Profile: Pippa Funnell
Date of Birth: 07/10/1968
Birthplace: Crowborough, East Sussex
Height: 1.68 m / 5′ 6″
Career: 1987 – Present
Pippa Funnell MBE was born in Crowborough, East Sussex. Aged 16, she persuaded her parents to allow her to leave school, after which she based herself with Ruth McMullin.
Funnell was European Young Rider Champion in 1987 after successfully competing on Sir Barnaby at Bialy Bor, Poland. Despite a successful career as a junior and young rider, she at first struggled to establish herself as a senior international and by her own admission suffered from nerves that were threatening to ruin her career. She began receiving help from sports psychologist Nicky Heath.
She was a member of the British team that won silver at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, bronze at the World Equestrian Games in 2002. And silver again at the Athens Olympics of 2004. In addition, Funnell won the individual bronze medal at Athens.
In 2003, Funnell became the first rider ever to complete the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing by winning at Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton, and earned a $250,000 bonus. As of 2015, she remains the only rider to have won the Grand Slam. As a result of her achievements, she was voted Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year 2003.
She went to Punchestown in Ireland to defend the individual European title that she had won in 1999 and 2001, winning a bronze medal with the inexperienced Walk On Star and helping the British team to win their fifth successive team title. She also finished the year as the number one ranked rider in the world.
In total Funnell has won the Badminton Horse Trials three times: 2002, 2003 and 2005. She has won both the Blenheim venue and Windsor Horse Trials 4 times as well, the only rider yet to do so. With Funnell as rider, Primmore’s Pride became the 1st horse to win all three major four star titles – Kentucky & Burghley in 2003 and Badminton in 2005 – thus becoming the 1st horse to win its own Grand Slam.
Pippa also has had a successful showjumping career alongside her eventing successes. She is also heavily involved with the breeding and producing of British-bred horses in partnership with her husband William Funnell and Donal Bardwell at The Billy Stud in Surrey.
1987 European Young Rider Champion
1999 European Champion
2000 Silver – Sydney Olympic Games
2002 Bronze – World Equestrian Games
2003 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing
2004 Silver – Athens Olympic Games
2013 Win: Billy Beware – Tattersalls
Competed for Team GB in Rio 2016 in Equestrian Eventing Individual, and Equestrian Eventing Team.
In 2005, Funnell was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Her hero is New Zealand rider Mark Todd.
Funnell motto is “You only get out what you put in.”