One of the great eventing horses of our time, Pippa Funnell’s Primmore’s Pride was put to sleep on Monday at the age of 30.
Eventing enthusiasts likely know well the name Primmore’s Pride; a true-blue event horse that lived for the long-format days, “Kiri” found much success at the pinnacle of the sport. Perhaps best known to the eventing public as the bookend winner of Pippa’s Rolex Grand Slam, the majority Thoroughbred gelding bred by Joanna and Roger Day won both the 2003 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event as well as the 2003 Burghley Horse Trials. He was helped along by stablemate Supreme Rock, who won Badminton Horse Trials in 2003 to help secure the Grand Slam for Pippa.
It wasn’t only the Grand Slam that earned Primmore’s Pride his due. He showed early success as a young horse, finishing first in the prestigious Burghley Young Event Horse prize as a five-year-old and going on to top that with a win as a seven-year-old in the Young Horse Breeding World Championships at Le Lion d’Anger. In his debut at the now-five-star level, Primmore’s Pride was sixth at Burghley, following that up with a win as a ten-year-old at Kentucky. Pippa and Kiri’s first shot at the Olympics together came in 2004 when they were named to the British team for Athens. They’d make good on their success to date, finishing third individually and earning a team silver medal.
As one final marker of definitive success and Breyer horse status, Primmore’s Pride picked up one final five-star win at the only major event he’d not won yet: the 2005 Badminton Horse Trials.
“I will be forever grateful to [owners] Denise and Roger Lincoln for giving me the opportunity to produce and compete a horse with such incredible ability,” Pippa wrote on social media. “Pippa Woodall for looking after him with such great care during his retirement, thank you. He gave me some momentous life changing victories such as winning two legs of The Rolex Grandslam plus two medals in Athens…I will never have another horse that will score 3 x 10’s [sic] for an extended trot like you did at the Games. You were incredible, despite being ever so slightly arrogant.”
The first year I attended the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, I kept my program. I’d attended as many autograph signings as I could and tucked it away for posterity down the road. While writing this tribute, I went back into my bedroom and found the program, acting on a memory that I’d been lucky enough to make the year Pippa and Kiri won the first leg of the Grand Slam my “eventing debut”.
So here’s to the legends like Primmore’s Pride: the ones you remember long after they’ve galloped past you, the ones who make you feel a little silly because they make you want to take on the biggest courses in the world — if only you had a horse just like that. We won’t soon forget the endless memories, and our condolences go out to Pippa and all who knew and loved Kiri.