Pippa Funnell was born in Crowborough, East Sussex on 7 October 1968 to Jenny and George Nolan. She grew up in Mark Cross and went to the Mark Cross CE primary school. She attended the independent boarding school Wadhurst College on Mayfield Lane in Wadhurst. Aged 16, she persuaded her parents to allow her to leave school, after which she based herself with Ruth McMullin, establishing one of the sport's most renowned training partnerships. In 2005, Funnell was made an MBE (Member of the British empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
She lives in Ockley, Surrey with show jumping husband William Funnell. She married him in Uckfield in December 1993. 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, Pippa at first struggled to establish herself as a senior international. Too often she would put up a brilliant performance in the dressage phase and then throw it away with mistakes on the cross country course. By her own admission she suffered from nerves that were threatening to ruin her career.
Help from sports psychologist Nicky Heath has produced a dramatic change and meant she has become the backbone of the British team. In 1999 she became European Champion at Luhmühlen riding Supreme Rock and again on the same horse in 2001 at Pau ("Les Etoiles de Pau" – France). She was a member of the British teams that won silver at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, bronze at the World Equestrian Games in 2002 both with Supreme Rock, and silver again at the Athens Olympics of 2004, this time with Primmore`s Pride. In addition, Funnell won the individual bronze medal at Athens