‘The most beautiful soul’: Pippa Funnell’s former ride put down

  • The owner of a thoroughbred taken by Pippa Funnell from the racetrack to two-star eventing has paid tribute to “the most kind-hearted beautiful soul”.

    Elaine Tragett, who had owned Special Constable (Midge) since 2012, told H&H the 20-year-old suffered a heart attack in the field and had to be put down.

    “He’d been so happy and chirpy, even that day,” she said.

    “Sometimes it’s so difficult with older horses as they start to look poor but he was as fit as a fiddle, still being ridden and looking after the youngsters and teaching them about life, then the next day he was gone.”

    Pippa had bought the gelding from trainer Ben Case at the same time as Ensign, with whom she enjoyed success up to three-star level, and whom she rode at the 2005 European Championships.

    Laura Collett took on the ride in 2008, after which he was competed by Mark Ford, who gave him to Elaine. She took him back up to one-star level and won the Retraining of Racehorses racing to eventing series in 2014.

    “He used to get very excited at the start of the cross-country!” Elaine said.

    “He was well known for being crazy. But Pippa wrote me a lovely letter saying not to pay any attention to him being crazy and that he’d do anything for love. He was the most kind-hearted beautiful soul, and I think she’d say the same.”

    Elaine said she was lucky to have had the ride on Midge, adding that he was “such a talented horse”.

    Continues below…

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    “Pippa did all the hard work of retraining him and it’s such a privilege to get on a horse as well trained as him; Pippa’s attention to detail is amazing,” she said.

    “I always think it’s lovely for people to see where horses go [on retirement from top-level competition], and that they have another life; and such an important one.

    “He started life on a racecourse and then we paraded at Ascot on Champions Day as winners of the eventing series, which was one of his last public appearances; it was lovely to see the full circle.”

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