Sir Barnaby, the horse who launched Pippa Funnell’s eventing career, was put down last week at the age of 27 after a serious bout of colic.
Barnaby was found for Pippa when she was 14. He took her from the Pony Club Championships to Badminton.
The characterful little roan, favoured among spectators, was Pippa’s first horse. She had many battles with him on the flat before he became a winning machine. However, he was fast, a good jumper and had a pony-like cleverness across country.
Stalwarts of Britain’s young rider squad, they won the individual European title in 1987, team gold in 1988 and dual silver medals in 1989. In senior competition, they were fourth at Burghley, fifth at Badminton and won Luhmühlen in 1991.
Sir Barnaby won numerous one-day events; he was a Gatcombe specialist, and he was second in the British Open twice and won the title in 1992. Retired in 1993, Barnaby remained central to Pippa’s yard.
“Making the decision to have Barnaby put down was so hard,” says Pippa. “He achieved far more than he was designed to do because he had a big heart. He never thought of stopping.
“Not only do I owe my career to him, but he has been part of my life for 22 years and was just like a member of the family.”