’re excited about
this next stage for her.”
Looking Ahead
Looking ahead to the rest
of the season, Phillip will
compete Tom Tierney and
Annie Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive
and John and Kristine Norton’s
I’m Sew Ready at the Rolex
Kentucky Three-Day Event in
Mighty Nice, better known
as “Happy,” enjoyed an ex-
tended vacation after winning
individual bronze in Rio, and he
is now back in full work. Phillip
will have him out competing
later in the year, with an eye on
aiming for a big competition
in the fall with the 2018 World
Equestrian Games in Tryon in
“With Happy we’ll try
to work back from the World
Championships and come up with
a good competition plan for him
Lee Lee Jones, riding Fernhill Pickpocket, last competed at the Virginia Horse Trials in October.
Lee Lee, the daughter of Evie Dutton and stepdaughter of USEF Equestrian of the year Phillip
Dutton was critically injured in a riding accident at her parents’ True Prospect Farm in West
Grove, PA before Christmas.
Photo credit: Jenni Autry
‘Life Changing Moment’: Dutton Family Copes as Daughter Lee Lee Recovers
Pennsylvania Equine Council spring
newsletter … pgs. 26-27
Photos banned at New Holland,
rescues are hampered … pg. 8
Injured jockey Jake Chalfin lobbies for
spinal cord research … pg. 21
… and much much more!
Clinics, Shows, Camps &
Events feature … pgs. 14-18
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