Celebrating Billy Congo’s amazing career as he concentrates on stud duties

  • Following the decision that William Funnell’s outstanding partner Billy Congo will now be concentrating on stud duties, we look back at the glittering international career of this brilliant 18-year-old stallion.

    The Billy Stud’s home-bred son of Vechta is currently standing at West Kington Stud in Wiltshire where he will be available for fresh semen. The stallion is also parading at Badminton Horse Trials today (Friday 3 May), where one of his many talented offspring, Billy Liffy, will be in action under Australian event rider Sam Griffiths.

    “He finished second in the Queen’s Cup with Pippa last year so, at the age of 18, we decided it would be good to retire him on a high and totally sound,” William told H&H. “Although he might still go out and have some fun with her.”

    We will certainly miss this spectacular stallion on the circuit — but the next generation looks very exciting.

    1. Gold!

    William FUNNELL riding Billy Congo (CH) GBR, in the Team FEI European Show Jumping Championship in Herning, Denmark in August 2013

    In 2013, William and his home-bred star (Vechta x Animo Elite) helped Great Britain secure the team gold medal at the European championships in Denmark in 2013 alongside Michael Whitaker, Scott Brash and Ben Maher.

    2. Britannia rules the waves

    William Funnell (GBR)&Billy Congo - Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain Presented By Longines - Hickstead, West Sussex, United Kingdom - 02 August 2013

    William and the son of Vechta flew the British flag more than 10 times together in Nations Cups and championships, including on home soil at Hickstead. Billy Buckingham, the son of Billy Congo, is now continuing the family tradition as William’s regular partner in team competitions, including at the World Equestrian Games in USA last year.

    3. In the limelight

    Billy Congo jumping in Cannes

    One of the pair’s best results came in the Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix of Cannes in 2013 when they finished runners-up to Marcus Ehning on Plot Blue, earning William Funnell his first podium finish in the prestigious series. “He just seems to get better and better,” said William at the time.

    4. What’s mine is yours…

    Pippa Funnell and Billy Congo

    William’s wife Pippa has been Billy Congo’s regular jockey in recent times, with some good placings on the international circuit, a national 1.35m win at Hickstead and a runner-up spot in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Cup at the Royal International.

    “He’s a lovely horse and it’s a real privilege to ride something of his quality — he’s had the most amazing career,” said Pippa.

    Continued below…

    5. In the ribbons

    The Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco ph.Stefano Grasso/Longines Global Champions Tour

    2013 was a phenomenal year for Billy Congo, with a string of top-10 finishes on the Longines Global Champions Tour, including this runner-up spot in the grand prix of Monaco, where they just lost out to USA’s Richard Spooner riding Cristallo.

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