25 years of the Billy Stud | An Eventful Life

25 years of the Billy Stud

The nine-year-old Billy Wonder, with Pippa in the saddle, finished fifth in the British Novice Championship at 2019 Festival of British Eventing.

Billy Wonder is by the Billy Stud's stallion Cevin Z out of Misty Dream Lady



“There is no better feeling than producing horses from a young age and taking them up through the levels” says Pippa Funnell, whose Billy Stud is celebrating 25 years of breeding in 2020

The Billy Stud started as a joint venture between Pippa's husband and top British show jumper William Funnell and Donal Barnwell and together they have developed a successful breeding program for homebred British sports horses.

“25 years ago, Donal and I had the idea that, rather than going to Europe and buying their young horses, we could emulate and improve on that and breed every bit as good and quality horses in the UK” says William

The first foal bred by the partnership was originally nicknamed ‘Orange’ due to his chestnut colour, but when he went to William’s yard, he became known as Billy, and from there came his show name Billy Orange. This would eventually lead onto become the ‘Billy’ prefix for all the horses from the Stud

At the Billy Stud near Dorking the team of young horses continues to grow and is now world renowned for producing top quality horses for show jumping, such as Billy Congo, Billy Birr, Billy Bianca, Billy Grand and Billy Angelo, and in eventing with Billy Landretti, Billy Shannon, Billy Wonder and Billy Beware to name a few


      Billy Walk On and Pippa in the 2019 British Open Championship at the Festival of British Eventing


While the Billy Stud already ran online auctions during winter for young stock, when Covid-19 brought things to a halt earlier this year in the UK, the Billy Stud Spring and Summer auctions also went online

In the past few months these two auctions have seen some lovely young stock go under the virtual hammer with William saying in June that “I firmly believe this is the best collection of horses we have brought forward to our auction. We have dams who have jumped Grand Prix, sires that have jumped 5* Grand Prix and these young horses are the perfect example that our system of using proven dams results in these young horses that have serious prospects at the top level of sport”

The Summer Billy Stud Online Auction came took place in June and saw the average sale price across the 10 horses grow to almost €31,000.

The highest price of the night was the Billy Congo sired Billy Xenia who was purchased for €65,000. by Chris Ellis. Billy Be Blue headed to Ireland following a successful bid of £41,500 while Billy Cossette left for the USA with a bid of €22,500 securing her.

Lone Star Farms were the successful bidders on both Billy Be Boss (€38,000) and Billy Mufasa (€37,000). 

The Spring Online Auction in May also drew an international field with the top priced lots of Billy Buchannon (Chacoon Blue x Billy Congo) and Billy Be Wise (Billy Congo x Kannan) sold for £43,000 and £39,500 respectively to be ridden under the Italian flag for the team of Fabrizia Stefani and Paolo Paini.