All the hard work involved in becoming one of Britain’s brightest and best new equestrian talents is really paying off for 19-year-old Will Furlong, based at Ingrams Eventing in East Sussex.
Will was crowned Under 21 National Champion at Houghton International Horse Trials in 2014, winning a 12-month loan of a Suzuki Ozark 250. Now he has been selected by The British Equestrian Federation as one of the athletes on the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Development Programme for eventing, giving him access to the best trainers in the sport for coaching and support.
Winning the hardworking Ozark 250 last year could not have been better timed, according to Will, who looks after a large number of horses used for eventing and competition at his 30-acre full-time event yard. Will is also, along with his family, establishing a breeding programme with some of his winning mares to develop a string of event horses.
We asked this highly successful competitor to tell us how he has been putting the ATV through its paces since his win:
What was the first thing you did when you won the Ozark 250?
This is the best prize I’ve won to date! So although I was really excited about riding it, the first thing I did when the ATV arrived was to take a photo of it to show all my friends – it’s such a great-looking machine!
How does it help you with your work?
We thought at first that it would just be useful for simple tasks, but it’s so versatile that since day one we’ve found that we use it for everything, from transporting hay to horses in the fields to towing fencing for new paddocks. And harrowing the arena is really easy and quick now as the ATV’s turning circle is so good – it takes multi-purpose to a whole new level!
Have you had any previous experience of ATVs?
We’ve had other makes of ATV before but the Suzuki Ozark is just a superb all-round package. It’s so comfortable to ride – the seating position feels really natural and the suspension gives it a really smooth ride.
What has surprised you most about it?
I have been amazed at how light it feels and how easy the steering is, especially when you know the kind of power it has.
What have been its most outstanding features?
It’s so much more fuel-efficient than any other ATV I’ve driven – surprisingly so, considering the work we put it through.
How has the ATV been most useful to you?
It's superb for all the steep hills and woodland on our site and as everything gets wetter and muddier this winter, we’re relying on it more and more. We’re also looking forward to getting it out on the snow and having some fun!
Will is now working towards the Young Rider trials series starting in March. If successful, he will be part of a 6-strong UK team competing in the Young Rider European Championships in Poland later this year. He will also compete at the Bramham Under 25 Championships in June. You can follow Will’s progress at willfurlong.co.uk