EN is on the grounds at the William Fox-Pitt clinic here at beautiful Stable View Farm in Aiken, South Carolina, and William was kind enough to take some time during the lunch break to chat with the journalists. Here’s a quick Q&A with five burning questions, and stay tuned for much more as we bring you photos, diagrams of jumping exercises and plenty of WFPisms over the next two days.
I’m live tweeting ringside, so be sure to follow along at @eventingnation, and you can also follow Stable View’s live blog at this link. Many thanks to the Stable View team for all their hospitality thus far!
EN: If you could drop everything and go train with another rider for an extended period of time, who would it be?
WFP: “Over the years, I’ve been very lucky to have been trained by all sorts of people, from Mark Todd to Chris Bartle. But if I could go be based with an event rider, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em — it would have to be Michael Jung. From another discipline, it would be Carl Hester.”
EN: You compete all over the world, but which event is your favorite?
WFP: “I love coming to Kentucky. I think it’s a very special event. As a Brit, you are really lucky to be able to come to Kentucky. As a rule, you need to have two horses for Badminton before you’re allowed to come. I’m very fortunate to have had the horses to be able to come. I think the horse park is a brilliant venue. It’s a fantastic atmosphere.
“It might also be that Kentucky comes early in the year, so you’re always a little bit surprised because you come from the field in England — from a few jumps around the field and a dressage arena you can hardly spot in the mud. Then you get to Kentucky and think, ‘Blimy, this is like another sport.’
“The impact of Kentucky is very exciting. I love the cross country. It’s a proper course with good going and undulations in the terrain. It’s very well presented.”
EN: If you could take a spin on any top horse, which one would you choose?
WFP: “I’d love to ride Opgun Louvo. I think he’s a very cool horse — I’d need roller skates on him. There’s a young up and coming horse in England called Ceylor L A N, Kitty King’s young horse. I think he’s quite a special animal. I’m very happy with my own horses too. I think they’re a good lot.”
EN: You have ridden many great horses in your career. Which one would you consider to be the greatest of them all?
WFP: “Tamarillo — without a doubt. The greatest and the most frustrating, which often is the case. He was an incredible athlete.”
EN: Who is a rider you looked up to early in your career?
WFP: “To begin with, it would have been Lucinda Green and Ginny Elliot. Lucinda was someone who was very friendly, although she was a complete heroine. She always took the time to say ‘good luck’ or ‘well done.’ As serious and busy as she was, she was just very good at making us young riders feel that we also had a right to be there.”
Many thanks to William for his time. Go Eventing.