Tag Archives: Billy Congo

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Derby Victory for Funnell

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We are so excited that Horse Scout Advocate William Funnell, has just claimed his fourth victory in the Al Shira’aa Derby at Hickstead for so many reasons. Not just because he has been a supporter of Horse Scout from the beginning but also because he was riding a British homebred horse. This was the 57th Derby which began in 1961, now sponsored by Al Shira’aa. This year it attracted a strong and very international field of riders but the Brits dominated.

Once again flying the flag for the Billy Stud, William was riding the 10-year-old Billy Buckingham by Billy Congo out of a Clover Hill mare. The impressive 18.2hh gelding was one of two to go clear in the first round of the imposing track. This resulted in a jump-off- almost unheard of in this competition,  against Holly Smith and the equally massive Irish bred Quality Old Joker by OBOS Quality. Holly has produced the 11 year old since a youngster and perhaps surprisingly, the 18 hand chestnut is as good at speed classes as he is at Derby’s and Puissances.

The first to go in the jump-off, Billy Buckingham was clearing the fences with inches to spare. Until the pair fell foul of the water jump and a foot in the splash, meant they finished with four faults in a time of 89.62sec. This gave Holly a bit of breathing space, but she was caught out first by the black gate and then by the water as well, meaning she they had to settle for runner-up.

William is the fifth rider to have four wins in the Hickstead Derby, having previously clocked up a catalogue of victories in 2006, 2008 and 2009 with his legendary long-term partner, Cortaflex Mondriaan. He joins other greats like Harvey Smith, John and Michael Whitaker, and Ireland’s Eddie Macken, who have all had four wins, in what is still perceived as one of the hardest showjumping events to clock a clear round in, let alone win.

William rates Billy Buckingham as the perfect Derby campaigner and believes there will be more wins to come . “As long as I’m fit and the horse is fit you’d like to think you could go on and win it a fifth time. It’s nice to be in the record books with those guys, and to do it this year on a home-bred is special,” he said.

Billy Buckingham was previously ridden by Lucy Townley, the daughter of Hickstead Director Edward Bunn. William took over the ride in 2017 and was the star performer of the British team in the Nations Cup in Denmark last June. Just a few weeks later, the pair finished sixth on their Derby debut having hesitated at the top of the Bank and getting a time fault as well.

“We’ve done a bit of practice to make sure he’d come down the Bank. Last year I wondered if I’d wasted a clear round because they don’t come round here very often, so it’s nice to get another one and win it on a home-bred by Billy Congo.”

William was full of praise for the show at Hickstead, which has always been happy hunting ground for him. “I’d like to congratulate the Bunns on the work they’ve done in the arena, this is the best grass ring in the world with the best footing.”

It was a great event for both British riders but also the girls this year, with Holly in second and Harriet Nuttall in third on another great Irish bred horse,  A Touch Imperious by Touchdown, This super consistent pair who have been together since “Henry” was just five years old, left all the poles up. Alas they were another pair to be caught out by the 15ft Open Water. Harriet shared third place with Shane Breen on the Canturo sired stallion, Can Ya Makan, who had one rail.

James Whitaker ended up in fifth place with one fence down and a time fault on Glenavadra Brilliant, the horse James’ elder brother William Whitaker rode to victory in 2016.

 

William Funnell, The Billy Stud and Horse Scout

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Horse Scout are thrilled to announce ‘Billy Congo’ as the most connected Stallion of 2016!

 

v7a4173aHorse Scout do a good job of promoting The Billy Stud, and allow people all over the world to know about us”. – William Funnell 

 

Billy Congo is by the AES & Irish Horse Board Approved stallion Vechta, who is by the famous world class sire Voltaire. Vechta’s extended pedigree carries 3 crosses to influential TB stallions Lucky Boy, Cottage Son and Furioso and top level performance sports horses. These performers and progeny include the great For Pleasure, Heisman, Faust Z and Maximillian Voltucky, Champion young stallion at the SHB (GB) stallion grading.

 

Horse Scout Team are thrilled to see organic connections building on his profile, showing how well he stamps his stock as a fabulous jumping sire. Fellow jump riders endorse Billy Congo, including Steven Franks, with multiple successes with Billy Ginger, one of many Billy Congo offspring !

 

Horse Scout are currently advertising three horses for sale by the illustrious Billy Congo- a BE 100 eventer (Billy Opaque) and a BE Novice eventer (Billy Chicago),  both ready to progress to the next level, and a 6 year old showjumper in Ireland.

 

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steven_franks_internationa_producer_profiled_on_horse_scout

Steven Franks – Top Tips for Top Class Rides

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Steven Franks –   With over 15 years experience in producing horses to Olympic and Grand Prix level, Steven Franks reveals his top tips on training his horses and buying a show jumper.

 When did you become serious about show jumping?

I was 17 when William Funnell spotted me at a show and said I should work for him if I wanted a career in show jumping. I ended up staying with him for seven years. At the beginning I was riding his young horses and, as the years went by, I got the opportunity to ride some of the more established ones and to carve out a career.

Name the highlights.

Back in the day… riding Cevin Z at three Horse of the Year (HOYs) finals and placing at a few international Grands Prix with Mondriaan.

More recently, since setting up my own business, coming second in 2015 at the Hickstead Derby on Carlow Cruiser and second in Spain at the three-star Grand Prix with Brutus III. He was a winner at CSI Bolesworth with Billy Ginger as well as winning the Area Trial at Edenbridge County Show.

Tell us a bit about your horses.

I have three horses with double clears at International Grand Prix:

Brutus III (by Billy Congo) is a really special 10-year old who has jumped nine world ranking classes on the trot without dropping a pole.

Carlow Cruiser (by Cruising) is a veteran at 18! He is a 16.2hh grey gelding, with incredible ability but is a menace in prize givings.

Abdul Aziz (Diamant de Semilly) a 2004-born black 16.2hh gelding.

Then I have Holly Congo (by Billy Congo) who at nine years old is winning 1.40 classes, as well as Billy Ginger who is the winning machine.

I also bought Brutus’ brother, seven-year old, 17.2hh Amethyst. He is currently jumping Fox Hunter classes. I don’t like to work big horses hard when they are young as they are simply too weak — it’s important to work on getting a good canter. And no… 1m30 isn’t big for a horse that size!

Are they for sale?

Every one is for sale but they’re not pushed under people’s noses.

How do you keep your horses sound and happy?

I place an emphasis on keeping them fit for the job but not over jumped — the fitter they are, the less likely they will pick up an injury. If they are established and competing, I hardly jump at all at home and, even then, it’s no bigger than 1m30. It’s purely to keep their jumping muscles strong. The younger horses (under seven) will jump more in order to improve their technique.

So what’s a weekly schedule for an established horse like Brutus?

Five days week they’ll be out in the field for two hours and they will be hacked three times a week. I will also work them in the paddock three times a week – I find that the sand school disguises a few things but in an open field there’s nothing to help you with straightness!

Do you use any training tools or favour any specific bits?

My motto is generally to keep it simple and most of my horses go in snaffles. Sometimes the horses with a high head carriage work with a bungee to work longer and lower and to use the muscles across their back but, in general, for show jumpers I think that if they are comfortable and happy carrying their head high or poking their nose, it’s better than forcing them to go in an outline and lean on the rider.

You now own your own business breaking and producing other people’s horses. What’s the most important thing when training a youngster?

The basics are flat work – straightness, self carriage, working forward, and being responsive off the leg and not dependent on the rider.

Can riders come to you for lessons?

In around five years time I’ll probably teach lessons, but at the moment that’s not a priority.

So do you train with anyone regularly?

In the past, of course, I’ve been trained by William Funnell and Di Lampard and if I had a problem at a show I’d always ask their advice, but no, I don’t train regularly with anyone. Most of the time I figure it out for myself. There’s no right or wrong way. Every horse is different. You just have to be clever…forever thinking.

What advice would you give other upcoming show jumpers?

I find watching certain riders I admire, such as Marcus Ehning, helps. And often it’s more beneficial to watch them in the warm up rather than the ring.

What’s important when buying a show jumper?

The most important thing is intelligence and a big heart. I’d rather they had less talent and a heart of a lion than be ultra talented and only give 80%. Whether you’re an amateur or professional, I think buying the right horse is down to gut instinct – look at a horse, get on and try it. Sometimes what you are looking at on paper simply doesn’t translate when you ride them.

So do you think blood lines are important and which ones do you like?

Yes it does count — I have three horses by Billy Congo: Brutus III, Holly Congo and Billy Ginger.

But my other favourites are similar to most others… Diamant de Semilly and Kannan.

What are your goals for the future?

To keep some young horses coming through so that we can keep going to the top shows. Keep the form and success up so that we can continue to climb the world rankings. Winning a Grand Prix and the Hickstead Derby, now that would be nice!

And why Horse Scout?

The social media side is very good — it’s so important these days to network and market yourself.

Interview by Sam Lewis Journalist and PR for Horse Scout

More about Steven Franks and the horses he produces can be found on Horse Scout

Visit Steven Frank’s profile page to find out more about the horses he has for sale which, at the time of writing include two wonderful youngsters ready to take the stage:

Box Clever a talented 5 year old who had a clear round in the Discovery at his first show. A handsome looking gelding by Box Clever – follow this link to his sales page.

Steven also has a talented homebred mare by  Adorado x an Animo Nimmerdor mare who is winning with double clears in Newcomers ready for 2017 and has also jumped double clears at Foxhunter.  A quality horse ready for a keen amateur to produce. Steven has ore information on her Horses for Sale page, follow this link.

More on Horse Scout about the stallions Steven franks mentions.

Horse Scout is the place to visit if you are looking for any of the top class stallions that Steven has mentioned in his interview.  Horse Scout really does have a top class line up listed on its Stallions at Stud pages. Visit our Stallions At Stud pages or use the links to particular stallions in the text above.

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Elite Showjumping Stallion: Billy Congo

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Billy Congo:  “I’m just in love with some of the young horses by Billy Congo” says William Funnel to the AES in January this year.

Billy Congo achieved Gold British Show Jumping Elite Stallion status in 2010 ridden by William Funnell. He was part of the Nations Cup winning team at Hickstead jumping a double clear round and was also selected for the British Team squad for Dublin. He was placed sixth in The Super League Grand Prix in Falsterbo Sweden again jumping a double clear round and was 2nd in the Derby Trial at Hickstead and won the International Bunn Leisure Tankard class.

His successes continued at Grand Prix through 2011 to last year and 2015 looks set to be a star year with Billy Congo already taking good placing’s in his 3* competitions this year.

By AES & Irish Horse Board Approved stallion Vechta, who is by the famous world class sire Voltaire. Vechta’s extended pedigree carries 3 crosses to influential TB stallions Lucky Boy, Cottage Son and Furioso and top level performance sports horses, these performers and progeny include the great For Pleasure, Heisman, Faust Z and Maximillian Voltucky, champion young stallion at the SHB (GB) stallion grading.

Billy Congo’s Dam Billy Autumn was herself and successful Grand Prix Showjumper and her sire, Animo, is among the elite jumping stallions in the world today.

Billy Congo’s young stock are now showing their potential.

In 2011, Billy Umbongo was joint winner of the Four Year Old Championships at the Addington, the following year he jumped clear everyday to pick up the bonus for the British bred 5yr olds. 2014 has seen Billy Umbongo go on his first sunshine tour to Spain and jumped numerous clear rounds in the 7yr old classes.

With his deep understanding of the breeding process, breeders should be assured by William Funnels responses to the Anglo European Stud Book when asked “Is Billy Congo the best?” and “Which stallion brought you the best horses?” his response was:

“Billy Congo is the best! No, I’m a modest man, but I’m just so in love with some of the young horses by Billy Congo. Some six and seven-year-olds in my stables. What I experience with Billy Congo is that he gives blood and produces careful sport types. There aren’t many stallions like that. For most stallions you need a blood mare. He doesn’t need that. I think most people don’t even realise how good he is because I think he is suited more to the European mares than the English blood types. He’s good on the typical continental mares, because he’s a strong horse with a good back and good hind end. That’s why I think we should sell more semen to Europe. There are not enough stallions with this type in Europe. Together with Kees Van Den Oetelaar I’m dividing the semen in Europe now. We have just finished another period of freezing his semen. His semen is better than any other, and his frozen is as good as the fresh.”


Click here to view this showjumping stallion on Horse Scout

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Gold British Showjumping Elite Stallion Billy Congo gets to wear a bit of British Bling.

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Stallions with Grade A performance winnings and having represented their country on either an Olympic/World/European Championship Team, Nations Cup Team and/or won an individual Championship medal at senior level are entitled to wear Gold British Showjumping Elite Stallion Discs on their bridles.

Billy Congo stands at The Billy Stud, a unique joint venture between William Funnell, Pippa Funnell and Donal Barnwell a team that brings together all their experience in showjumping, eventing and breeding.

Their knowledge has created a winning formula for consistently breeding and producing champion sports horses for the future.

Horse Scout has all the Billy Stallions listed on its pages.

But the horse who wears the bling is Billy Congo.

“Billy Congo is one of the most exciting young stallions I have seen. His bloodlines and the ability he is showing in the international arena makes him an ideal choice for my mares.”

John Whitaker

This hugely successful 16.2hh KWPN/Dutch Warmblold black stallion, Billy congo, is by AES & Irish Horse Board Approved stallion Vechta, who is by the famous world class sire Voltaire. Vechta’s extended pedigree carries 3 crosses to influential TB stallions Lucky Boy, Cottage Son and Furioso and top level performance sports horses, these performers and progeny include the great For Pleasure, Heisman, Faust Z and Maximillian Voltucky, Champion young stallion at the SHB (GB) stallion grading.

Billy Congo’s young stock are now showing their potential. In 2011 Billy Umbongo was joint winner of the Four Year Old Championships at the Addington, the Following year he jumped clear everyday to pick up the bonus for the british bred 5yr olds. 2014 has seen Billy Umbongo go on his first sunshine tour to Spain and jumped numerous clear rounds in the 7yr old classes. Billy Cool is a Black mare by Billy Congo, as a six year old she was clear everyday in the 6yr old championship at the Welsh masters, and in 2014 she finished on the spainish sunshine tour by coming 4th in the 7yr old final. Billy Onslow is now an 8yr old and has gone from strength to strength, in 2013 he was double clear in a 1.40m jump off class at the Royal Windsor horse show, he was 3rd in the 7yr old final in Maubage, and jumped clear rounds in the 1.45m classes at the CSI5* show in Hickstead which was a big test for a 7yr old. At The Burghley Young Event Horse Competition in 2010 Billy Pastime ridden by Pippa Funnell was 5th in the 4 year old section, and is now competing at CIC2* Level.

His successful progeny and as a Grade A show jumper himself, Billy Congo’s own competition results show that he a sound choice for breeding performace. Billy Congo was bred, trained and produced by Britain’s William Funnell at The Billy Stud. He won the 7 Year Old Championship at the British Young Horse Championships in 2008. In 2007, as a 6-year-old he was 2nd in the Young Horse Championships and in 2006, aged five, he was 3rd. Billy Congo and Funnell and accumulated a many Grand Prix successes and key Nations Cup performances. In 2013, the pair won a European Team Gold medal. By the end of 2012, Billy Congo is estimated to have won in excess of £100,000.  In the 2013 season € 175,540  and the 2012 season € 13,380 His total purse is somewhere in the region of £500,000

For more information on the stallions listed on horse scout visit our website www.horsescout.co.uk

You can see Billy Congo’s profile here:

http://134.213.137.168/horses/profile/238