‘You just have to to dream’: William Fox-Pitt back in the saddle striving for Rio 2016 medal

Having already won three medals, Sturminster Newton three-day event rider William Fox-Pitt is hoping a trouble-free Olympic campaign in Rio can lead to more medals for the mantelpiece.

Fox-Pitt, back in the saddle after a serious fall put his life in jeopardy only last October, won silver medals in both 2004 and 2012, as well as bronze in 2008, but said none of those events were without their problems.

Now, with less than a month to go until Rio 2016, the six-time Burghley Horse Trials winner, is relishing being able to focus on competition again.

“I have got a good horse and he is in good form and he could go very well,” said the two-time Badminton Horse Trials champion.

“I have been to Olympics before and they have never been very good, things have always gone slightly well.

“So it would just be very nice for me if this one went to plan. I think that if it went to plan then he could be up there.

“He has won bronze medals before and it would be a dream to win a gold one, but it is not an expectation.

“It is a very competitive Olympic Games and so many different things can come into play.

“The dressage is completely subjective. So it’s not a race, there is no true result to dressage, so you just have to to dream that it could be good, and I do dream, I dream lots.”

At 47 years old Fox-Pitt is 13 years older than his closest contemporary on the competition team.

Pippa Funnell, also 47, will travel to Rio as the reserve rider but Fox-Pitt is confident that his teammates, Gemma Tattersall, Izzy Taylor and Kitty King, are more than capable of doing the job in Brazil.

He will be riding Christopher Stone’s Chilli Morning when the event gets under way next month and Fox-Pitt said that he will offer advice if asked, but that he does not want to interfere with his colleague’s own preparation for the gruelling three days of competition.

“I am the geriatric of the team. It’s a shame it’s not the show jumping team, I’d feel quite young in that one,” he added.

“But I’m not needed for advice. The three girls are brilliant competitors. They are the coolest customers you could meet.

“They all know what’s needed and I wouldn’t expect any of them to be looking to me in any way — but I am very much there if they need me.

“I certainly won’t be offering advice though, that’s not my role. I have got Olympic experience, I am very lucky to have been to the Olympics before and had great fun.

“London 2012, for all the British athletes was a dream, so for me to be going to Rio is a real bonus.

“I never thought I’d be going to Rio so I am very lucky to be going, but I am not in any way the expert.”

The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 1-4) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit

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