‘Farewells are never easy – these horses are your best friends’: British grand prix showjumper sold to US rider

  • The Billy Stud has said an “especially challenging farewell” to William Funnell’s much-loved 18.2hh “gentle giant” and five-star ride Equine America Billy Diamo, who has been sold to the United States.

    The 14-year-old gelding, by Cevin Z and out of Andiamo mare Annagroff, will join a young rider in Florida.

    Billy Diamo was bred by the Billy Stud and started his early career with the stud’s rider Lucy Townley, before William took over in Diamo’s seventh year. Diamo jumped his first World Cup qualifier with William at Olympia, the London Horse Show, at the end of 2018, and the following year they made their first Nations Cup team appearance for Great Britain, at St Gallen, Switzerland.

    Diamo continued to compete in grands prix at top venues and shows around the world. In 2021 William and Diamo were shortlisted for the Tokyo Olympics, but ruled out when William broke his ankle in a fall from the gelding during the Nations Cup of Sopot weeks before the Games. The following year they won the Hickstead Derby Trial, and last year they were third in the Hickstead Derby.

    William told H&H Diamo is the “most honest, genuine horse you can find”.

    “For me he was a fantastic horse; being third in the Rolex grand prix at Royal Windsor in 2019, jumping clear in the Hickstead Derby, winning a three-star grand prix – over the years we’ve had some pretty good results. It’s nice for another horse we’ve bred to be at the top of his sport,” he said.

    “These horses are your best friends, I have had a lot of pleasure from him and I think it’s important when they’ve given you so much to make sure they end up going to a good home. With me taking the job training in the UAE, I’m not going to have as much time to jump this year so it seemed the right time, and the opportunity came up to sell him to an up-and-coming young rider. He’s going to do a super job of bringing her up from doing 1.30s through the levels.

    “He’s been loved all the way through, and it’s nice to find a home for him where he’ll be loved again. He’s in warmer weather in Florida now.”

    A Billy Stud spokesman added that “farewells are never easy, but this one is especially challenging”.

    “Billy Diamo has had such a remarkable journey at the Billy Stud and has been an invaluable member of William’s string for many years,” he said.

    “We can’t thank Diamo enough for the countless memorable moments we shared, and we look forward to following his future successes. Wishing him and his new owners all the luck and happiness in the world together as they begin their journey together in the USA.”

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