Pippa Funnell reflects on her Kentucky cross-country rounds: ‘He had to dig deep and I helped him as much as I could’

  • Pippa Funnell holds two top-15 places after today’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event cross-country.

    SHE Eventing AB’s Maybach slipped from fifth after dressage to ninth with 11.6 time-faults. He had a great round until he started to tire in the final third of the course and Pippa had to nurse him home.

    “He had to dig deep and I had to dig deep and that’s what teamwork’s about,” said Pippa. “It’s his first five-star and he’s not used to that sort of trip. I couldn’t sit there and do nothing, I had to use my experience and help him as much as I could.

    “I really had a go at the time. I wasn’t that down at seven minutes and possibly 10 seconds down at nine minutes.

    “Then he jumped the hedge into the final water [fence 23abc] and stumbled. I think he just landed, hit the deep water and lost momentum. Then he really dug deep to get the power back to jump those eyelashes [the angled brushes out]. When a horse is in a rhythm and galloping and they’re knocked back, then they can get tired and I think that’s what happened.

    “He was just a really good boy and I’m really proud. That third last is a big fence when you’re sat on a tired one and he will have learnt a lot from this trip.”

    Kentucky Three-Day Event cross-country: ‘He was keen’

    Pippa’s first ride Majas Hope, who belongs to Marek Sebestak and his rider, had 11.2 faults to rise from equal 14th to 13th on Kentucky Three-Day Event cross-country day. He is more experienced than Maybach but can be somewhat headstrong across country.

    “He was really good, but just quite keen,” said Pippa. “I could have gone faster, but he wasn’t backing off. After twisting and turning through the Head of the Lake, I let him run and he didn’t back off and hit the front rail of the next oxer, which made me think, ‘I can’t let you take over’.

    “He could have easily got up on four strides at the last combination but when they’re tired like that, that’s when they overjump so I supported him and had five.

    “I’m not sure if it’s just me not liking to take too many chances and tonight I’ll probably be kicking myself for not taking more of them. But I had to wrestle him a bit at the early combinations so I was down on time from the start and it’s a difficult track to make up time.”

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