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William Fox-Pitt is considering retiring from top-level eventing after the 2012 Olympics, the rider has revealed in an exclusive interview with H&H's sister publication Horse. In the article, published in Horse's February issue, the 41-year-old said he wants to spend more time with his young family and does not want to push his good fortune in not having suffered a serious injury.
"I want to have more time with the children and [my wife] Alice. I want to have a bit more of a life," said William. The slog of back-to-back competitions was not something he wanted to continue in the long term, he admitted. "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."
British eventing team trainer Yogi Breisner said William's consistency sets him apart. "He has continually produced horses that can compete at the highest level and coming up to the Olympics has a number to choose from," he said.
"A rider of William's calibre is always going to be missed, but everyone's focus is on the Olympics at the moment and I would not like to speculate as to whether he will retire after 2012."
William's 25-year career took off in 1987 when he won his first European medal, a silver, at the junior European Championships and he first represented Britain at senior level in 1993. His results sheet includes five wins at Burghley and one at Badminton, but William has unfinished business. "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 said, adding that he would love to win Badminton again.
William and Alice have hinted that they plan to train racehorses one day and Alice has already trained a couple of point-to-pointers. "Eventing will be a hard habit to break, but there are other things I want to do, like training racehorses" added William.
To read William's interview in full, see the February issue of Horse magazine, on sale now.
This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound, 6 January 2011
Photo Credit: William Fox-Pitt and Cool Mountain. Photos by Diana DeRosa.