‘I believe there’s a big win in her’: new rider for William Fox-Pitt’s top mare

  • Harry Meade said he is “thrilled” to take on Amanda Gould’s Grafennacht – and former rider William Fox-Pitt said he will enjoy watching them together.

    Harry has confirmed that he has been asked to ride the 12-year-old mare, with whom William came second in the Maryland 5 Star last year and has completed Badminton twice, after William announced he was to retire from the top level of eventing.

    “I’m looking forward to getting to know ‘Lillie’, gleaning as much as I can about her from William and his team and taking time to develop a partnership,” said Harry.

    “I’ve ridden many of William’s horses over the years – having been his second rider at the start of my career and then stepping in at various times when he was injured or away at different Olympic games. Whilst it sometimes feels alien adjusting to a new ride, our horses go in similar styles and in the past have transitioned back and forth very easily.”

    Lillie is at stud at the moment, from where she will go to Harry’s yard and “we’ll start getting to know each other”, Harry said.

    William told H&H he is a “big fan” of Harry’s, who is ranked number five in the world.

    “Harry likes his mares and he’ll do her justice,” he said. “I’m chuffed he wants her and thinks she’s a good fit for his team. He’s at the height of his career and I’m excited he’s taken her on.”

    William said Harry rode for him after he finished university, and has ridden other horses for him, including Little Fire when William was injured in 2022.

    “I love the way he rides, I like his approach,” he said. “I wanted the mare to go to a man – I felt quite strong on that. She’s been ridden by me for quite a long time and I didn’t think change would be necessary. She will definitely enjoy going to someone that’s not quite so huge; she’s 16.2hh or 16.3hh and I make her look like a pony. She will respond well to Harry’s featherweight!

    “I’m happy to watch her go with someone else. The time has come when I can watch someone else ride her. I will enjoy being involved, and enjoy watching her. I can’t imagine there would be too much I’d criticise.

    “She’s a lovely horse to give someone. She’s totally safe and easy, and she’s fun. I do believe, without wanting to put pressure on him, that there is a big win in her.

    “I think Harry is a great choice and Amanda Gould will enjoy being part of the Meade team and family set-up.”

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