William Funnell’s European gold medal-winning stallion Billy Congo is standing at stud in Ireland this season.
In a new departure for the Billy Stud, they have sent the 19-year-old Vechta x Animo stallion to stand at the Kylemore Stud in Co. Galway.
“There’s been a lot of demand for him in Ireland and it’s difficult to get fresh semen there, so this seemed the perfect opportunity,” William told H&H.
“Donal Barnwell did some research and the Kylemore Stud seemed very forward-thinking. With Pip and I both having ridden Congo for so long, he’s part of the family, and it was very important for us to know he would be well looked after; their facilities are superb.”
Kylemore Stud is run by the husband-and-wife team of Olive and Ivor Broderick.
“We are delighted to have been approached to stand Billy Congo,” said Olive, a fully qualified AI technician with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and Defra, with an extensive knowledge of fertility problems and practices with mares and stallions.
“Rarely do breeders get an opportunity to access such an important stallion. His record in competition, and as a producer of performers, is as good as there is and we look forward to a great season with him here at Kylemore Stud.”
Billy Congo retired from top level sport last year, having been a “horse of a lifetime” for William. The pair secured podium places in some of the most prestigious grands prix in the world, as well as helping Great Britain to win team gold at the European Championships in 2013.
Billy Congo has long been hugely influential in the Billy Stud breeding programme, siring William’s Hickstead Derby winner and 2018 World Equestrian Games ride, the late Billy Buckingham, and other top performers including Billy Cool, Billy Fanta and Billy Onslow.
Find out the famous stallion Billy Congo, who is now enjoying life showjumping with Pippa Funnell
‘He was a fantastic horse, who’d jump round any grand prix in the world’
“It’s been disappointing that Congo hasn’t got more quality mares in England – especially considering the offspring he’s already produced – so we’re hoping he’ll have many more mares while he’s over there,” said William.
“He seems to really suit Irish mares – as you saw with Billy Buckingham who is by Congo out of an Irish mother by Clover Hill tracing back to King Of Diamonds. He seems to pass blood on to his offspring, which few stallions seem to do, and that obviously works well for the Irish type.”
Olive Broderick added: “We only stand stallions we truly believe in as producers, and Billy Congo ranks right up there with the best!”
We continue to publish Horse & Hound weekly during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as keeping horseandhound.co.uk up to date with all the breaking news, features and more. Click here for info about magazine subscriptions (six issues for £6) and access to our premium H&H Plus content online.