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William Fox-Pitt Says 2024 Badminton Will Likely Be His Last

©Chelsea Spear

You read that right.

The most decorated eventer in the world says he’s saddling up to compete at Badminton Horse Trials for likely the final time, joining the 5* start list with Grafennacht.

Fox-Pitt is a five-time Olympian. His championship medal collection includes two Olympic team silver medals and one bronze; six World Equestrian Games medals, including a team gold; and 14 European championship medals, seven of them team gold.

He’s also been a regular fixture in American 5* events over the past two decades. Fox-Pitt is a three-time winner of the Kentucky Three Day Event, first capturing the title in 2010 on Cool Mountain. He repeated the feat in 2012 on Parklane Hawk and again in 2014 on Bay My Hero.

When a second 5* was added to the U.S. calendar, he signed on for it too. In 2023, Fox-Pitt contested the Maryland Five star and finished second with Grafennacht.

This year, he doesn’t plan to attend either.

“Coming to America is very exciting, but it is not very cheap. I think to come back to America again would be a bit of an additional cost that the owners could do without, so we will stick with Badminton that is down the road and try to do better there this year,” shared Fox-Pitt last month while attending the Conceal Eventing Grand-Prix Showcase held at Bruce’s field in Aiken, SC.

The British Olympian currently only has one five star contender, 12-year-old bay Oldenburg mare Grafennacht, and is bringing along three younger mounts. One—7-year-old bay gelding BLS Absolutely—is “really smart” and “will definitely be a 5* horse.”

But—and it’s a big but!—probably not for Fox-Pitt.

“By the time he goes to a 5 star, I will hopefully have come to my senses, so he is on the market,” explained the three-time Olympic medalist.

Does that mean retirement is imminent?

“I’ve been asked that a million times, who knows? It won’t be long. I’ll go on riding young ones I hope, enjoying that side of it. I love seeing horses evolve, not necessarily winning events, but the horses going well and enjoying that journey. But I should think this will be my last Badminton.

“I shouldn’t say that, but it should be, shouldn’t it? I’m 50-bloody-five!”

Where you’ll likely see Fox-Pitt focusing his efforts in the years ahead is on producing horses for his four kids.

“I’m certainly not going out and buying expensive horses for my kids when they are 15 years old. That is not going to happen. I’m far too mean for that,” he chuckled.

Some 87 combinations will contest the 5* CCI-L division at Badminton Horse Trials May 8–12. Tune in on Badminton TV.

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