It’s not everyone’s idea of the perfect rehab for a serious head injury, but Britain’s William Fox-Pitt defied all the odds to hold the lead after Olympic eventing dressage wrapped up today at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.

Riding the 16-year-old stallion Chilli Morning, the man who spent two weeks in an induced coma after a fall while competing in France last October threw down a score of 37.00.

“All along Rio has been my target, totally,” the 47-year-old rider said. “It was unrealistic, but it was mine. I was in a coma for a couple of weeks and my sight was quite dodgy, I went from blind to seeing double so when I started jumping there were two jumps. It’s been a journey, but I’ve had so much support.”

Fox-Pitt was his usual modest self in talking about his ride with Chilli Morning. “He’s good on the flat, capable of doing a very good test and I didn’t want to let him down. He felt happy and calm, but there are a lot of good horses to come and it will be what it will be.”

He noted that Chilli Morning lost a bit of weight on the journey from Great Britain to Brazil, but he’s happy with how the horse feels. “Chilli is lean, he’s fit, and well but he lost some weight on the journey here. He’s an older horse and it’s kind of his metabolism. I’ve never lost an event because I’ve been on a skinny horse! He felt good and very together, he can be a bit sprightly so I was pleased with how we went today.”

Sitting in second on a score of 37.60 is Australia’s Christopher Burton and his 9-year-old Hanove