In Stride Interviews

The Power of Resilience: Overcoming Challenges in the Equestrian World | Will Faudree, US Five-Star Event Rider

Chapters:

  • (00:00) Introductions and Setting the Stage 
  • (01:46) Will's Background and Career
  • (03:29) From Texas to the Elite Level
  • (11:59) Building a Home in Southern Pines
  • (21:47) The Support of Jennifer Mosing
  • (24:44) Authenticity and Connection
  • (31:19) Mental Well-being and Sports Psychology
  • (48:53): The Skull and Crossbones Symbolism
  • (56:15): Writing and Reflection
  • (1:00:29) Lessons from Horses
  • (1:11:52) Seeking Inspiration and Reflection
  • (1:14:32) Life Experiences and Lessons

Show Notes:

Will Faudree, originally from Midland, Texas, developed a passion for eventing at the age of 12 and began competing in the sport. After graduating from high school, he moved to Pennsylvania to train under Olympic Rider Phillip Dutton. Despite facing a life-threatening brain injury from a horse-riding accident in 1999, Will persevered through intensive physical therapy and was named the United States Eventing Association Young Rider of the Year in 2002. He represented the United States at various international events, including the Pan American Team in 2003 and the World Equestrian Games in 2006. Currently a member of the US training squad, Will continues to train with esteemed riders and attends regular training sessions for the US team.

Quotes:

  • "It's easy to get to the top. It's hard to stay there."
  • “Yeah, everybody's very different, and so is every horse, and so you just have to keep going, and when things get hard, think in slow motion and figure out how to do it.”
  • “A rain day makes for good horses and good horsemen. But remember rain days are few and far between.”
  • “Don't go looking for reasoning, you know, just be real honest with why things happen.”

Key Topics:

  • The influence of social media on the perception of eventing and horseback riding.
  • Will's career in eventing, including his early successes and long-term involvement in the sport.
  • The importance of relationships and partnerships in eventing.
  • Will's journey from Texas to joining Phillip Dutton's team and later establishing his own farm in Southern Pines.
  • Will's work with sports psychologist Abigail Lufkin and the impact on his mental well-being.
  • The significance of self-discovery, personal growth, and embracing one's true self.
  • The story behind Will's skull and crossbones emblem and its representation of resilience and overcoming challenges.
  • The power of writing as a release and coping mechanism for Will.
  • The role of emotions and mindfulness in eventing.
  • Lessons and experiences outside of horses that have influenced Will as a horseman, including a childhood memory and the value of appreciating the present.

Where to find Will Faudree:

• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/willfaudreeeventing/?hl=en

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WillFaudreeEventing/

• Website: https://willfaudreeeventing.com

Where to find Sinead Halpin Maynard:

• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/a.c.e.copperline/

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/A.C.E.Copperline

• Website: https://www.copperlineequestrian.com/

• Lessons with Sinead on the Ride iQ app: http://onelink.to/8mhb95

References: 

Transcript:

Sinead Halpin Maynard 

All right, I am here with the one and only Will Faudree. I am really excited to have you here today, Will. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm really excited about the next hour and a half. I don't even know what we're gonna talk about.

Will Faudree
Thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Well, you know, I was pondering different topics that are hot right now and things that are interesting. I've been kind of sitting around lately because of a certain baby that showed up. I've been watching you guys, being everyone's biggest fan, watching you jump around Carolina and watching everyone at Red Hills. It's easy to get excited for my friends when they're doing well, but it's also easy to feel a little jealous or envious. I started thinking about how social media creates this false idea of a glamorous lifestyle in eventing and horseback riding, without showing all the behind-the-scenes work. You were on my list of people to talk to because I know you'll speak your mind...

Will Faudree

I don't have a problem doing that.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

No, and I've known you for a really long time. You're not one to showcase the hardships and struggles that go on behind the scenes in your business. But you've had some real roller coasters and you've been in this sport at the elite level since 2000.

Will Faudree

Yeah, I was on my first major training list in ‘02 and then I rode on the Pan-Am team in 2003. So it's been 20 years.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

And you were just a baby back then. We're the same age, so it would have been like, 20.

Will Faudree

Right, but anyway, it's crazy to think about. I've always been obsessed with the sport, the horses, and the partnerships I have with them. I don't have a ton of wins that stand out. It's more about the relationships and friendships I've made. I remember some amazing rounds and competitions, like the silver medal team round in Acapulco with you. I don't really remember the wins. It's interesting, I don't feel old enough to have done this for 20 years.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

I know, I know.

Will Faudree

You wake up one day and you're in your 40s. I've been lucky in my career with the horses I've had and the support, especially from Jennifer Mosing. She has been a huge contributor to my time at the elite level. But you have to keep at it because it's not easy to stay at the top. I remember Karen O'Connor saying, "It's easy to get to the top. It's hard to stay there." Those are some true words.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Definitely. It's interesting that you mention not remembering the wins but remembering the rides. I can relate to that. When I'm running on the treadmill or pushing myself, I often find myself recounting moments from rides rather than focusing on wins or placings. It's more about the longer feeling of connection and relationships.

Will Faudree

Exactly. It's that sense of accomplishment, overcoming challenges or making it through a difficult course. I remember those moments more than particular wins. Of course, winning is fun, and I wouldn't keep doing this if I didn't like to win, but it's not just about that. It's about the ride itself and the moments leading up to it and after it.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

It becomes addictive, and that's what keeps you going after 20 years. Let's go back to the beginning. Midland, Texas. I have a funny story to share. I was teaching a clinic in Midland and I saw these pumpjacks and wondered what they were. I learned all about minerals from a lovely lady who was driving me around. We were listening to Christian Rock, and she pointed out "Will Faudree's Daddy's house" like it was a national treasure. It was neat to see where you grew up. How did you go from Midland, Texas to joining Phillip?

Will Faudree

When I left Texas, I first went to Karen and David's. They were my young rider coaches. Then I moved on to Phillips and stayed there for three years. After that, I took a job with Jim Cogdill.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Oh, I know that guy.

Will Faudree

Yeah, it didn't work out because Jim wanted to focus on running events, while I wanted to ride in them. It was 2003, and I had just made the senior team for the Pan-Am Games. That team included myself, Steven Bradley, Bobby Costello, and Jan Vinay. I nicknamed us "the three gays and a little lady."

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Definitely something to be found on TBS.

Will Faudree

It was a little late, but Bobby Costello and I became friends. He was in Southern Pines while I was in Norwood, North Carolina. I would travel back and forth. As a young professional starting out on my own, Bobby started helping me with show jumping. He had been to the Olympics in Sydney and was on the Pan-Am team. I had previously worked for Karen and David as a working student and for Phillip as well. I admired Bobby's approach to his career, which suited my personality better. I didn't aspire to have 10 or 12 horses at an event; that wasn't my style. So I sought advice from Bobby not only as a coach but also as I embarked on my professional career. When I was with Philip, we would be in Pennsylvania and then go to Aiken for the winters. I disliked having two places since I'm a homebody. That's why I loved the idea of being in Southern Pines year-round. So at the end of 2003, I moved to Southern Pines and initially rented a place. The barn I was in was unfortunately struck by lightning and burnt down while I was in England at the final outing in Gatcombe before the Athens Olympics.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Oh my God.

Will Faudree

Thankfully, I had left three of my horses with Bobby for the summer, so they were safe. However, I lost everything else in the fire. I was only 22 years old at the time, so I didn't have many possessions, but it was still a significant loss.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Everything you have, you have with you when you’re 22 years old.

Will Faudree

Exactly. My Pan Am gold medal was also destroyed in the fire. When I returned from Athens, my horses were still with Bobby, but I needed to find a new place to live. By chance, I met Tex and Donna Griffin in a grocery store checkout line. I was wearing an Athens shirt because that's all I had left, and they recognized me as Will Faudree. They expressed their condolences about the fire and offered to show me their place in Southern Pines. I followed them immediately after the grocery store, and their property was amazing. I ended up renting a six-stall barn cabin from them from '04 until the beginning of '08. Then, the farm I currently own came on the market. It's about 20 miles from Southern Pines, in the next county over. I have 60 acres here, and Jennifer Mosing, who bought the 150 acres across the street, is a neighbor. We're surrounded by 80,000 acres of North Carolina land and wildlife. I've been here since '08, and it has been a fulfilling experience to develop my farm. I incorporated elements I loved from other barns and designed it with the horses in mind. Once I had the barn settled, I started expanding my house, which has become a bit of an addiction.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's incredible. It takes confidence and vision to create such a remarkable place. Your farm is truly stunning, and every detail, from the barn design to practical elements like the muck heap, shows your thoughtfulness and expertise.

Will Faudree

Thank you. I take great pride in my farm. Developing it has been a labor of love, and I've always aimed to create an environment that caters to the well-being of the horses. It's not just a competitive career for me; it's also about creating a space that resonates with them.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Absolutely. I remember visiting your farm and being amazed by the energy and tranquility there. Horses are masters of energy, and the energy of a place and the people in it can make a huge difference to them. It's incredible how they respond to the atmosphere. Accidents and incidents often occur due to the energy in a space. If we can navigate and understand that energy, it creates a special environment. I can't imagine wanting to leave such a place to go elsewhere, like Florida or Aiken.

Will Faudree

I completely agree. I'm content on my little island here.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

It's wonderful. Your farm has become a stopping point for many of us. I'm sure almost everyone has crashed in one of your rooms or turned to you for help with their horses. I remember FaceTiming you from your kitchen while sitting on a swing, even when you weren't there. It's a truly special place. So, after our journey from Texas to Middleburg to Unionville and now Southern Pines, let's focus on your competitive career. You had remarkable success at a young age. When did Jennifer Mosing enter the picture?

Will Faudree

I met Jennifer in a clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, in December 2008. We had met once before, and during this clinic, I was teaching her daughters. This was after Antigua retired, and I had participated in the Kentucky event on him in 2008. He was also shortlisted for the Olympic Games, although he didn't end up going to England. Meanwhile, I had just bought my farm and was in the process of settling in. I owned a great horse named Paulo who had recently completed the Three Star at Fairhill. I needed to sell him, but it was a challenging time as I had been focused on trying to qualify for the Olympics throughout the summer. I didn't do much else apart from training with Mark Phillips and attending the training sessions. Moreover, my sister was diagnosed with cancer in May 2008 and passed away in November of the same year.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Oh my god. I'm so sorry to hear that.

Will Faudree

It was a difficult time for me. My sister passed away on a Saturday, and the following Saturday was her funeral. Then, the following Saturday, I met Jennifer.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Oh my god. Amazing.

Will Faudree

You know, Jennifer, she's been... you know, we... so the term "Fairy Godmother" is dropped a lot. You know, when you hear about owners and people like that, but the biggest word I can use to describe Jennifer is "friend." She's been, obviously, a huge part of my career. And, yeah, she's like family at this point. It's so weird. I had to go down to her house here in Carolina to get a few things. I remember walking into the house, getting stuff out of the refrigerator, and suddenly I hear this voice saying, "Will." I turn around, and her youngest son is now 20. It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating his seventh birthday. He goes to college at High Point, North Carolina, so he comes down on the weekends.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Oh, that's so funny. Like, I didn't even knock. Yeah, that's funny. I only met him once. I think I went down to teach a clinic at their place. He was probably around seven or eight years old. Maybe it was 10 because he was riding one of those indoor skateboards with weights. He was zooming around, in and out. It's so wild that he's 20 now.

Will Faudree

He's in college. Crazy.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

One of the things I find cool about you and Jennifer is that, knowing both of you independently and together, you both stay true to yourselves. There's this expectation in the equestrian world that you have to behave a certain way, but you guys are always genuine, whether you're expressing excitement, frustration, or any other emotion. Jennifer, in particular, is reserved, but she has her opinions and thoughts. You two are comfortable in your own skin and comfortable together. There's no rigid owner/rider dynamic; it feels natural.

Will Faudree

Yeah, exactly. I've always marched to the beat of my own drum and done what I want. Someone once said to me, "If you were mine, I wouldn't let you go." I replied, "I wouldn't ask for your permission. I'm going to do what I want."

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Absolutely.

Will Faudree

When I first started riding for Jennifer, I was 27. While I was open about my sexuality with you all, my family didn't know. It wasn't something I openly broadcasted, and I wasn't sure how Jennifer's husband would react if he was at an event. In 2010, it was Paulo's first Five Star at Kentucky, and my then-boyfriend wanted to come. I was a bit hesitant, not knowing if it would be uncomfortable. But he joined me, and on Sunday night, we were sitting there after a successful performance. Someone mentioned my boyfriend, and I had a moment of panic. Jennifer looked at me and said, "Will, do you think my husband would let me come to these events by myself if you were straight?"

Sinead Halpin Maynard

I remember that. It was such a relief.

Will Faudree

It was a second big relief that weekend.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Yeah, that's why Jennifer and I have such a great bond. We talk daily, have fun, and we're authentic. We know our roles and responsibilities, but we have a good time together. That's why it works. There are no hidden agendas or restrictions. And now, in my 40s, I'm even more confident in being myself.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's one of the good things about getting older — the confidence to just be yourself. Creating a community that appreciates you for who you are is more important than pretending to be someone else. That's why you and I have always gotten along so well. If one of us is being ridiculous, we call each other out, and within seconds, it's like, "Okay, cool. Moving on." It's awesome. Now, looking at the sport, I feel like 40 is the new 25. The riders who are excelling now are the ones with experience, confidence, and a strong support system. They feel secure in their programs and communities, and it shows in their performances. It's an older crew, but the sport has evolved, becoming more complex and demanding in all three phases. It requires focus, attention to detail, and emotional stability. What do you think?

Will Faudree

Absolutely. I invest a lot in my mental well-being, working with Abigail Lufkin, my sports psychologist.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

You still work with her?

Will Faudree

Oh yeah, I talk to her once a month. Just spoke to her last Thursday, and I have another session before Kentucky.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's incredible. For those who don't know, Ab is a phenomenal rider who competed at the top level and is now a sports psychologist. Is she based in California?

Will Faudree

Yes, we're in California, and she's amazing. I've worked with several sports psychologists, but she truly understands eventing and gets what I go through. Her guidance has made a significant impact.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Can you share some insights from your work with her? Any tips or techniques that have helped?

Will Faudree

It's not about specific exercises or homework. I started working with Ab in January 2019 because I wasn't achieving the results I wanted despite having great coaching, veterinary care, farrier services, and a dedicated staff. I needed to address the psychological side. At first, I tried to "psychologize" myself, given my mother's background in psychology. I could anticipate what others wanted to hear, just like I did with my horses and competitive life. But I knew that approach wasn't enough. I needed to be brutally honest with myself about where I stood competitively and what I needed to do. Ab laughed when I confessed that during our first meeting. She appreciated my openness and assured me we would work through it. In the beginning, we had sessions every other week.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

How did she respond to your initial honesty?

Will Faudree

She laughed and acknowledged that it takes courage to say those things. Not many people are willing to be that real. She was glad I sought help and wanted to address the psychological aspect. We got right to work. A lot of the work involved understanding and managing my own emotions, which often got the best of me. I had a tendency to get caught up in what others might think of me, what the coaches wanted, and how I wanted to be selected. During one competition years ago, a rider tragically died, and it affected me deeply. I didn't fear the risk, but I carried guilt that hindered my competitiveness. I couldn't pinpoint the origin of that guilt until I had an event overseas where it weighed heavily on me. I discussed it extensively with Ab. It was a gradual process, spanning a year of sessions. She encouraged me to sit with the guilt, identify its physical and emotional manifestations, and explore its source. During our conversations, I shared other experiences, such as visiting the deceased rider's Facebook page, searching for their passion. Ab's questions led me to realize my anger at the phrase "dying doing what you love." I believed people shouldn't die pursuing their passions. This realization stemmed from my sister's death while I pursued my dream of taking a 20-year-old horse to the Olympics.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Right.

Will Faudree

And Ab was like, "Bingo."

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Right.

Will Faudree

I've never really dealt with the guilt I had over my sister's death.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Right.

Will Faudree

And that was a huge layer that I couldn't -- I always -- that was a guilt that held me back, and it took a long time for me to be able to say that out loud.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Did you even know? I mean, that sounds like something that was like a complete like, "Whoa."

Will Faudree

No, no. And as I was talking to her, tears just burst out and I apologized, saying, "I'm sorry. I don't know where this is coming from." She replied, "You know, the guilt from grieving is a completely different thing." I carried that guilt with me for a long time. And then, you know, the guilt of having this fairy tale. Like I mentioned earlier, my sister passed away, then there was the funeral, and afterwards, I met Jennifer. It felt like my sister was looking out for me, orchestrating all of this. I put immense pressure on myself, a pressure that I didn't deserve. Well, not that I didn't deserve the pressure, but this whole reality, this existence, I felt undeserving because I was pursuing what I loved while my sister was fighting for her life. I felt so guilty about that.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

I understand.

Will Faudree

It took a long time to work through that. And now, it's a really special connection that I have with that experience. I had to put in a lot of effort to come to terms with it. Everyone's journey is different, and mine was particularly challenging. But that was something I had to confront and work through. I'm still not completely over it. I deal with it every day. The human brain and heart are fascinating. Yeah, you know, so whenever I feel that guilt creeping in, I have developed various exercises in my mind, but the most significant one is simply smiling. It's like asking myself, "What would my sister want?" That's what happened. She was the one telling me to go for it. But it took a long time to get to that point. So now, when I experience those moments, it's a connection, a moment of relief. It's a moment where everything slows down in my competitive life. I have to think in slow motion to perform my best. And when I can think in slow motion, I can do my job, and I can move forward to the next thing without guilt.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Right.

Will Faudree

And, and if you don't have the armor of guilt, you can do your job. Yeah, still can't get my fucking elbows into the dressage clothes.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That was funny, you know, we all have to have something.

Will Faudree

I had a lesson with Tammy Smith. She put these bands around me.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Oh my God, I hope you got video.

Will Faudree

Oh, I'm gonna do it again. I'm gonna get video. She goes, "Look, you're sitting so good." I'm like, "I know, and the horse is going really well."

Sinead Halpin Maynard

It's so crazy. I got chills when you were sharing all of that, Will. The word "connection" really stood out in your story. You mentioned how at one point you felt like things weren't connecting for you, and that realization was powerful. It's amazing how seeking help and finding that connection within yourself can have such an impact on your life, your horses, and your relationships. It's not always easy to understand our own minds and hearts, even though we think we should. Sometimes we experience emotions and reactions that we can't quite connect to anything specific. That's why it's empowering to reach out and get the support and tools to know ourselves better and foster those connections in all aspects of our lives.

Will Faudree

It's a wild journey. After having that epiphany, I read Chelsea Handler's book "Life Will be the Death of Me:... and you too!" She talks about her own therapy journey and the moment of realization she had while squeezing an orange during a therapy session. It resonated with me because it was similar to my experience with Ab. I would highly recommend reading it. It's been a journey for me, and it continues every day, but it's worth it.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Absolutely. It's remarkable that you were able to look around and realize that you were content with your horses, vets, and coaches, but there was something missing within yourself. It takes a lot of self-awareness and courage to look in the mirror and say, "I am the problem." It's not always about training harder or doing more, but about understanding ourselves on a deeper level. It's fascinating how our paths can lead us to unexpected places, and in your case, it wasn't directly related to horses. It's a journey of self-discovery and growth, and it's important to acknowledge and be aware of those moments when we're going down the right path and maintaining that connection.

Will Faudree

Yes, exactly. There are more layers to explore, but it's an ever-changing process. Every day, we need to wake up and be mindful of our emotions, acknowledging and identifying them. It's something I've written down somewhere. It's about awareness and being present in the moment.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Absolutely. And now let's talk about the skull and crossbones. I noticed it on your website and show coat. Could you share the story behind it?

Will Faudree

Sure. In 2015, I broke my neck, and that experience had a significant impact on me. When you're lying on your back in a neck brace for an extended period, it messes with your head. Therapy probably should have started then, but it took a while. In 2016, I was preparing for a competition in England, and as I was packing my bag, a Jolly Roger emblem from the Goonies fell out of a cabinet. The Goonies was one of my favorite childhood movies. It made me reflect on my lifelong pursuit of representing the US and earning that pink coat. I questioned whether my motivation was for myself or external validation. This realization marked a turning point in my career. I embraced the emblem and started wearing a skull and crossbones tie clip. Initially, I didn't fully embrace it because of some association with poison from my past. However, I realized that it represented resilience and the ability to overcome challenges. It's a battle flag, and studying the use of the Jolly Roger by pirates reinforced that symbolism. It's a reminder that I can face and conquer difficult situations. If I encounter obstacles, I'll keep going until the end. I often joke about it, but it truly holds meaning for me. I've written quite a bit, and if I ever publish a book, I might call it "Almost Keep Going."

Sinead Halpin Maynard

I love it! I can envision a captivating book in the style of David Sedaris. I think it would be a bestseller, especially after hearing this interview. I'm eager for more. Keep going!

Will Faudree

Thanks! Writing is a significant release for me. If I feel nervous or wound up, I put my thoughts on paper, and it helps me cope. Dealing with nerves is something I've worked on, and writing allows me to acknowledge my feelings and leave behind anything I don't want to carry with me. I can always revisit it later. Writing is a powerful outlet.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

I completely relate. I've also worked with a sports psychologist and found writing and journaling to be immensely helpful. Emptying our minds onto paper is a potent tool. It's not about keeping everything or organizing information perfectly, but rather about getting it out of our heads. If it resonates with you and helps you, then it's incredibly valuable.

Will Faudree

Absolutely. Clearing our minds is essential. I believe that everyone is going through something, and it's about managing our emotions appropriately. Eventing is a sport fueled by passion, and it's okay to feel. It's about finding the right balance and having the appropriate amount of emotion.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's good. I like that. Having the right type of emotion. It's important. Now, let's move on to the questions I sent you. Feel free to pass on any of them if you prefer.

Will Faudree

Okay.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Oh, my gosh. We've had a lot of bad dogs on the show actually. But alright, let's start with the first question. What is the biggest lesson a horse has taught you about yourself?

Will Faudree

That I can keep going. It's a mixture of every horse I've ever ridden. They are all different, and you can't expect the next one to fill the previous one's shoes. Every horse is unique, and you have to keep going. When things get hard, think in slow motion and figure out how to handle it.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's good. I like that. Think in slow motion. I'm writing that down.

Will Faudree

Laura Kraut, the showjumper, once told me that the person who wins the jump-off is the one who thinks in slow motion. It stuck with me. People often ask how I make cross-country go so fast, but thinking in slow motion helps me make the most efficient turns. I love that expression.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Yeah, it's great. Well, let's move on to the next question. Do you have a favorite training or competition mantra that you reference regularly?

Will Faudree

Think in slow motion and just do your job.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Okay, let's go to question number three. Is there a piece of advice someone gave you along the way that you still reference today?

Will Faudree

Yes, the quote from Karen Stives is one that sticks with me. But I also go to Bobby Costello for advice. He has been with me throughout my professional career. He demands horsemanship and doesn't give me all the answers. He makes me think for myself. Sometimes it's what he doesn't say that impacts me the most. He is great at knowing when to be honest and push me to do better.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

He sounds like an incredible mentor. Knowing your audience, whether it's students or horses, is crucial. Bobby has instilled that in me over the last 20 years. He is a great teacher.

Will Faudree

Absolutely. Bobby is that way with all his students. He knows what to say and what not to say to have an impact. He has walked many Five-Star star boxes with me, and his guidance has been invaluable.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Yeah, it's important to be mindful of what you say. Alright, next question. What do you do when you are seeking inspiration?

Will Faudree

I try not to seek inspiration actively because it often leads me to overthink or overanalyze. But there are moments that naturally inspire me. I watch the Today Show in the morning, and Hoda Kotb always does these morning boosts. They often feature stories that evoke strong emotions, like soldiers reuniting with their families. Seeing the joy, excitement, and passion in others inspires me. It's a powerful feeling that I want to channel in my own life and work with horses and students.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's interesting. I'll have to check out Hoda Kotb's morning boosts. Alright, last question. Have you had an experience or adversity in your life, separate from horses, that has directly influenced you as a horseman?

Will Faudree

Absolutely. Everything in life influences us as horsemen because we put everything into this sport. One experience that stands out is from my childhood. We had a cattle ranch in Texas, and one summer, when I was around seven or eight years old, we had moved a lot of cattle up to the top of a mountain. The next morning, it was pouring rain and even snowed. An old cowboy named Leroy Webb, who was with me, said, "A rain day makes for good horses and good horsemen. But remember, rain days are few and far between." It taught me the value of appreciating the present and taking a break from the busy schedule. It's a lesson I still carry with me.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's a powerful lesson. Rain days are indeed rare in our discipline, but it's important to stop and enjoy the moment.

Will Faudree

We get so busy, always rushing from one thing to another, and sometimes we lose sight of why we're doing it all.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Yeah, that's true. We reach a point where we're the ones pushing ourselves. We need to pause and reflect. Well, this has been amazing, Will. I truly appreciate your honesty and openness throughout this conversation. I'm definitely going to listen to this episode again and revisit Bobby's interview too. You should send this to Bobby, and let's give a shoutout to Ab as well. It was great hearing about her again. Thank you so much. What's next for you? Are you heading to Kentucky or the Fork?

Will Faudree

Yeah, the Fork. I'll be doing a combined test with Fun and My Magic Way this weekend. They performed well at Carolina. Then I have Ramona competing in the four short, Fun going to Kentucky, and Mason heading to Badminton.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

So exciting!

Will Faudree

It's crazy. I last did Badminton in 2005 when it was still a long format. Strangely enough, I was number 17, and I finished 17th that year. Now, 17 years later, I'm going back.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's interesting.

Will Faudree

Who knows what it means?

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Time will tell.

Will Faudree

I hope I'll do better than 17th.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

There's a good group of Americans going, right?

Will Faudree

Yeah, it should be fun.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

It'll be awesome. Best of luck. Thank you so much for joining us. I'll probably see you at Kentucky in person, and I'll be following the Fork from here. Thank you again, and I know our listeners will be thrilled. Everyone can check out your website. What's the website?

Will Faudree

I don't update it much.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

I just Googled your name, and it came up. It's actually a really beautiful website.

Will Faudree

It is, but I need to update it. I'm not very tech-savvy.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

Honestly, I think social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are more important than websites these days.

Will Faudree

We have a Facebook group called the Will Faudree Facebook Group and an Instagram account managed by Christina, who is my tech groom. She takes care of all that.

Sinead Halpin Maynard

That's great. The website is doing its job then. It's visually appealing and provides some background information. Everyone can follow you on social media. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Will. We'll talk to you soon.

Will Faudree

Thank you.

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