Get Chummy with Chin Tonic

Get to know Chin Tonic—Will Coleman's 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* mount.

Occupation: Eventer

Breed: Holsteiner

Breeding: Chin Champ out of Wildera

Age: 11

Sex: Gelding

Nickname: Chin

Owner: Hyperion Stud

chin tonic
Will Coleman and Chin Tonic
© Amy K. Dragoo

Major accomplishments: 1st at the 2022 Stable View Springfest CCI4*-S, 1st at the 2022 Stable View Oktoberfest CCI4*-S, 12th at the 2022 Luhmülen Horse Trials CCI4*-S, 10th at the 2022 Aachen CCIO4*-S, 1st at the 2023 Carolina International CCI4*-S.

Following his win at the 2023 Carolina International CCI4*-S, Will Coleman spoke about his partnership with Chin Tonic. He had used Carolina as a prep for “Chin’s” upcoming five-star debut at the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

What does your training program look like at home to prepare Chin Tonic for Kentucky?

In eventing, you have to be really good at a lot of stuff. We’re obviously doing a bit of it all every week. [Chin Tonic] would not cross-country school a ton, but I have schooled a few times this winter and spring just to keep checking in on that phase—more as like a reward for the horse to do something fun and not just be doing conditioning or flatwork.

He is a very high strung horse. He’s an amazing horse, but he’s very tricky to ride, actually. I really just try to keep it relaxed and not put too much pressure on him because he can kind of boil over a little bit if you’re not too careful.

Getting ready for Kentucky, I’m not going to do a whole lot different. I think we’ve taken our time and we’ve put in the work at each stage—two-star, three-star, four-star—so this is just the next step. A lot of times with horses going to their first five-star, you really don’t know what you have until you go. We’re going to do the work and do the best we can, but I think we’ll find out in the end of April.

What drew you to Chin Tonic as a young horse?

He was a pretty stunning horse, even as a 2 1/2 year old. [I] watched him trot up and I was drooling over him, even at that stage.

I rode him as a 3 year old [in Germany]. He was still a stallion and I rode him in this very small indoor. I was with Vicky Castegren (of Hyperion Stud). I couldn’t believe that I was riding a 3-year-old horse. The presence and the way that he connected into the bridle—it was just a very incredible, athletic feeling.

But, he was not really a galloping horse. He’s more dressage and show jumping breeding, so I think it’s taken a while for him to develop a step at cross country. I still don’t think he’s the most natural galloper on cross country, but he has improved tremendously. And he does really enjoy it.

I think his character, in that regard, is really what makes it possible for him to be a successful upper-level event horse. I think Kentucky will be a big question for him, but I feel like he’s feeling more and more ready all the time.

When did Chin Tonic come over to the United States from Germany?

He came over as a 5 year old. I kind of begged Vicky to cut him—he’s a handful now without balls. I think, with him, he would be really difficult and she already had so much access to the same genetics that it really made sense. She didn’t need him as a stallion. I think it was wise that we cut him and he came over after he was gelded in beginning of his late 4-year-old year or early 5-year-old year. He came over and I’ve had him since.

Thanks to Kent Nutrition Group and Blue Seal for our coverage of the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, including rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more!⁣

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