Following the news that William Funnell’s great showjumping partner Mondriaan had been put down at the grand age of 25, H&H’s showjumping editor revisits some of her favourite moments of this outstanding bay gelding’s career.
Since William teamed up with a then five-year-old ‘Danny’, until his emotional retirement in the International Arena at Hickstead in 2011, the tremendous pair thrilled the nation and accrued a huge legion of fans along the way.
1. Winning the Foxhunter
In 2001, at the age of seven, Mondriaan grabbed the headlines by winning the prestigious Foxhunter final at Horse of the Year Show — pictured receiving the trophy from then Horse & Hound editor, Arnold Garvey.
2. Lifting the Aga Khan Trophy
There is no prouder moment than representing your country — combine that with lifting the much coveted Aga Khan Trophy for winning the Nations Cup at Dublin Horse Show and you can see why William and Michael Whitaker (Portofino 63) are so happy.
3. One of the greatest ever Derby horses
The Julie Slade-owned Mondriaan became known as something of a Derby specialist, seemingly unfazed by everything the Hickstead track could throw at him. He finished third in his first attempt at the class in 2003 and, but for a hampered preparation due to colic in 2010, he could well have landed a fourth. Mondriaan also won the Derby at Eindhoven and Falsterbo.
4. Making it a hat-trick
After lifting the Boomerang Trophy in 2006 and 2008, William and the then named Cortaflex Mondriaan returned in 2009 to jump clear from last draw and make it a phenomenal hat-trick — joining a select band of horses to have won the class three times. The third triumph was a particularly poignant one as it came shortly after the death of Hickstead founder Douglas Bunn. “It was almost like it was destiny for me to win that day,” said William.
The wonderful bay gelding who took William Funnell to three Hickstead Derby victories has been put down at the age
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5. Farewell from Hickstead
In 2011 we all shed a tear when William took the saddle off Mondriaan for one last time in the International Arena at Hickstead, the scene of some of his greatest triumphs. The pair were met with a standing ovation as they left the ring for one last time. Mondriaan spent the latter years of his retirement as a very happy hacker and hunter with Denise Stamp, one of William’s greatest supporters. We will certainly miss you, Mondriaan.
Read William Funnell’s tribute to this great horse in this week’s magazine (Thursday 19 September), plus all the latest news, reports and exclusive features…