Pippa Funnell’s former top ride put down age 26

  • The owner of Pippa Funnell’s former top ride Jurassic Rising has paid tribute to the eventing superstar, who has been put down aged 26.

    “Fiver”, who won Blenheim CCI3* in 2003 and Saumur CCI3* in 2002, had spent six years competing at dressage with Jane Clarke, a friend and owner of Pippa’s, and some seven years in retirement.

    “It was the right time and I knew,” Mrs Clarke told H&H.

    “He was 26 and nearly a full thoroughbred, and when I took him on at 13 he had soundness issues so to go on and have another happy life was great.”

    Pippa rode the son of Primitive Rising, who was owned by Anne Burnet, throughout his career, from his first events as a five-year-old to his retirement.

    “He was such a wonderful horse; I think the reason he never did a four-star event was that Pippa had Rocky [Supreme Rock] and Kiri [Primmore’s Pride] at the same time,” Mrs Clarke said.

    “I can’t remember exactly how it came about but I was looking for a horse and Pippa said: ‘Why don’t you come and try Fiver? He’s so beautiful and should be fine for you’, and he was.”

    Mrs Clarke took Fiver from preliminary to medium level dressage.

    “He taught me so much,” she said.

    “We had lots of fun competing. I’d never sat on anything that moved like he did and when we started at prelim, he thought it was fantastic. But the higher the level [of dressage] got, the spookier he was; I used to joke that I didn’t know how Pippa used to get him round the cross-country

    as although he was fine hacking if he was behind, if he was in front he’d be terrified by a leaf.”

    Fiver always had a job even in his retirement, Mrs Clarke added, looking after other horses.

    “He was as happy as Larry,” she added. “We used to say he knew how important he was and would tell the other horses how he’d won Blenheim; he was such a character.

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    “Pippa always said she was so pleased he’d found a home like this where he could have another life but he was so special for me and I’m lucky to have had him.

    “He was a wonderful horse for me, and for Pippa, and in the end, it’s our responsibility not to let them suffer and to make the decision.”

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