Pippa Funnell withdraws from Badminton Horse Trials after fall

  • Pippa Funnell has withdrawn both her rides from the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this week (5-8 May).

    The top British rider had a bad fall at Withington Manor Horse Trials on Sunday (1 May) and was kept in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxfordshire, for two nights for observation and testing.

    She is expected to return home today having been given the all-clear, but has withdrawn Second Supreme and Billy Beware from Badminton to give herself more time to recover.

    Pippa, who won Badminton in 2002, 2003 and 2005, said: “It’s devastating not only for myself but also for the owners, Jonathan and Jane Clarke and Marek Sebestak, my groom Frankie and the hard working team at home not to be able to compete at Badminton this year. Both my horses are in great form and the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials is one of the greatest events in the world. I very much hope to back competing again shortly.”

    Badminton director Hugh Thomas said: “We’re very disappointed for Pippa, her connections, and of course everyone who was so looking forward to seeing her ride at Badminton. All the team wish her well and hope she is back in the saddle soon.”

    Pippa is the only winner of the Rolex Grand Slam, the $350,000 (£240,000) prize given to any rider who can win Badminton, Kentucky and Burghley consecutively. She completed the sequence at Burghley in 2003.

    This week German rider Michael Jung will challenge to win the grand slam — he took Burghley last year on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW and Kentucky last week on FischerRocana FST. He will be riding La Biosthetique-Sam FBW at Badminton.

    Continued below…

    Other recent British withdrawals have come from Emily Llewellyn, whose ride Greenlawn Sky High has been sold, Nana Dalton (Absolut Opposition) and Emma Hyslop-Webb, whose Pennlands Douglas was spooked by a pheasant on his final gallop and had to have six staples in his heel.

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