Dec 28, 2020

Top 10 Tips for Planning Your Season with Will Faudree

Will Faudree and Mama's Magic Way at the Morven Park International Horse Trials. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

One of the most exciting parts of the year is setting the goals you want to strive towards in the coming year and then sitting down with the USEA Calendar and selecting which events you will compete at to reach your goal. But successful goal-setting and planning isn’t just about selecting which events work with your schedule – it is a multifaceted process with many aspects to consider.

Five-star eventer Will Faudree has a string of horses competing from Novice all the way up to the CCI5*-L level and knows a thing or two about how to set each horse up for success with their own unique plan that caters to their needs. Take a look at his top tips for planning and preparing for you and your horse for the upcoming season.

  1. First, I look at what my goal is for the year, whether it be Kentucky in the spring and the Burghley, or a horse that is moving up to the upper levels and my goal is a CCI2*-L in the fall. I look at what my year-end goal is and then backtrack from there. I try to figure out what is the best possible plan to get that horse to the end goal.
  2. Once you have your goal set, you have to decide what is the best way to get there. I like to have three different paths. If it’s an experienced horse, he might not need to run a lot, while if I have a horse that’s maybe not as experienced I will do a couple of runs early in the season and see how he comes out and make a decision from there. I try to think about a bunch of different plans and not be married to any of them.
  3. Also, make sure you check the qualifications you need to achieve your goal. What do I need to do to make sure that myself and the horse, as a combination, are qualified for that end goal?
  4. You have to keep your own goals in mind while thinking about what is going to be the best fit for your horse. One piece of advice I like to give is, “Shelve your own dream and really look at it from 30,000 feet.” Is it in my horse’s best interest to aim for my goal? If it is, go for it!
  5. Once you have your goal and your plan in mind, consult a coach or trainer whose opinion you respect. It’s important that you go to someone who’s not just going to tell you what you want to hear. Tell them what you want to do, and ask them if they think you have a good plan in place.
  6. When my horses come back in from their holiday, I put them back into work and then have your vet and farrier do a full evaluation. It will give you a baseline and a good road map to plan. Anything you can do that’s proactive will help your horse down the line. What can I do now that will help my horse feel his best at my end goal?
  7. Once I know physically how my horse is feeling and what plans I have mapped out, I will count backward from the end goal to create a fitness schedule. Fitness levels will vary based on what level you are going and it will vary from horse to horse. A Thoroughbred will need fewer gallops than a Warmblood. You also have to determine if your horse needs more muscle fitness or more wind fitness and tailor your fitness program to that.
  8. One aspect of helping your horse feel physically his best is nutrition. I work with an equine nutritionist – nutrition is so important to your horse’s longevity and soundness. Develop a good feeding program that is right for your horse and is going to support his specific needs.
  9. After every competition as you move through your plan, get with your trainer and coach and evaluate your horse’s performance. If he was tired, was he physically tired or not breathing well? Really listen to your horse and what he is telling you.
  10. Finally, don’t make excuses for when things go wrong – acknowledge that they went wrong, figure out why they went wrong, and talk with people who you respect to help fix them so they don’t go wrong again.

Want more tips from top professionals? Check out other articles in our Top 10 Tips series!

May 12, 2021 Competitions

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Announces $300,000 Prize Money for Inaugural Event

The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced athletes and horses in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill (CCI5*-L) will be competing for $300,000 in prize money. Additionally, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing National Championship (CCI3*-L), running in conjunction with the 5 Star, will award $25,000 in prize money. Both events, as well as the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, will take place this October 14-17 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.

May 12, 2021 Education

Pre-Purchase Examination 101: With Dr. Shauna Spurlock

You’ve seen a horse you like. You’ve ridden it; you love it. The money’s right; you’ve agreed to buy it. What happens next?

Pre-purchase veterinary examinations are one of those topics that a roomful of horsey people could discuss - and argue amongst themselves about - for hours. For the amateur rider, that can be confusing and slightly alarming.

So, let’s simplify it. What is a pre-purchase examination, why are they done, and what should you expect?

May 11, 2021 Intercollegiate

Eyes on the Prize at the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships

The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships will take place later this month at the Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) in Lexington, Va. across May 27-30. Following the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan, the USEA is working with VHT organizer Andy Bowles to ensure the Championships are still a destination competition for all Intercollegiate event riders, packed full with an opening ceremony, the traditional “college town” area, the prestigious spirit award, and an abundance of prizes.

May 10, 2021 Eventing News

2021 FEI MER Changes effective July 1

The FEI passed rule changes impacting Minimum Eligibility Requirements in November 2020 that go into effect on July 1, 2021. The changes will impact athletes who are uncategorized, “D” and “C” athletes competing at the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI4*-L, and CCI5*-L levels. Please see below for the highlighted changes. The USEF requirements to compete at these levels remain unchanged, but please remember that the USEF requirements must be achieved within 12 months of the competition. These changes will be adopted into the USEF Eventing Rulebook by July 1. See Appendix 3 for qualification requirements.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Horse Clothing of the USEA