Hickstead star Billy Grand is enjoying a new adventure following a top-level showjumping career.
The 17-year-old gelding, who won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2011 with Daniel Moseley, relished his first day on the hunting field with eventer and Surrey Union master Alice Dunsdon.
During his competition career, the Irish sport horse jumped across Europe up to CSI5*-level with William and Pippa Funnell, and was also competed by a number of other riders.
Alice told H&H Billy Grand was “absolutely brilliant”.
“He stood like a rock at the meet and was very inquisitive about the hounds,” she said.
“Straight away he wanted to be up with them and all day he was as good as gold.”
The pair jumped a “couple of rails” and Pippa came out to see how he was taking to his new vocation.
The day came about as Alice saw Pippa in their local pub and the pair were chatting about the horses when Pippa mentioned she wondered if Billy Grand would enjoy hunting in his retirement.
One thing led to another and the next morning he went for his first day with the Surrey Union.
“There’s no excuse for me not jumping five-bar gates now,” joked Alice.
“He has taken to it like a duck to water, he was so sensible and he is so beautifully schooled and well mannered — I felt very lucky to be up there on him, it is a real honour to be able to ride him.
“He is such a lovely horse and he so loved watching the hounds, I just hope I can do Pippa and William proud.”
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The prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Cup at the Royal International is won by 21-year-old Daniel Moseley with Billy Grand
Pippa said she is “very grateful” to Alice for giving the horse this opportunity.
“A new life awaits for this gentle giant who William, myself and Dan Moseley had so much fun with, winning the Queen Elizabeth at Hickstead with Dan, one of the very special highlights of his career,” she said in a post on her Facebook page.
“Now 17 he will have some fun with Alice, it will be horrible in my yard without him but what a fabulous home to go to.”
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