Pippa Funnell has been left “shattered and devastated” after having to have her advanced ride Billy Shannon put down because the mare was suffering from leukaemia.

Owned by Belinda and Nicholas Walkinshaw, the 10-year-old Billy Shannon was bred by Pippa and her husband William. Pippa won the five-year-old Burghley Young Event Horse final on her in 2008, was fifth at Le Lion d’Angers in 2010 and fourth in the CCI3* at Blenheim in 2011.

The Kannan mare was ruled out of selection for London 2012 with injury.

“She just had a little bit of leg trouble and, because I thought so much of her, we decided to give her the whole year off and have a foal from her,” said Pippa. “She had a filly foal by Billy Congo, and she did her very well.

“In the past couple of months, she started to lose weight and we thought it was because she was doing the foal so well, so we fed her up.

“She got a foot abscess, which antibiotics couldn’t clear up. When we weaned the foal after Burghley, Billy Shannon had an eye infection that, again, didn’t respond how it should to antibiotics.

“She had lost more weight, so we took more blood tests and discovered she had leukaemia.

“We’re all devastated,” added Pippa. “She completely transformed my whole view of competing mares. She showed so much affection and was so talented — I’m heartbroken.”