It will be a first Badminton for British rider Wills Oakden (29) who is based north of the border in Perthshire where with his wife Stephanie he runs a competition and training yard. In 2018 with Badminton entry Cooley Ramiro Wills led the British Nations Cup team to silver at Strzegom where the pair was third individually; they finished the season in 16th place at Blenheim.
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, Wills rode as an individual at the 2015 Senior Europeans also at Blair Castle. The mare is the dam of four two-year-olds – 3 by Ramiro B sire of Cooley Ramiro. In 2016 he made his Nations Cup debut at Ballindenisk in 2016 (15th Merikano)
His aunt Frances Hay Smith, the regional coordinator for Scotland previously competed in the sport including at Badminton and owns and breeds horse ridden by Wills.
Cooley Ramiro (aka Ernie) is a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. He is by Ramiro B (also the sire of four-star horses Noble Bestman, Cooley SRS, Ballynoe Castle RM, Stellor Seaurchin, Cooley Masterclass) out of Ordela Royale (Cavalier Royale-Clover Hill). He has been owned since a five-year-old by Katherine Lindsay who successfully competed him to two-star level and Wills took the reins in 2017. This will be a first event at the level for Ernie who is described as ‘a yard favourite and one of the easiest horses to have around. His laid back attitude to life means you can usually find him snoozing at the big events’.
16.1hh , bay , gelding
Sire Ramiro B
Dam Ordela Royale (Cavalier Royale)
Breeder Caroline Byrne
Owner(s): Balcarres Eventing Syndicate, Leven, Fife