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Pippa Funnell: ‘I came close to quitting the sport’

Pippa Funnell has revealed that she came close to quitting eventing last year, when both her horses on the Olympic shortlist were ruled out with injuries within a week of each other.

The Lincolns’ Redesigned, who has always had “two odd feet”, ran into problems early last summer. The decision was taken to turn him out for seven months without shoes.

And the Walkinshaws’ Billy Shannon had heat in a leg after coming third at Belton.

“I felt gutted and completely shattered,” said Pippa.

“We all know the emotional roller coaster of having sport horses and I find it doesn’t get any easier to deal with. If anything, it gets tougher.

“I felt at the time that, rather than having such high aims and huge disappointments, it would mentally be easier to submerge myself completely in the Billy Stud operation,” she added, referring to her husband William’s joint venture with Donal Barnwell.

But 10 months on, Pippa told H&H she has been “reinspired” by the Olympics and is “as competitive as ever”.

Redesigned is in full work.

“He has grown stronger [hoof] walls and all fingers are crossed that we can get him out competing,” said Pippa.

Billy Shannon is due to have a Billy Congo foal in April, with the plan of bringing her back into work next year.

Pippa has seven event horses to compete this season — five advanced and two novice — and the same number of showjumpers.

Among her advanced event prospects are Billy Landretti and Billy Beware, who has won both of his CCI**s.

She also thinks highly of the Kannan son Or Noir De La Loge, whom she hopes might step up to four-star.

As to her goals, Pippa stresses that she doesn’t want “to tempt fate”.

“But I would love more than anything for Redesigned to stay right and to have fun with him — and to have a horse at the European Championships,” she added.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (28 February 2013)

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