William Fox-Pitt

William Fox-Pitt is one of Britain’s all-time great event riders. During his long career, he won an unprecedented 14 five-stars and more than 50 three-day events, as well as 20 senior championship medals.

William announced his retirement from competing at the top level at Badminton Horse Trials in 2024.

William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht on the Badminton horse trials cross-country course

William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht jumping the Rolex Grand Slam Rails at the rider’s final Badminton.

William’s notable results include:

  • A member of the British team at five Olympics, where he has won two team silvers and a team bronze.
  • Nine-time senior European team member, winning six team golds, one team silver, one team bronze, two individual silvers and one individual bronze.
  • Four-time World Championships team member, winning one team gold, two team silvers and one team bronze, as well as an individual silver and an individual bronze.
  • The only rider to have won five of the seven CCI5* three-day events worldwide.
  • He has been British number one multiple times and was the first British rider to become the world number one in eventing.
  • He has won Badminton Horse Trials twice, in 2004 with Tamarillo and in 2015 with Chilli Morning.
  • William has won Burghley Horse Trials an incredible six times, riding six different horses. His Burghley victories came in 1994 on Chaka, 2002 on Highland Land, 2005 on Ballincoola, 2007 on Parkmore Ed, 2008 on Tamarillo and 2011 on Parklane Hawk.

William Fox Pitt wins Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2011

What eventing records does William Fox-Pitt hold?

William is the record-holder for the most five-star events won, with 14 victories at his name. He is also the only rider to have won five of the seven CCI5* three-day events worldwide – he has won six times at Burghley (a record in itself), twice at Badminton, three times at Kentucky, twice at Pau and once at Luhmühlen.

He has also won more three-day events than any other rider.

William is the only rider to win Badminton riding a stallion, Chris and Lisa Stone’s Chilli Morning.

Who are William Fox-Pitt’s best-known horses?

William is known for his partnership with horses such as Chaka, Cosmopolitan, Moon Man, Stunning, Tamarillo, Ballincoola, Parklane Hawk, Cool Mountain and Chilli Morning.

William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning at the 2014 World Championships

William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning at the 2014 World Championships, where they took individual bronze.

William’s current top horses are Little Fire and Oratorio II, who have both been placed at five-star.

Didn’t William Fox-Pitt have a serious eventing accident?

William made a dramatic recovery after he sustained a brain trauma in a cross-country fall while competing in the seven-year-old class at the World Championships for young eventing horses in 2015 at Le Lion d’Angers.

He spent more than a week in an induced coma after the accident and his memory and vision were among the things affected.

William returned to competition in the spring of 2016, saying in an interview then: “I’ve had big thoughts about whether to ride any horses, to be honest. I’m 47, I’ve been competing for 33 years, do I need to go round another event? Not really. But I want to.

“It’s what I enjoy doing. I enjoy riding my horses and I’m really keen to do it. But it was a big decision as to whether it was sensible and certainly there are people out there now who would think I’m mad. You know, I don’t need another trauma to the head. But the likelihood of that happening is hopefully low. I feel it’s low, so it’s my decision and it’s all systems go.”

William went on to be selected for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where he finished best of the Brits in 12th on Chilli Morning.

Where is William Fox-Pitt’s home? Doesn’t he have a famous wife?

William is based in Dorset. He is married to racing presenter Alice Plunkett. They have four children.