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Wil­liam’s on the mend

De­spite su er­ing dou­ble vi­sion, Bri­tish event rider Wil­liam Fox-pitt has re­turned to com­pe­ti­tion a er the se­ri­ous head in­jury he su ered last Oc­to­ber.

“It was great to be out again,” he said a er com­pet­ing at Burn­ham Mar­ket horse tri­als on two of his most ex­pe­ri­enced mounts, Cool Moun­tain and Park­lane Hawk, in the Open In­ter­me­di­ate sec­tion.

“I de­cided to just ride two horses rather than four, to be sen­si­ble with the hope of be­ing able to do them jus­tice. Hap­pily they looked a er me all the way.

“I’ve lost con­sid­er­able tness through my ac­ci­dent, though it’s com­ing back and it’s great to be feel­ing nor­mal again.” In an ex­ten­sive in­ter­view with Horse &

Hound, Wil­liam says he knows how lucky he is to have bounced back so soon a er a se­ri­ous head trauma with­out su er­ing from any of the com­mon symp­toms, such as mood­i­ness, ag­gres­sion or headaches.

He did, how­ever, lose most of his sense of taste and smell, had no sense of hunger or thirst, and also found it hard to judge the time of day.

He is also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mem­ory loss, and has a lin­ger­ing dou­ble vi­sion − though that has much im­proved of late.

“When I rst started jump­ing again it was quite tricky when I could see two or three fences. I didn’t al­ways know which one I was jump­ing; luck­ily, the horse did.”

e ac­ci­dent hap­pened while rid­ing Re­in­stated at Le Lion d’angers in France. Wil­liam was in an in­duced coma for more than a week, re­mained in hos­pi­tal for a month, and it was un­clear to what ex­tent he would re­cover.

But Horse & Hound says that a er months of re­hab, and de­spite a weight loss of nearly 16kg, Wil­liam looks and sounds the same as he al­ways has − charm­ing and level-headed − and that

I still feel hun­gry, I still feel ex­cited by young horses, I want to ride them, so why not?”

the whole or­deal was harder on his friends and fam­ily (wife Alice, and four chil­dren Oliver, omas, Chloe and Emily) than it was on Wil­liam him­self.

“I’ve not been ill for a day… no headache, noth­ing. No pain,” he says.

Wil­liam ad­mits he is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing re­tir­ing from the sport that has net­ted him six Burgh­ley, three Ken­tucky and two Bad­minton wins, and seen him com­pete at four Olympics.

“I’m 46, I’ve been com­pet­ing for 33 years. Do I need to go round another event? Not re­ally. But I want to,” he says.

“I still feel hun­gry, I still feel ex­cited by young horses, I want to ride them, so why not? Maybe I will ride around a few events and think, enough’s enough…”

Wil­liam says he’d still dearly love to take Chilli Morn­ing to Rio in Au­gust.

Wil­liam says it was a plea­sure to be on an ex­pe­ri­enced horse, (the NZ- bred and pro­duced) Park­lane Hawk, at his rst com­pe­ti­tion out­ing af­ter his in­jury

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