Saturday, Sep. 30, 2023

Ringside Chat With Will Faudree: Getting Back In The Tack

Will Faudree is back in the saddle after a serious injury.


On Sept. 5, four-star eventer Will Faudree suffered a serious fall from a relatively new horse to his stable, Hans Dampf, at the Five Points Horse Trials, held at the Carolina Horse Park.

Faudree, Southern Pines, N.C., fractured his C6 and C7 vertebrae in his neck and experienced numbness on the left side of his body.

But true to the eventer spirit, Faudree persevered through his recovery and was finally back in the saddle for the first time on Feb. 1. Now less than two months later, he’s brought four horses to the Cloud 11-Gavilan North Carolina International, a hometown event that the 34-year-old helped bring to fruition.

Faudree is currently second in the CIC** with Hans Dampf and eighth with Caeleste. He’s also competing Socialite in the same division and Pfun in the CIC***.

We caught up with Faudree to find out how he’s feeling.

The Chronicle: We’re so happy to see you back out again Will! Tell me what you’re recovery process has been like and how it feels to be back in the saddle?


Will Faudree: “Once I got cleared in December to start working out again and doing some fitness stuff, I started taking advantage of that, getting myself as fit as I could before getting back in the tack.

I was prepared to have reservations, and I was going to be very honest with myself about those reservations, but I didn’t have them. The first day I got back on it felt great, and about three weeks after just doing dressage and really getting to know the horses again, I joked around because my dressage coach John Zopatti and my jump coach Bobby Costello had ridden them for me along with the girls at the barn. I was almost trying the horses out again for the first time because they were all different in a very good way. I’m very lucky and very fortunate  that Jennifer [Mosing, Faudree’s main owner] allowed the team to keep the horses going. Once I started jumping again I was so excited I could still see a distance and was very happy to get back at it.

I did my first competition two weeks ago here at Southern Pines, and I had healthy nerves, as you would hope to have competing, but it was a very emotional moment because you don’t know what it’s going to be like. But it was really fun circling that start box, excited to go out and tackle the challenges ahead. I think it all goes back to the fall where I got hurt. It was such a freak deal. I’ve said it was like being sideswiped in the middle of an intersection because someone ran a red light. [Hans Dampf is] a fantastic horse, and it was just bad luck. We all fall off horses—there’s not one person here that hasn’t. It’s the way you hit the ground that defines your injury. I’m very fortunate that the surgeons were able to piece it back together.”

What kind of fitness work did you do before you got back on?

“Lots of stuff in the gym. I’ve got a trainer that comes a couple of times a week. Lots of cardio. I was basically immobile for four months. I’m starting behind the eight ball, so I needed to make sure that by the time I was back in the tack, I was as fit as my horses needed me to be.”

How does it feel to be back here at Southern Pines at an event that you’re so involved in?


“I love it. I love this event. I’m part of the organizing committee, and it’s a great group of people on the organizing committee. What better place to come back to? This is my home event, and I have so many friends on the grounds here.” 

Can you tell me about your top two horses right now?

“[Hans Dampf] has gone three-star with Andreas Dibowski from Germany. He’s a 10-year-old Oldenburg, the very last son of Heraldik. He’s a gorgeous stamp of a horse. I fell in love with him the day I saw him. We had to get to know each other, and had it gone to plan last August I’d be on my way to Kentucky with him, but it didn’t, and you play the hand you’re dealt. I’m taking my time with him. If all goes well this weekend, and I feel good about it, I’ll do the CIC*** on him at The Fork [N.C.], and if I feel like I need a little more time with him, I’ll take that. I think he’s as excited to be back and going as I am.

“Pfun did one and a half advanceds last year. He was short listed for the Pan Ams, then he did the advanced here at Five Points. He was great on cross-country. I rode him before I rode Hans, so I didn’t get to finish.

I know Pfun very well. I’ve had him for a long time, and I’m very confident on him.”

What’s your plan for cross-country day?

“I’m going to go out. I’m a very competitive person. I will say with the injury, I don’t feel like I made a mistake or the horse made a mistake. It was just bad luck. I did notice a couple weeks ago, I was a little bit too picky to some of the jumps, so my plan is to go out and see how they feel, and if I feel I can put my foot down and go a bit quicker I will, and if not, I’ll throttle back and do what I need to do to hopefully bring them home safe and sound.”



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