Meet Will Rawlin, the driven youngster coming up through the ranks, producing top quality event horses from his yard in Hungerford. Describing his job as ‘following his passion’, we find out what makes this family operation so successful, and what we can expect from Will and his team over the coming season.
Will’s passion for equestrian began some years before setting up his professional yard last year. At age 5, with reassurance from a friend of a 100:0 fun to cost ratio, Will was loaned his first ride in the form of Sparkle, the super pony. Soon after Will joined Pony Club where he excelled in Tetrathlon, and became hooked on the adrenaline rush from cross-country, meaning that from 8 years old, an eventing career was a no brainer for young Will.
The initial British Eventing experience was on first horse, Dressed for Success, who Will took up to 2-star level. From 16, Will juggled college studies with two competition horses, going through juniors which resulted in selection as first reserve for the European Championships, 2011. Will then began keeping his horses with Fi Apthorp in Cambridge, remaining there for four years, which provided the opportunities and self-assurance necessary for Will to go it alone. Fi has been a fantastic support to Will for which he is very grateful.
At home, it’s a family affair:
Mum, Miranda is at the helm of operation go-eventing, jumping ship from admin exec, to designated driver and head groom with Dad, Andy also contributing when he is around. Together, Miranda and Will construct detailed plans for each horse before lists appear everywhere.
For training, Will relies on local venue Boomerang Cross Country for schooling as well as assistance from coach of 12 years; John Bowen, and Chris Burton on occasion, whom Will has previously spent some time with.
Early bird catches the worm:
The dedicated team get started around 6.45am to get all the yard work and feeding done in-between rider breakfasts, one and two, before the first ride goes out at 9am. This will continue throughout the week, with each horse being ridden on 5 or 6 days, as well as and enjoying daily down time in the field, or on the walker (when the classic British weather sets in). Maintaining this well-structured routine is essential for Will’s horses.
When competition day comes around, whilst the rest of the horses get a well-earned rest and loyal freelance grooms step in, its action stations for Team Rawlin. Once on location Will goes straight to walk the course, Dad is in domestic goddess mode, on croissant and unpacking duty, whilst Mum ensures everything is in line for the horses. Close family are undoubtedly Will’s greatest support, alongside super-supportive grandparents and his sister, Alexandra who sends encouragement from Performing Arts College in London.
Meet the team:
Will’s own V.I.P Vino, Miranda & Andy Rawlin’s V.I.P Vinnie and Mrs V Brassy & Mrs Sue Noyes Snowdon II make up the lead competing trio on Will’s yard. The Partner and Ballycoog Breaker Boy, bought as syndicate horses, are showing great promise and will be joined next year by an exciting three-year-old prospect. Alvescot Dance Time, owned by Francis and Georgia Hatton-Brown is also being trained and competed by Will this season. Others come and go for short training and sales livery.
Will is very appreciative of his supportive owners who invest a lot of their time in coming to competitions and visiting the yard when they can. Although given a lot of free-rein with the horses, all owners are kept in the loop regularly, updating on competition plans and sharing any recent photos. All owners are welcome at competitions, often getting stuck in and can enjoy a sociable atmosphere.
Start as you mean to go on:
Over the coming season Will hopes to build on some already notable achievements which include 7th Hartpury International CCI** 2015, 2nd Nunney International CIC** 2015, qualification for Gatcombe International 2016, as well as being named as Horse and Hound’s “One to watch” 2015.
The current season has got off to a flying start with an incredible 15.8% dressage score for Ballycoog Breaker Boy in his first competition at Aldon.
Aspirations for the remainder of the season comprise of qualifying Snowdon II for CIC ***, getting Ballycoog Breaker Boy to the 5 year old championships at Osberton as well as taking The Partner around
As with all hard grafters in the Equestrian world success is not without its sacrifices, and Will is under no illusions about many social engagements needing to take a back seat for eventing. Will admits lacking in self-belief is his biggest challenge, but he is a fantastic horseman with all the credentials to make it to the top. He will no doubt significantly add to his fantastic list of achievements already secured.
Follow Will’s journey via his website www.willrawlin.com, @willrawlin on Instagram, @WBREventing on Twitter and @willrawlingeventing on Facebook.
We look forward to hearing from Will throughout the season as he chases his goals, and hear about all thrills and spills he endures as a professional event rider.
Images courtesy of SARAH FARNSWORTH and POLSKEY