‘I’d like to jump the jumps and think thank God I haven’t got to do that again’: William Fox-Pitt hints at his final Badminton ride

  • William Fox-Pitt has alluded to the fact that the 2024 Mars Badminton Horse Trials could be his last at this particular event.

    “It should be, for all intents and purposes, but who knows? I’m never going to say never, but I think it should be,” said William, who is 55 years old and has won an unprecedented 14 five-stars – including twice at Badminton – and more than 50 three-day events during his illustrious career.

    “This weekend shouldn’t sway me one way or the other – I’m quite clear,” he continued. “It would be easy to fall off and give up, wouldn’t it? It would be tougher to give up on a good one, but that’s kind of what I would like. I’d like to jump the jumps and then think ‘thank God I haven’t got to do that again’.”

    William Fox-Pitt: “Let’s hope they stay in a bad mood tomorrow”

    William Fox-Pitt first competed at Badminton in 1989 and has 24 completions to date, his latest last year with Grafennacht, whom he rides here this time.

    He completed his dressage test aboard the 12-year-old mare, owned by Amanda Gould, earlier today, scoring 30.6, slotting him into third at the time. At the time of publication, William was sharing fourth place with Georgie Goss and Feloupe.

    “I was very happy, apart from my first halt, which was rubbish – she must have seen something in front of her and she stepped back, so we deserved that mark, but when you’ve got three grumpy judges there and you want to get an eight, it’s a bad start,” explained William, relating to the fact that some riders have said the judges are being “stingy”.

    “It was a pretty good test, to be honest, but they [the judges] were certainly stingy to me – let’s hope they stay in a bad mood tomorrow.

    “She had a little bit of tension in the rein-back and I think she trotted a stride into canter [where the canter transition should have been directly from walk], so there were little expensive imperfections, but even when she should have had a good mark, she got seven and that’s kind of where the judges sat through my test.

    “This mare presents ‘wow’ and has a great outline – her half-passes should have got a nine, but they didn’t, did they?”

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