Aleco: Philip, thank you coming to teach here today, at Rutledge Farm.
Phillip: You’re welcome. It’s been a pleasure.
Aleco: Why do you like teaching clinics?
Phillip: I’ve been very lucky to have a long and reasonably successful career. It’s rewarding for me to pass on my experiences, and some of the knowledge that I’ve gained. I think it helps the process along for people, so that they know that I’ve made plenty of mistakes, myself, and so it’s good for me to say, “Well, if you do it this way, it will be a lot more rewarding.” It quickens the process up, and everybody’s got different goals and ambitions. It’s really rewarding bringing a horse along, and the fun and the enjoyment are in the process and learning, and that’s what these clinics are all about — getting the riders and the horses to enjoy the process and making each day and each ride a rewarding and learning process. I try to set goals for these people and riders, so that each day they have a plan on what they’re trying to do. It’s not that complicated. It’s just the basics of riding and trying to stick to that.
Aleco: Philip, if you could change one thing about the sport. What would it be?
Phillip: Well, the one thing about Eventing is that it’s probably a little bit too hard to understand, for the general person that just comes to it, and especially the non-horse-person. It is a great sport. It’s like the triathlon of horse sports. But with the various rules, and such, and the dressage being a little bit subjective, it’s probably not the easiest sport to understand. I think the more that we could simplify all that would make it better.
Aleco: Phillip please share what are the most memorable moments of your career?
Phillip: Most memorable moments in my career… Well, I assume you’re talking about good moments. Obviously, it’s pretty hard to top being at the Olympic Games and standing on the podium. And added to that, I was very fortunate, when I first moved to this country, being an Australian citizen, and my first Olympics was Atlanta, which was many years ago. It’s pretty cool to be my first Olympics, at my now home country of the United States, and representing Australia. And obviously, we won a gold medal there. And then the next Olympics was Sydney in Australia. So I went back to Sydney, which is obviously my home city. And anybody that I’d ever known all my life all turned up there to watch, and to do well in Sydney, too, was an incredible experience. And then obviously, with Rio representing the US now, coming home with an individual medal, for the US, was very rewarding, obviously, for me and all my family and connections, but also for this country. There’s been some great moments.
Aleco: So you’re representing Australia, competing in the United States and then representing the United States, competing in Australia?
Phillip: No, no, I hadn’t changed my nationality by then. So I represented Australia in Australia.
Aleco: That’s awesome.
Aleco: Philip, how have you seen the sport change throughout your career?
Phillip: The sport has seen incredible amounts of change. It’s gone from a sport that was originated in the military. And so now, obviously in this modern era and technology and TV coverage and live- stream coverage, the sport’s been streamlined. Now, it’s a sport that has so many participants, from the very grassroots level, to people that that’s all they do is for their sport. They’re professionals at it. There’s been so many changes in the evolution of the sport through there. There’s been so many changes in the sport itself. It’s not so much just about endurance and jumping. Big jumps now. There is a lot more technicality to it on the cross-country and also the show jumping. And obviously, the dressage test has become harder. And obviously, now, there are horses being purpose bred just for this sport. You know, back many years ago, everybody just got a horse that was bred for racing and had a racing career and then it became your event horse. Whereas now, there are studs and people that are just breeding horses specifically for our sport. So, I think there’s been some great, great changes to the sport, too, to keep pace with it. But, it’s important to keep the integrity of our sport, which is obviously about the cross country. And that should always be the strongest part, or the part that keeps you going as a rider.
Aleco: Philip, what is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
Phillip: It could be technical, I guess, on riding, but somebody once said to me, “be nice to the people on the way up, because you’ll see them on the way down.” And I always think about that, because I think that it’s a very humbling sport, and it’s a great sport. There are always ways that you can get better. Competition brings that out, as does your training. I like to think that people around horses generally get to experience some really important and great highs. But also there’s some down parts to it. It is a great sport, and it’s a good place for people to be, because I think it shows all sides of humanity. You learn to be able to not get too carried away with the highs, and also learn to deal with the lows.
Aleco: One thing that everybody should know, if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Phillip already, is that, Phillip, you are one of the kindest people and most down to earth that I have had the pleasure of knowing in this sport.
Thank you Aleco.
Aleco: Thank you, everybody. Phillip, thank you for coming to teach at Rutledge Farm, today.
Phillip: You’re welcome. It’s been a pleasure.