William Funnell: A friend who’s much missed *H&H VIP*

Opinion

After the euphoria of my wife Pippa winning Burghley, we experienced the other end of the emotional scale days later when I lost my old friend Mondriaan.

We made the tough decision to have him put down at the age of 25. As much as he was happy in himself, he was struggling with his legs and on painkillers, so I owed it to him to make sure he wasn’t in pain any more.

I’ve been lucky that Denise Stamp, who has been a great supporter, has looked after him for the past 4½ years in his retirement — I owe Denise and her family a huge thank you for all they have done with him.

So I went over to her Hampshire farm and held him while he was put to sleep. It was all very peaceful and he is now buried under a tree there.

‘He was so genuine’

Mondriaan became a huge part of our lives and I expect I’ll always be remembered for the career I had with him.

“Danny” came to me as a five-year-old and together we won three Hickstead Derbies, as well as those at Falsterbo and Eindhoven, the Foxhunter final, the Cock O’ The North, jumped in numerous Nations Cup and the European Championships.

He was so genuine and I don’t think he ever thought of doing anything other than what you asked of him. That’s why he was such a great Derby horse — if you asked him to go down the Bank, he’d say, “Well, if you think it’s alright, I will”.

Horses like Mondriaan become friends. We run a commercial stud, but we do it because of what we get back from these amazing animals. So while this is a sad time, I count myself lucky when we can keep these horses to the end.

He will be a friend who’s much missed.

Ref Horse & Hound; 19 September 2019