British Olympic rider Pippa Funnell (53), who is based near Dorking in Surrey, is a former three-time winner of Badminton and former European Champion. She competed here in 2019 (16th Majas Hope) and later that year won Burghley with Badminton entry MGH Grafton Street. Last year she took top places in the 5* at Bicton with Billy Walk On 2nd, and Maja’s Hope 5th. Pippa is currently #14 in the FEI world rider ranking.
Pippa is one of the world’s most successful riders and a long-standing member of the British team. In 2019, with Maja’s Hope, she was a member of the British team that won silver at the European Championships in Luhmuhlen – 20 years after her first senior team appearance in 1999. She first competed at Badminton in 1988 and etched her name into the eventing history books when in 2003 she became the first winner of the Rolex Grand Slam (for consecutive wins at Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley).
Aged 16, after leaving school she based herself with trainer Ruth McMullen. In 1987 she became European Young Rider Champion with Sir Barnaby who the following year gave Pippa her first ride at Badminton. She has won team Olympic silver medals in Athens (2004) and Sydney (2000) and was crowned European Champion in 1999 and 2001. As a result she was voted the 2003 Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and was in the top five of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. In 2005 Pippa received an MBE.
During a few years out of the limelight, Pippa helped establish the Billy Stud with husband international show jumper William Funnell (married in 1993) – who won team gold at the 2013 European showjumping Championships – and breeder Donal Barnwell. In 2009 she returned to the top winning Bramham three-star and selection for the WEG in Kentucky with Redesigned where they gained fifth place running as individuals. In 2013 she was back in the British team and competed at the European Championships with Mirage D’Elle. She also won the Tattersalls three-day with Billy Beware. In 2015 she was a member of the British team that won silver at the European Championships and was 8th individually (Sandman 7) and the following year was a member of the team for the Rio Olympic Games (Billy the Biz).
Pippa is also a renowned producer of young horses, having won a record number of Burghley Young Event Horses classes and now helps to produce and compete young show jumpers for the Billy Stud competing to two-star grand prix.
Pippa has also written and had published a series of 22 children’s story books which are being re-launched next spring. She is a patron of the charity World Horse Welfare and a mentor and trainer for The Wesko (formerly Windrush) Equestrian Foundation.
Pippa trains with husband William Funnell, Carl Hester and GB squad trainers.
MGH Grafton Street (aka Squirrel) owned by Jonathan and Jane Clarke, is an Irish-bred 14-year-old gelding. He is by leading sire OBOS Quality (the sire of OBOS Cooley, Fernhill Quality Street) – his dam is not recorded. He was acquired by Lucy Wiegersma and then formerly ridden by Andrew Nicholson before coming to Pippa in 2015. In 2019 he was the winner of Burghley 5* – his first event at the level. He is described by Pippa as ‘the joker and naughty character of the yard’.
Billy Walk On owned by Nick and Barbara Walkinshaw, is a 13-year-old British-bred gelding. He was bred by the Billy Stud and is by the homebred stallion Billy Mexico out of Shannon Line by Golden Bash – Shannon Line is also the dam of 4* horses Billy Liffy and Billy Shannon formerly long-listed for London 2012. Pippa has trained him from the start and the combination was the winner of the BE Young Horse 6-year-old championship at Osberton. In 2019 he contested Badminton but did not complete but later was 6th at Blenheim 4*L and in 2021 was 2nd in the 5* at Bicton. He is described as the ‘gentleman of the yard’ and is adored by Pippa.
Majas Hope owned by Marek Sebestak and rider, is a 15-year-old Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse gelding. He is by the thoroughbred Porter Rhodes (also the sire of Ballylynch Skysport) out of a mare by Flagmount King. He has been ridden by Pippa since 2015 having been produced by former European Junior champion Anna Wilks who previoulsy produced young horses at the Billy Stud. He was 12th in his first four-star at Burghley in 2018 and 5th in the 5* at Bicton in 2021.
Billy Walk On
17.0hh , bay , gelding
Sire Billy Mexico
Dam Shannon Line (Golden Bash)
Breeder Donal Barnwell
Owner(s): Nick & Barbara Walkinshaw
16.2hh , bay , gelding
Sire Porter Rhodes
Dam Brown Sue (Flagmount King)
Breeder Jack Murphy
16.3hh , bay , gelding
Dam Dollar Day (Cavalier )
Breeder Donal Barnwell
Owner(s): Jonathan & Jane Clarke, Dorking, Surrey
MGH Grafton Street
16.1hh , bay , gelding
Sire O.B.O.S Quality
Owner(s): Jonathan & Jane Clarke