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Ups and downs for eventer Pippa Funnell

Pippa Funnell had a week of highs and lows, as her former top ride Walk On Star was put down, but the Billy Stud welcomed a new arrival.

Pippa’s 2003 European team gold and individual bronze medallist Walk On Star — known as “Magic”— was put down last Friday (26 April) aged 20.

The bay gelding also won the CCI***s at Saumur and Bramham, but was retired in 2006 due to problems after the removal of a splint.

Magic was owned and bred by Pippa’s long-term owners, Nick and Barbara Walkinshaw. On his retirement he went to live with them in Dorset, where he was kept active doing some dressage.

“It’s devastating, especially so soon after Rocky [Supreme Rock was put down last month],” Pippa told H&H. “Magic looked a picture, but he had such terrible sarcoids on his underside.

“He was the most wonderful horse, with a lovely temperament. He was so genuine, too, he always came home with a rosette.”

A foal has been named in his memory. Billy Shannon — who is having time out after the leg injury that ruled her out of the London Olympics — has had a filly by Billy Congo on 17 April, whom they’ve called Billy Magic.

“She was born on the same day as Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, so we’re calling her Maggie for short,” added Pippa.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (2 May 2013)

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