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!

Oct 06, 2022

YEH Graduates Entered to Compete at the Second Edition of the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill

While a total of 95 4- and 5-year-old horses will be vying for top-finishes in The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships next weekend, a select group of YEH graduates are entered in the CCI5*-L division at the second annual MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory. The USEA YEH program has run successfully for over 15 years, and many graduates of the program have gone onto compete at the pinnacle of the sport, the FEI 5-Star level of eventing, including the four horses entered in the 2022 Maryland 5 Star.

Oct 05, 2022 USEA Foundation

MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program Expands to Offer First-Ever West Coast Location at Galway Downs

Founded in 2019, the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program was initially created to assist up-and-coming riders under the age of 25 in North America who had not yet competed in a destination event, such as the program’s namesake the MARS Bromont CCI in Lac Brume, Quebec, Canada, or been recognized by the USEF programs intended for emerging athletes.. Spearheaded by the late Steve Blauner and Sue Ockendon, the program sought to give back to the sport by helping the next generation of riders get more experience under their belt with the help of the financial assistance provided by the program, and the two days of included instruction from leading coaches around the world.

Oct 05, 2022 USEA Foundation

Strides For Equality Equestrians Announces ‘SEE Month’ Fundraising Drive in October

Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is excited to kick off a two-year anniversary celebration, happening all throughout the month of October in the form of “SEE Month”. SEE’s goal during October is to raise awareness about our mission of opening doors for equestrians from diverse backgrounds while also fundraising to continue our work and future projects.

Oct 05, 2022 Competitions

Fast Facts: 2022 Morven Park International

And just like that, it is time for the Morven Park International! The prestigious event will take place Thursday, October 6, and run through Sunday, October 10 in Leesburg, Virginia. This is the event’s second year offering the CCI4*-L division, in addition to their CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI2*-S divisions. That’s not all! The historic grounds at Morven Park will also host national divisions at the Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels.

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