Will Connell to Become US Equestrian Federation Director of Sport Programs After 11 Years With British Federation

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Will Connell.
Will Connell.

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 2, 2014–Will Connell will become the United States Equestrian Federation Director of Sport Programs after 11 years in a key role with the British federation that saw the nation’s three Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping all rank among the top in the world at the same time.

The appointment of the former Royal Horse Artillery officer was announced by Chris Welton, newly installed as USEF Chief Eexcutive Officer and comes after a lengthy worldwide search to fill the post.

Will was pivotal in the development of equestrian sports in Britain in the past decade, highlighted by the Olympics in London when the nation won both team and individual gold medals in dressage–the first medals of any color for the country’s dressage team in 100 years of the Games–jumping team gold and eventing team silver.

“The addition of Will Connell to our team as Director of Sport should be seen as a clear indication of our intent to provide our athletes every possible opportunity to excel at all levels of our sport,” Chris said.

“Will’s accomplishments in building and sustaining championship caliber teams are without parallel. His success arises from his ability to create and implement a plan for bringing together all of the elements required for success in equestrian sport – from riders and horses, to owners, coaches, and trainers.

“We are thrilled to have Will on board to lead our efforts to ensure that all of our athletes have the opportunity to perform and achieve to the best of their ability.”

Andrew Finding, the British Equestrian Federation chief executive, said: “Will Connell has been an outstanding Performance Director; he has worked day and night for the cause. We will miss him and wish him well in his new challenge.”

Will Connell said: “This has been a very hard decision for me; I have been Performance Director for nearly 11 years and have worked closely with many who have given their all to the World Class Programme and Equestrian Team GBR. Being part of the journey over the last 11 years has been an honor and a privilege.”

Will plans to leave the British organization after the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France in two months.

“I am and always will be British but I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of me as I take up my new role as Director of Sport for the United States Equestrian Federation,” he said.

“My immediate focus and aim is to do all I can to help Equestrian Team GBR meet its UK Sport targets and deliver medals at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014.”

Will’s appointment comes as no surprise at the top levels of equestrian sport where he is held in high regard, and taking a role with the USEF has been rumored since the London Olympics.

His mission with the British federation was to coordinate and deliver results for the United Kingdom Sport Funded World Class Program focused on the three Olympic disciplines plus para-equestrian.

With the USEF, he will be responsible for the administration of all aspects of sport programming across the eight international disciplines of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-equestrian, nine national disciplines, and 11 breeds recognized by the USEF.

Before that he served 17 years in the Royal Horse Artillery and was Commanding Officer of the King’s Troop RHA. He was Chef d’Equipe for the British Young Rider Eventing team from 1997 to 2001, served as a British Eventing Steward and was Deputy Equestrian Director of Olympia, the Christmastime London International Horse Show.