William Fox-Pitt contemplates retirement | An Eventful Life

William Fox-Pitt contemplates retirement

It must be the post-WEG blues that gets everyone thinking about retirement after a major championship. Our own Aussie coach, Wayne Roycroft resigned in December (see this blog dated December 4th) and now Horse Magazine UK (sister publication of Horse & Hound) reports that William Fox-Pitt is considering retirement after London 2012.

According to the article William, now 41, is anxious to spend more time with his young family and his wife, Alice. "It's mental. I did 12 three-day events in 2010 — that's 12 weeks away from home before you factor in all the one-days," he said  "To spend a quarter of your year living in a horsebox, well, I'm just not sure it's possible to carry on with that momentum."

I think that a lot of Aussie riders would understand his predicament – after all, although they don’t have that number of three-dayevents to attend, they do spend an awful lot of time travelling just to get to events! William has close ties with Australia through British-born Australian resident Sharon Ridgeway of the successful eventing horse agency, eventers.com.au.

Sharon has provided William with many of his successful mounts including Coastal Ties (ridden and owned in Australia to Four Star level by Vanda Morgan) and William’s three Bramham winners Mr Dumbledore, Macchiato and Navigator. He also has ties to our very own Alison Duthie, author of An Eventful Life whowas a team groom at several British Young Rider Championships during the era of Pippa Funnell, Tina Cook and Willian Fox-Pitt and went on to become William’s head girl before moving to Australia.

William is no stranger to riding winning horses. He has had an amazing career which includes being the first British rider to become eventing’s World No 1, a distinction he achieved in 2002 and again in 2009 & 2010.  He has represented his country consistently over the past 15 years, winning team Silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics, team Bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, team Bronze at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, team Silver at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, team Gold and individual Silver at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, seven team Gold medals at the European Championships and has been the British No 1 eight times.

Having evented since he was 15 years old, William acknowledges that it will be a huge change in his life but that he has his eyes set on other horse related pursuits as well as enjoying more time at home. "Eventing will be a hard habit to break, but there are other things I want to do, like training racehorses" William told the Horse Magazine UK. It doesn’t come as a huge surprise, after all his wife is Alice Plunkett, well-known in England as the Channel 4 Racing presenter. Now retired from riding competitively, Alice is the only woman to have ridden around Badminton and the Grand National course of Aintree so she certainly could give William a run for his money! In addition to having a high profile in the racing media, she is mum to their two sons Oliver and Thomas and has been instrumental in developing the Fox-Pitt Eventing state of the art training centre in Hinton St Mary, Dorset. Before retirement and the racehorse training career, there are still a few things William would like to do. He is the only rider to have won four out of the five CCI****’s worldwide having won Burghley (1994, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008), Badminton (2004), Luhmulen (2008) and Rolex Kentucky (2010) but Pau still eludes him . "I felt that Pau last October was a missed opportunity as it is the only one of the big four-stars that I haven't won," he says in the article and adds that he would love to win Badminton again. I have no doubt that a gold medal in London in 2012 would also be on that list!