THREE-TIME Olympic medal-winner William Fox-Pitt can put a frustrating Badminton campaign behind him and lay the foundations for a demanding few months ahead when he rides at the prestigious Chatsworth International Horse Trials, which get under way today.
The three-day eventing star from Sturminster Newton takes two horses, Cold Moun-tain and Chilli Morning, to Derbyshire, with plenty lying in store for the 45-year-old during the rest of 2014.
Fox-Pitt heads to Germany in June, the worlds follow in France the next month, then the Burghley Horse Trials, a competition he was won six times, take place in September.
And while he will be using his trip to Chatsworth to build for those events, Fox-Pitt also wants to make up for a disappointing Badminton last weekend, when mount Parklane Hawk fell on the cross-country section.
Reflecting on that and looking ahead to this weekend, he said: “Disappointing is one way of putting what happened at Badminton.
“The ground was very soft and horses were getting tired, and the course proved to be very taxing.
“But it’s a four-star event and the course should be difficult, you don’t want every horse finding Badminton easy.
“I think there will be some changes for next year but in different conditions it would have ridden very differently.”
He went on to add: “It’s an important part of the year now and Chatsworth is a prestigious event.
“It has got a great atmosphere and there are going to be lots of spectators.
“Cold Mountain hasn’t run for a while so hopefully this will set him up for Germany in June.
“Chilli Morning didn’t go to Badminton but we’re looking at the world championships for him.
“The worlds in August are my target and it would be great to win a gold medal there, and then there is Burghley in September.
“There is plenty to be getting on with and it’s an exciting time.”
Fox-Pitt was in action on Wednesday when he took five horses to an event at Aston le Walls in Northamptonshire.