It will be the second visit to Badminton for British rider Wills Oakden (33) who made a successful debut here in 2019 (25th Cooley Ramiro). Last year with 2023 Badminton entry Oughterard Cooley he was 13th at Burghley – his first visit to the event.
Wills is based north of the border in Perthshire where with his wife Stephanie he runs a competition and training yard – the couple has a three-year-old daughter.
Wills is a former British Young Rider team medallist – he won team gold in 2011 at Blair Castle (Button Clover). He worked for Ian Stark for two and half years before setting up his own yard. In 2015 with the mare Greystones Midnight Melody he rode as an individual at the 2015 Senior Europeans also at Blair Castle. In 2016 he made his Nations Cup debut at Ballindenisk in 2016 (15th Merikano). In 2018 with former Badminton ride Cooley Ramiro Wills led the British Nations Cup team to silver at Strzegom where the pair was third individually. Last year he completed a double clear at the World Young Horse seven-year-old championships in Le Lions (11th Keep It Cooley).
Will enjoys golf and has recently become a keen pickleball player.
His father James Oakden and Aunt Frances Hay Smith have both completed Badminton.
Oughterard Cooley (stable name Rich) is a 13-year-old registered Irish Sport Horse gelding. Bred by Gerard Lynch He is by Puissance out of a mare by Cruising. He was acquired from Cooley farm in Ireland and has been brought through the levels by Wills. In 2022 the pair made a successful Burghley debut (13th).
Arklow Puissance is a 12-year-old Irish Sport horse gelding. Bred by Michael Byrne he is by Puissance out of Cruising Jewel by Cruising. He was produced to 4* by Oliver Townend and Wills gained the ride at the beginning of 2022. At the end of a successful first season together they completed Blenheim 4*L in 16th place.
16.1hh , bay , gelding
Sire Ramiro B
Dam Ordela Royale (Cavalier Royale)
Breeder Caroline Byrne
Owner(s): Balcarres Eventing Syndicate, Leven, Fife