Pippa Funnell back on top at Burghley | An Eventful Life

Pippa Funnell back on top at Burghley

       Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street


It was always going to be a nail-biting and emotional conclusion to the 2019 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with just 0.1 penalties separating the two very good friends, Pippa Funnell and Piggy French and their European Championship team mate Oliver Townend just 0.5 behind the overnight leader Pippa Funnell

All three riders incurred four faults during their show jumping rounds and the crowd collectively gasped as Pippa fumbled to regain her reins and composure after ‘a bit of a miss’, causing a rail to tumble. But she held her nerve to take the Burghley crown

 “I didn’t really think there would be another big win like this for me” admitted Pippa, who last won here in 2003 “I took the pressure off myself by thinking that I’d keep doing it because it’s the sport I really love and I enjoy every moment of working with my lovely horses”

“But the last two weeks (since winning silver at the European Championships) have been a completely surreal experience and my feet haven’t had a chance to touch the ground”

Piggy French, finishing in second place on Vanir Kamira said that her second place here made her Badminton win on the same horse ‘even more special’

“I’m very lucky that it was just one down today” said Piggy “She ran her heart on the line yesterday and people don’t realise how hard it is for the horses to come out today, get back on their hocks and respect the show jumping fences. I’m very proud of my horse and lucky to have her”

“It was a bit of a cheap fence” said Oliver of the show jump that fell early in the course for Ballaghmor Class “If it wasn’t for the crowd’s reaction, I probably wouldn’t have known we’d had it! He just breathed on it and I didn’t hear any clunk of the fence, just a groan from the crowd. But nowadays I know just to go on and jump the next one, and then the next one and give him the best ride that I can”

The Burghley crowd was clearly proud of their British top three, and particularly their hero Pippa Funnell. Oliver too was in a patriotic mood and feeling bullish about the line-up of British riders at the press conference

“This year I’ve been lucky enough to win Kentucky, Piggy won Badminton and now Pippa’s won Burghley” said the straight speaking Yorkshireman “I get a bit sick of hearing everyone put the Germans on this pedestal, saying that they are so far in front of us. Put the Germans round there (the Burghley cross country course) and see how they go! I think that we (British riders) are in a very good position!”

It certainly seems that way with the great results for these top British riders at the 2019 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, who once again showed pure class with a dash of wonderful British humour throughout the event

Our full report, rider interviews and photos coming up soon (get the tissues out ......!!) but in the meantime, enjoy some of the fun of the press conference