Grand Prix dressage trainer John Zopatti is always thrilled to see his training pay off— most recently in top eventer Will Faudree.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) confirmed Three-Day Eventing rider Will Faudree, of Hoffman, as an alternate for the U.S. Pan American Games Eventing Team. Faudree will support the four-rider three-day squad at the Games on July 20-26 in Toronto, Canada.
Faudree will ride eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Pfun, owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables.
Faudree first represented his country on the 2003 Pan American Games team before going on to earn slots on U.S. Three-Day Eventing squads for the 2006 World Equestrian Games-Aachen, 2010 Nations Cup- Boekelo, and 2013 Nations Cup- Aachen.
He also anchored Reserve for two (Athens and London) U.S. Olympic teams, and was short-listed for the Beijing Olympics.
Faudree has improved his dressage phase of three-day eventing through learning from John Zopatti, and both are excited that Faudree will represent the U.S. as an alternate at the Pan American Games.
“I’m glad to see that determination and hard work really do pay off! Everyone who is part of ‘Team Faudree’ is excited for Will and Pfun,” says Zopatti. “He will be competing in the Great Meadows CIC3* June 19-21 in The Plains, Va., as the final outing for the Pan American Games. The ranking of the alternates will be determined at this world-class competition. Jockeying for position with Faudree will be fellow alternates Jennifer Brannigan, Matt Brown, Lauren Kieffer, Michael Pollard, and Tamra Smith.”
Zopatti has been working with Faudree over the past 14 years at clinics in North Carolina.
“Will has always been a steady participant in my clinics and I was always amazed how, in only a few days, he could take ideas and changes we worked on in our lessons and be ready to move ‘up’ the following month. I have since relocated to North Carolina and keep my training horses at Gavilan farm, so now we work together on a regular basis,” said Zopatti.
“Look out eventing dressage!” the trainer jokes.
The powerhouse two have been combining forces at Faudree’s Gavilan Farm and Cloud 11 in Hoffman, where they have the advantage of a 150-foot x 250-foot arena with 30 meters of mirrors, including mirrors in the corners.
“Cloud 11,” Zopati explains, “is Will’s dream training facility, that he personally designed. He travelled the world and took everything he liked about other facilities, improved on their ideas, and developed his own training complex.”
As Faudree heads toward the Great Meadows CIC3*, his longtime clinician and trainer has one wish: “That he rides as well he does at home in practice and just has PFUN!”
Zopatti (whose winter operations are based from Blue Marlin Farms in Wellington, Fla.) is currently based in Pinehurst.
His training success stories include coaching eventers like Faudree as well as Grand Prix dressage riders.