Hong Kong 14th August
Duel Olympic Gold Medallist, Philip Dutton did not have a great competition at the 2008 Olympic Games. In his first Olympic competition as a member of Eventing team USA, it seemed that luck was not on his side.
The dressage competition was of an extremely high level and although a lovely test Philip's dressage score of 40.60 put him more than 10 points behind the leader, Lucinda Fredericks and her little mare Headley Britannia who was representing Australia for the first time in a team.
Philip rode late in the cross country competition and did comment that the going was not as good as the first group of horses to go out but was still safe. It had started to rain quite heavily. Shane Rose, riding 5th for the Australian team, did not have any trouble with the late going and set the course record incurring 9.20 time penalties. Philip Dutton unfortunately raked up more than twice that amount with 19.60 time penalties on the very technical cross country course designed by British course designer Mike Etherington-Smith.
Going into the Show Jumping Philip Dutton was determined to display the best of his 15-year-old Irish Thoroughbred bay gelding Connaught. But after taking two rails Philip said :
"I think the lights and the atmosphere distracted him. I thought he would be a little bit tired but he wasn't, he was pretty sharp. He was looking at everything else and not focusing on the jumps. I'm a bit disappointed."
Philip did qualify in the top 25 competitors and jumped a beautiful clear second round in the showjumping after having two rails down in the first.
In February this year the FEI a put into place a new rule that prohibited jumping boots over 500grams (FEI) Rule 257.253). Unfortunately Connaught's hind boots were over the weight limit defined by the new rule and Philip Dutton was eliminated from the individual portion of the competition.It would seem that US Chef d'Equipe Mark Phillips and Dutton did not know about the rule, and that there was never any intention to operate outside the rules.
© Cyberhorse 2008 Toni-Anne Collins