Will Coleman Equestrian - My Bio
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WILL COLEMAN EQUESTRIAN - MY BIOWhile he was born in New York on May 8th, 1983, Will Coleman’s life with horses didn’t begin until he was six years old when his family moved to a farm in Charlottesville, Virginia. When a Shetland pony arrived in the back of a pick-up truck not long after the move to Virginia, the seeds of a future career in horses were planted. Though the Shetland can be given credit for fostering a certain competitive spirit and a certain comfort with hitting the deck, Will really learned to ride in the hunt fields of the Virginia Piedmont and in the show jumping ring.
His father was an avid horseman and fox hunter, and on a variety of ponies that succeeded the great Shetland teacher, Will first learned his jumping and cross-country skills in the hunt field, at hunter paces, and in the show jumping ring. An interest in eventing naturally followed, and after a clinic with eventing greats Karen and David O’Connor, Will began taking lessons with the two Olympic veterans regularly. After graduating high school in 2001 from Woodberry Forest School, Will began a three-year apprenticeship with the O’Connors in which David, in particular, took Will under his wing as he progressed from the ranks of Young Rider to international four-star competition. From the outset, it was a successful relationship, both in terms of competitive success and in the education Will received from David’s expert tutelage. In 2001, Will was gold medalist at the North American Young Rider’s Championship at just 18 years of age. Moving up to three-star level the next year, he finished 8th on Second Hope at Fair Hill International CCI3*, earning a spot on the USEF’s training list that winter. In 2003, his partnership began with another horse, Fox-In-Flight, and they became the first American horse and rider to ever win the Bramham Under-25 European Championships in England.
That fall, they returned to England to contest their first four-star, and put in a clean round across the world’s biggest cross country course to finish 26th out of a field of 100+. Once again, Will was listed as a contender for a team spot on the 2004 Athens team, at just 20 years old. But good fortune would not be in the cards for him, and Fox-In-Flight injured himself right before Rolex Kentucky in the spring of 2004, sidelining that Olympic dream for the time being. Another horse, Second Hope, did compete at that 2004 Rolex with Will, however, and earned the honor of being top placing young rider in his first attempt at America’s biggest three-day event. As a young rider, Will had accomplished an incredible amount before he had even turned twenty-one years of age.
Presciently, he even now admits that he was far from ready to turn professional at that time. In his words, Will says, “At Rolex 2004, I was twenty years old at that time and it was my second four star. I was inexperienced, to say the least, but I had a wonderful ride around the cross country, and finished as the highest placed young rider, making the entire week an incredibly positive experience. However, I was very much still learning how to ride, and most of my focus was on studying technique and developing the skills to compete at four-star level under the tutelage of David O’Connor. Training and developing the horses themselves to four-star level was still largely a mystery to me, despite having done both Burghley and Rolex before I was 21. I realized that I knew very little, and, now looking back, it was after that Rolex in 2004 that a new chapter in my riding life began.”
In 2005, Will began an education of a different sort, both in horses and in life. In the fall of that year, Will started school at the University of Virginia. He and his family sold one of his advanced horses, Fox-In-Flight, and later sold another one, Ratzi, leaving Will with a couple young horses and one old campaigner, Second Hope. School took away some of the opportunities to compete, and so it made sense to take advantage of the time not spent traveling to events to focus on riding and training in its purest sense. He started studying dressage with Gerd Reuter, whose mentoring has now helped define how Will approaches training the horses on the flat, and who showed him the values of transitions and long-lining. His father being a show jumper, Will started to spend more time in this world as well, and Anne Kursinski graciously gave him a lot of her time, inviting Will to a couple horse shows to ride some of her horses when her back was giving her trouble. Similarly, Wiljan Larakkers, a friend of his father’s in Holland, invited Will to Europe to show horses indoors, a hugely beneficial experience. Will also examined fitness, where Philip Dutton, who many believe is this country’s preeminent master of conditioning, gave him welcome advice. All of these people, as well as the many others whose names number too many to mention them all, helped provide Will with the backbone of a system or program for training and competing at top-level. It will never be completely fleshed out. There will always be more to add, but this period of time is where he began to construct the foundation for what his program would become.
Today, Will is a professional in every sense of the word, and his education and the attention to detail he exhibited in trying to develop himself into a well-rounded horseman seems to be paying dividends. His top two horses, Twizzel (owned by James Wildasin) and Nevada Bay (owned by Nanki Doubleday), have been performing brilliantly at four-star and three-star level, respectively, over the last couple years. A promising group of young horses, owned by an ambitious and generous group of owners, is coming up the ranks behind them, frequently bringing home top placings at intermediate level and below. While training and competing the horses is his number one passion and priority, he teaches lessons almost everyday and clinics around the country. In his mind, Will has not even scratched the surface of what he hopes to accomplish in this wonderful sport, but seems well on his way towards achieving his lofty goals.
ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE
2010 Red Hills CIC3* World Cup Qualifier – 3rd on Nevada Bay
2010 USEF High Performance A-List on Twizzel
2009 Luhmuhlen CCI4* Germany – 5th on Twizzel
2009 USEF High Performance A- List on Twizzel
2008 Fair Hill International CCI3* - 3rd on Twizzel
2008 Fair Hill International CCI2* - 2nd on Nevada Bay
2008 Planation Field CIC3* - 1st on Twizzel
2008 Plantation Field CIC2* - 2nd on Nevada Bay
2008 Millbrook H.T. Intermediate – 2nd on Nevada Bay
2008 Millbrook H.T. Advanced – 3rd on Twizzel
2008 Southern Pines Horse Trials Intermediate - 3rd on Nevada Bay
2008 The Fork Horse Trials Intermediate - 2nd on Nevada Bay
2008 The Fork Horse Trials CICW*** - 7th on Twizzel
2008 Jersey Fresh CCI** - 4th on Twizzel
2008 Stuart Horse Trials CIC** - 4th on Twizzel
2008 Millbrook Horse Trials Advanced - 3rd on Twizzel
2008 Millbrook Horse Trails Intermediate - 2nd on Nevada Bay
2008 American Eventing Championship Advanced - 3rd on Twizzel
2008 American Eventing Championship Intermediate - 4th on Nevada Bay
2007 Adequan Gold Cup Series 1st – Kiki du Manoir
2007 The Fork Horse Trials Intermediate 1st – Kiki du Manoir
2007 Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials CIC** 1st – Kiki Du Manoir
2007 Headed USEA Rider Leaderboard 31st July
2007 Jersey Fresh CCI** 4th - Icarus
2006 USEF National CCI Championship – Kiki du Manoir
2006 Radnor CCI** - 3rd – Kiki du Manoir
2005 Luhmuhlen CCI**** - 16th on Second Hope, second highest placed American
2004 USEA Young Rider and Advanced Rider of the Year
2004Shortlisted for the Athens Olympics
2004 Rolex Kentucky CCI**** USA qualified Fox in Flight and Second Hope 19th
2003 Bramham International CCI *** Great Britain. 1st. Under 25 Section – Fox In Flight
2003 Chatsworth Advanced Division 2. 1st – Second Hope
2003 Chatsworth CIC *** Fox-in-Flight
2003 Burghley International CCI****. Great Britain – Fox in Flight
2002 8th Fair Hill CCI*** - Second Hope
2001 NAYRC Champion – Ratzi
Will’s career map is detailed and focused. One of his aims is to be shortlisted for every Olympic games for as long as he rides. Potentially this could be at least eight times.
Latest Will Coleman News
OBOS O'Reilly wins the Fair Hill CIC3*The ten-year-old ISH brings home the blue for the Four-Star Eventing Group Twizzel unfortunately a scratch for KYAfter much deliberation, Jim and Will decide to wait for a later four-star. Too soon for Twizzel. 2013 Schedule is out!Will's spring competition calendar and open clinic dates. Check it out!For ALL our Daily News ... Keep right up-to-date with all our News and Events - CLICK HERE