Texan-born eventer Will Faudree attended his first championship as a member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2003 Pan American Games in Elkton, Maryland. Faudree was the reserve rider for the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece and rode at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen (Germany).
The 39-year-old is based in Hoffman, North Carolina, at the 45-acre Gavilan Farm, which is currently home to 18 horses. He lives with his four dogs and one cat.
6 a.m. My dogs usually are the first to get me up. Maeve, 7, she’s a vizsla; Beckett, 12, and Tilda, 9, are black and tan terriers. My boredom in the pandemic led me to a 6-month-old French bulldog, Ludwig, who is the current dictator of my house and drives all of us insane. Audrey, she’s an indoor cat.
I wake up, let the dogs out, go have a cup of coffee. I use the sugar-free French vanilla creamer. I have a koi pond, and I go out in the morning while the dogs are still out and feed the koi fish. I usually just sit there and kind of wake up. It’s a pretty serene place; it’s one of my favorite places to be in the morning. We travel a lot, so when I’m home, that’s an escape for me, so I love that.
When I make the coffee, I usually get half a banana out of the freezer—I freeze bananas—and I let that thaw a little bit. I have the same breakfast every morning: ViSalus Vi Shape protein powder, half a banana and almond milk. I usually go back in [from the koi pond] and make my shake.
7 a.m. I work out with trainer Mila Harris Monday through Friday. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we do cardio. I have my shake after that and then shower and head to the barn.
[Harris] comes at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. On the Tuesdays and Thursdays when I’m not working out, I like to watch the “Today Show” at 8 a.m. and then finish my shake, put riding clothes on and head up to the barn.
[Natalie Varcoe-Cocks], my barn manager and keeper of Gavilan Farm, usually starts at 6:30 a.m., and she feeds the horses. Most of my horses live out overnight; I think I have one horse that stays in overnight right now. She goes around, feeds the horses out in the field, makes the lunch and dinner, and breakfast for the next morning. The working students and my other two grooms start around 7:30 a.m. Everybody brings the horses in; they get their blankets off if they’ve had blankets on, [get] their feet picked out. If they’ve jumped or galloped and they’ve had wraps on, those get pulled off before their legs get looked at and cleaned off.
They start going on the walker about 7:45 a.m., and they go on [for] 20-30 minutes depending on what level of work they’re in. I have a book of what the horses are going to do every day. At the end of the day, I fill it out for the next day so that we can have a plan to get going.
8 a.m. I come up [to the barn]. The horses—most of them are still on the walker. For horses that don’t go on the walker, I’ll start riding [them] around 8:15 a.m. If I’m not working one of those horses, I usually start riding around 8:30 a.m.
8:30 a.m. I try to really bust through all my horses, depending on what they’re doing that day. If it’s a trot set or a hack day, some of the girls will ride and do a trot set with me. I like doing a lot of those myself, so if we do go out in a group of two, I’ll be with one of the horses.
Tuesdays are always a really nice day because it’s quiet. Mondays, my veterinarians come to look at the horses. When I was a working student for Phillip Dutton many years ago, that was something that I picked up there. For me, it’s a really good practice to have. I try to be very proactive in my horse’s health, not reactive, and the way to be proactive is if we have the people who work to keep them feeling the best see them at least once a week.
Mondays, the vets are here; my farrier’s here, and then Alice Farina, who does the bodywork with them. We call it the “bus.” The bus meets on Mondays, and they don’t necessarily look at every horse in the barn, but if there’s been a question or something throughout the week, we can talk to them about it. Obviously, the top competition horses do get looked at. If it’s their week to be shod, the vets get with my farrier.
My responsibility with these horses is to train and compete them and to produce results. I’m not a veterinarian; I’m not a farrier, so I rely on those professionals to do their jobs, and I think the best way for all of us to make the horses feel the best that they can is if [there’s] always an open dialogue.
I’m very grateful that I have Jennifer Mosing, who owns my top horses. [She] supports that effort and believes in that effort. It does become a cost-effective thing. I joke around that you can’t really afford to do it, but you can’t afford not to do it, so there are ways to do it to minimize the expense. For me, I’ve found throughout my career [that] by having the team really be on top of these horses, at the end of the day, you end up spending less money because you’re not having to fix a problem.
12:30 p.m. I’m usually done riding. I usually have almond butter biscuit bars mid-morning if I’m feeling a little hungry. I have a very weird obsession with pickles, so there are always pickles in the refrigerator in the barn. Usually, when I’m done riding [and] I get up to the house—I love to cook, so if I have leftovers from the night before, I’ll usually do that, or I’ll make myself a sandwich. One of my favorite things are the [Healthy Choice Power Bowls] that you get in the freezer section. You pop them in the microwave, and they’re actually really good.
1 p.m. I don’t teach a ton while I’m at home, although during this pandemic, I’ve actually picked up a lot, and I’ve been teaching quite a bit. It’s been fun to go to work with students and work with people without the pressure of competition. We’re all competitive; that’s why we do this, and so we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we are competing. It’s amazing the progress the horses have made, and it’s something that I talk to myself and my students about. Going forward, when the pressures of competition start, we have to remember the mindset that we’re in right now without the pressure. It’s easier said than done.
1:45 p.m. If it’s a Tuesday or Thursday and I’m working out, I have to be done [teaching] by 1:45, so I try to start teaching at 11 a.m. [On] Tuesday, we do weights, and Thursday, we do yoga and stretching.
2:45 p.m. I have a friend who does my entries, but [I do] all of my office and banking, so I try to allow one day a week where I can do my office stuff: catch up on emails, balance my checkbook—try to keep it in the green. That day fluctuates each week depending on my schedule and how busy I am and what time of year it is.
4:30 p.m. [On] Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, I’ve been going to play tennis in town; I’ve got a couple friends that will go play for an hour. If none of my friends can play tennis, I love to read, so I’ll usually go back out to the koi pond if it’s nice and just read a book.
I like books [about] real people. I most recently read “Everything Beautiful In Its Time: Seasons Of Love And Loss” by Jenna Bush Hager, and it was such a fun book to read. It’s really what we need in this country right now: real-life stories of compassion and love and friendship and heartache and reality. I love books like that. I recently read Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed,” which was another great story. I read a lot of autobiographies, but I do love novels every now and then. The most recent novel I read was “Where The Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, and that was a really cool book, very well written.
One of my favorite authors is Cormac McCarthy. I find his writing style so brilliant. He writes with such sporadic punctuation that sometimes it’s hard to find the rhythm of the story, but when you get into it, you realize the punctuation is just a thought process, and I love that. I didn’t finish, but I did go to [Widener University (Pennsylvania)] for creative writing, and that’s something I do a lot of in my downtime. I write a lot of different short stories, poems, stuff like that, so I love the play on words, and the placement of punctuation is very intriguing to me.
6:30 p.m. I usually will make dinner or go out to dinner. [I like to cook] everything; I like a challenge. One of my pandemic hobbies was I wanted to teach myself to bake macarons, which are harder than hell to make, but I figured out how to do it. [I cook] whatever I’m feeling; if I see something on TV, if I read about something that sounds good. I love Ina Garten; I have all of her cookbooks, so I like to play around with what I have in my refrigerator. If I haven’t planned something, I see what I can come up with. It’s usually never the same.
7 p.m. I’m a huge “Jeopardy” fan, so I like to watch.
8 p.m. I’m very much of an early-to-bed person, so I wind it down and head to bed.