William Fox-Pitt will not defend his Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials title.

The eventer posted on Facebook today (21 April) that he was pulling his 2011 Burghley winner Parklane Hawk out of next month’s four-star (5-8 May).

William said he had “run out of time” with the 16-year-old gelding, who fell on the cross-country at Weston Park on 15 April.

His statement read: “After the disappointment of our performance at Weston Park I have decided that we have run out of time for Badminton.

“It is obviously a shame not to be heading back, but you have to have the right preparation for a competition like this. Parklane Hawk has got the whole autumn to look forward to.

“I am competing this weekend at Bicton, and my next big target is the first leg of Event Rider Masters at Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth Horse Trials.”

Parklane Hawk was the only ride William had entered for Badminton, which would have been his first four-star since he suffered serious head injuries in a fall last October.

His first competition was at Burnham Market (1-3 April), when he jumped steady cross-country clears on Parklane Hawk and Cool Mountain.

But at Weston Park, Parklane Hawk clipped the top of a corner and fell.

William had previously told Horse & Hound in an interview (7 April) that he had hoped to ride at Badminton this year.

 


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“I would love to be at Badminton for my sponsors, Jeep, and for his owner Catherine Witt, plus it’s nice for the team here to have Badminton in sights, but I feel strongly that it’s not a necessity. I’ve been to lots of Badmintons and I’m not owed anything, I do know that.

“We’ve all very much got the attitude that if he’s on good form, why not? And if he’s not, he’ll maybe aim for Burghley later on.”

Hugh Thomas, director, Badminton Horse Trials said: “We are naturally sorry that the reigning champion is not returning to Badminton. But we are delighted that William is in such good health and wish him the best of luck for a successful rest of the season.”