‘It was great to be out again’: William Fox-Pitt returns to competition

  • William Fox-Pitt has made a positive return to competition since a serious accident at the end of last season.

    The four-time Olympian rode Parklane Hawk and Cool Mountain in the open intermediate (OI) at Burnham Market, Norfolk (1-3 April).

    “It’s a relief to have the first event done — the horses both went well so it’s great to be started again, especially as the weather was so perfect on Saturday,” William told H&H.

    He jumped steady clear cross-country rounds on both horses.

    William never intended to run the horses fast on this first outing, saying last week: “At the moment I don’t feel that being competitive is very important, but I never am competitive in the spring.

    “It hasn’t been a focus of mine all my life so I don’t see why this year is any different.”

    Parklane Hawk (pictured, top), with whom William won Burghley in 2011, scored a 33.4 dressage before rolling just one pole in the showjumping and jumping clear across country with 30 time faults.

    “It was his first competition for quite a while,” said William.

    “He showjumped really well and just touched one fence, and was very good and keen cross-country.

    “There wasn’t much in the OI to back him off, so it was good for my fitness to hold him together a bit.”

    Meanwhile, his 2010 Kentucky CCI4*-winning ride Cool Mountain scored 30.2 in the dressage with four faults showjumping and clear cross-country with 29.2 time faults.

    “He felt very good cross country and looked after me all the way,” William added.

    The Olympic silver medal-winner had entered four horses at the Norfolk event.

    “I decided to just ride two horses rather than four, to be sensible with the hope of being able to do them justice,” he said.

    “It was a beautiful day, perfect conditions so I was very fortunate. It was great to be out again to blow all the cobwebs off.”

    He added his next events are Portman tomorrow (Tuesday, 5 April), Larkhill on 9 April and Weston Park on 10 April.

    William sustained a head injury when he fell on the cross-country in the seven-year-old CCI2* at Le Lion d’Angers in October.

    He spent three weeks in a French hospital, flying back to the UK on 9 November to continue his treatment.

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    “It is all systems go here and everything is on target,” said William in a statement on his website on 18 March.

    “Yogi [Breisner] came down this week and we jumped four horses together.

    A big thank you to everyone who has supported me through my recovery. I am looking forward to working with Chilli Morning and the rest of the horses and getting going with the season.”

    See this week’s Horse & Hound — out Thursday 7 April — for a full interview with William.

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