British Olympic rider Pippa Funnell (54), who is based near Dorking in Surrey, is a former three-time winner of Badminton and former European Champion. She competed here in 2022.
Last year at Burghley 5* with Badminton entries Billy Walk On and Majas Hope she was placed 8th and 16th respectively. She also completed Lexington 5* (6th Maybach, 14th Majas Hope. Pippa is currently #21 in the FEI world rider ranking and was 9th in the 2022 BE rider top100.
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 is a 4-time winner of the Hickstead Derby– and breeder Donal Barnwell. In 2009 she returned to the top of the sport 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. She also competes in international showjumping classes and in 2022 gained top ten places at the international 4* at Hickstead.
Pippa has also written and had published a series of 22 children’s story books – these are being relaunched at Badminton under the new title of ‘Pippa’s Pony Tales’. 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
Billy Walk On owned by Nick and Barbara Walkinshaw, is a 14-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. In 2022 he was 8th at Burghley. He is described as the ‘gentleman of the yard’ and is adored by Pippa.
Majas Hope owned by Marek Sebestak and rider, is a 16-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. He has also completed Badminton and Lexington.
Billy Walk On
17.0hh , bay , gelding
Sire Billy Mexico
Dam Shannon Line (Golden Bash)
Breeder Donal Barnwell
Owner(s): Nicholas & Barbara Walkinshaw
16.2hh , bay , gelding
Sire Porter Rhodes
Dam Brown Sue (Flagmount King)