William Fox-Pitt Q&A with British Eventing

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Childhood and early years
BE: Where did you grow up and do you still live close to your childhood home?
William Fox-Pitt: I grew up in Kent but my wife Alice & I moved to Dorset 10 years ago to set up our training yard and home. We now live nearby with our two children.

What was your first British Team appearance and when?
WFP: My first appearance on a Team GBR squad was for the 1985 Junior European Champs riding Steadfast. First Medal – Junior European Champs 1987, Individual Silver riding Steadfast.

Local Support
What do you like about the area you now live in?
WFP: We have fantastic scenery around us, from our outdoor school you can see across the rolling Dorset country side for miles. It’s really beautiful.

How important is the support of local people for athletes hoping to compete in the Olympics?
WFP: The support from the locals is a huge boost. I’m not sure how many people really know what we do here but they are very tolerant of the horses all-round the village and I hope to make them proud come July.

Around The Sport
What is the earliest memory you have of Eventing and is it this memory that made you want to take part?
WFP: It was probably going to watch my mother event – but I wasn’t interested in Eventing as a career then, my brother was the better rider at the time! I was more interested in Athletics or running.

When you started out as an event rider, who was your inspiration and why?
WFP: My Parents, especially my mother and Lucinda Prior-Palmer (now Lucinda Green)

What is the single-most important thing an Event rider needs to succeed?
WFP: To be realistic about the highs and lows that comes with a sport where a horse plays the main part.

What is your favourite Horse trials event in the UK?
WFP: Think I have to say Burghley. It is a very special place for me.

Which horse would you most like to own and why (from any Equestrian sport)
WFP: Michael Jung’s horse La Biosthetique Sam FBW (the current World and European Champion combination). I would retire him so I had a better chance of winning Gold in London!! I think he would enjoy his retirement with me! If I could own Sam and ride Oslo in London I would be a very happy man!

If someone wanted to take up the sport of Eventing what would your advice be to them?
WFP: Be realistic and weigh up the pros and cons of it before you launch into an eventing career. There can be big highs and lows. There is no substitute for hard work.

Throughout your career, which person has given you the most support and advice?
WFP: At the start of my career my Mother was a huge influence and support. Without her input I certainly wouldn’t have taken up eventing, that said, there was never any pressure. Latterly, my wife Alice has been both a huge support as a partner but also with the horses, her experienced eye with competition horses plus her top eventing back ground means I really trust her opinion.

What is your funniest memory from your years in the sport?
WFP: There are far too many to think of but most recently it would probably be going wrong in my test in the same year at Burghley as Mary King – I’m not sure Mary & I were very amused about it but it certainly caused some giggles amongst everyone else!

Random Facts
If you weren’t an event rider, what job would you have?
WFP: I would like to be training racehorses, my wife Alice is a presenter for Channel 4 racing so this would be something we would do together and would also mean we got to see more of one another!

Name one thing people probably don’t know about you?
WFP: I like to keep chickens, we have quite a big variety!

If your horse was a celebrity who would he or she be?
WFP: If we are talking about Oslo he would certainly be Jonny Depp or Brad Pitt – he is very handsome, attracts a lot of attention and is a real show man!

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