Thursday 1st of June 2023
Ian Wills

Ian Wills: Looking forward to 2017

First up, Happy New Year Gaitpost fans! Not sure where 2016 went but here we are again at the start of a brand new chapter on our equestrian journeys. The season will be upon us before we know it! As I write the competition horses are taking well-earned time out to wallow in the mud.


Meanwhile the next bunch of homebreds are coming to understand that life now includes a jockey on their backs in the form of Ian Wills Eventing team favourite Russell who has worked with me for over twenty years (including replacements body parts!). We will update on their progress in time but have some exciting prospects which bodes well for the future.

A hugely important part of my time is spent coaching, mentoring and generally encouraging people to attain their riding goals. That could be someone of any age and ability aiming for their first clear round show at 45cms or a professional competing at international level but playing a role in developing both horse and rider skill and self-belief is personally very rewarding. I’ve particularly enjoyed the clinics hosted at Stonehill Farm Eventing by Jodie Seddon including developing our new training camps. It’s something I intend to do more of in 2017.




Getting through the dark and dreary days out of season is time always well spent with the Farmers Bloodhounds. Hunting is a great way of developing rider’s natural reactions and for educating young horses crossing all kinds of country. We must be grateful to the landowners for allowing us to run and jump across some of the most beautiful parts of England. At times I swap tack for trainers and run myself as the Bloodhound’s ‘quarry’ giving something back to a sport I’m passionate about whilst enabling me to eat even more Christmas dinner – win win! Such a great group of people organising a truly inclusive sport, I urge anyone who hasn’t tried it before to get in touch with their local Bloodhound pack and give it a go.

This new year also gives me time to reflect on some of the highs and lows of the 2016 season. One low was the decision at the end of 2016 to sell Hartpury Sky Is The Limit following all of our success together. My journey and time with Sky is something I will always treasure and someone will be a very lucky jockey. But such is the nature of professional eventing. My ‘complicated’ grey horse, Marli delivered frustration with so nearly delivering the goods at Advanced and 3*. However, he wowed the crowds and has a following of supporters so we will plug on!


Fallulah provided some real highlights with some great placings for her young years before packing her competition satchel and popping off to France to take part in the World Breed Championships for 6 and 7 year old event horses. Her time at Le Lion was an achievement supported by a great team, no win but masses learnt and she was a machine cross country.

The highs and lows in this sport come when you least expect them. No matter the time spent reflecting; we need to absorb the positive and not dwell on the negative to keep learning on all levels. Sometimes it’s not the winning or the taking part but the progress from the foundations laid down. I know just how lucky I am doing what I do for myself and others, being totally aware of how many people help my wheels go round, from friends, family, farrier, vets, physio’s, sponsors, owners, coaches, mentors and if I tried to name them all right now I’d fail, just know I’m grateful to every single person who makes Team Wills Eventing what we are.



In this spirit I wish all Gaitpost subscribers the most successful and safe year ahead – whatever that goal for success may be. And whatever your goals are, always remember:

You have brains in your head,

You have feet in your shoes,

You can be successful in anything you choose.


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