A Shetland called TJ and a five-star debut at 20: nine things you didn’t know about Will Coleman

  • Will Coleman won the CCI4*-S at Carolina International (18-21 March 2021) on Off The Record.

    Let’s find out a bit more about the US event rider…

    1. Will’s Carolina winner, Off The Record, is an Irish Sport Horse by VDL Arkansas out of an Ard Ohio mare. He was originally named Cooley Stateside. The pair’s win at Carolina was their third at the four-star short level, following victories at The Plains Nations Cup in 2018 and Jersey Fresh in 2019.

    2. His interest in equestrianism started when he was six years old and his family moved to a farm in Charlotteville, Virginia. His first pony was a Shetland called TJ who arrived in the back of a pick-up truck.

    3. Will’s wife is called Katie and she has worked as a groom on the hunter jumper circuit, as well as in top-level eventing. While working for Michael and Nathalie Pollard, she groomed at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where Michael rode Schoensgreen Hanni to individual fourth and team gold. She was named US Eventing Association groom of the year in 2012. Katie has a passion for groundwork and dressage.

    4. Will first hit the spotlight riding a horse called Fox In Flight. The pair won the under-25 CCI3* (now CCI4*-S) at Bramham Horse Trials in 2003 – he is the only US rider ever to win that class – and were 26th at Burghley Horse Trials that autumn on their top-level debut. Will was just 20 years old at the time.

    5. He credits hunting in the Virginia Piedmont for much of his equestrian development and his father – also Will – is a keen hunting man.

    6. Will Coleman made his championship debut at the London Olympics in 2012 where he finished 37th individually on Twizzel. He also rode at the 2018 World Equestrian Games on Tight Lines.

    7. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia. When he started his degree there, he and his family sold Fox In Flight and another advanced horse he had at the time and, while he kept some young horses and one advanced campaigner, during this time Will focused on broadening his knowledge in different areas of equestrianism, including learning with experts in pure dressage and showjumping.

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    8. Growing up, Will’s equestrian idol was Mark Todd and he also admires the French Olympic showjumper Michel Robert.

    9. Will Coleman won a lucrative hunter derby at the World Equestrian Center in January 2021, just two weeks after riding in his first hunter class.

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