Toytown (horse)

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Toytown
Zara phillips toytown alterian hillside badminton 2009.jpg
Zara Phillips and Toytown jump the Alterian Hillside during the cross-country phase of Badminton Horse Trials 2009
Breed Irish Sport Horse
Sire Tipperary Grey (Irish Draught)
Grandsire River Bank (Irish Draught)
Sex 17hh Gelding
Foaled 1992
Country Britain
Colour Chestnut with blaze and Birdcatcher spots
Trainer Zara Phillips
Toytown
Medal record
Equestrian
World Equestrian Games
Gold 2006 Aachen Individual eventing
Silver 2006 Aachen Team eventing
European Eventing Championship
Gold 2007 Rome Team gold
Gold 2005 Blenheim Team gold
Gold 2005 Blenheim Individual gold

Toytown[1] is a retired British event horse owned and formerly ridden by Zara Phillips.

Toytown is a chestnut gelding born in 1992, standing at 17hh and with particularly distinctive markings including a white blaze and white spots. Toytown and Phillips competed together at the highest level of the sport until the horse's retirement in 2011, after accruing 1,421 British Eventing points in his career.

Background[edit]

Toytown's exact breeding is unknown. "Noddy" was spotted as a 7-year-old novice eventer in 1999 by Zara's father, Mark Phillips, when rider and former owner Meryl Winter went to him for a lesson. Zara bought the horse a few months later after watching him jump with her stepmother and dressage coach Sandy Pflueger.[2] Zara has since commented that he "looked a bit like a hat-rack when we first saw him but I got on really well with him."[3] Despite Winter's description of him as a 'cross country machine', Toytown was far from a natural Eventer, with a particular lack of respect for Show Jumps - at the Windsor CCI** in 2001, Zara and Toytown entered the ring in the lead only to finish out of the running with six fences down and 25 penalty points.

However, Zara and Toytown's hard work with Mark Phillips in the Show Jumping ring and Pflueger in the Dressage arena put paid to these teething problems, and the pair's first real success came with the Young Rider title at Bramham Horse Trials in 2002, followed by individual silver at the 2002 Young Riders European Championships in Austria.

This success was cemented in their CCI**** debut at Burghley Horse Trials in 2003. Competing at this level for the first time, over a particularly challenging course, Zara and Toytown found themselves in the lead after the cross country and missed overall victory by just one fence, losing to then-world number one Pippa Funnell on her way to the Rolex Grand Slam.

Far from being an easy horse to ride, Zara comments that he "doesn’t like performing these days unless it really matters"[4] (something he demonstrated at the 2007 Festival of British Eventing when, according to the BBC's equestrian correspondent Clare Balding, he "went complete bonkers and started rearing"[5] during the Dressage), and that "Toytown, almost always, has to do something to show he is in control."[6]

Olympic contender[edit]

A leg injury following Burghley forced Toytown out of contention for the 2004 Athens Olympics and the entire 2004 season, and an injury during final preparations[7] for the 2008 Beijing Olympics forced the pair to concede their place in the British team.

Retirement[edit]

Zara Phillips officially retired Toytown from competition on the final day of the 2011 Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park.[8] The popular gelding was paraded to fans and spectators in the main arena before leaving for the rolling Gloucestershire countryside of the Gatcombe Estate. Toytown made a post retirement public appearance with Phillips at Cheltenham racecourse in 2012 as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics torch relay.[9]

Major Accomplishments[edit]

2007

2006

2005

2003

2002

  • Individual Silver at the European Young Riders Championship

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Photo of horse and rider/owner". News.equestrianconnection.com. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  2. ^ Richard Ford, Home Correspondent Published 1 minute ago. "Times Online Article, 28th August 2006". Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  3. ^ "How phenomenal Phillips climbed to top of world". Sport.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  4. ^ Richard Ford, Home Correspondent Published 1 minute ago. "Times article 15th September 2007". Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  5. ^ Balding, Clare (2007-09-12). "Article by Clare Balding". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  6. ^ Zara Phillips, quoted in the Daily Telegraph (Issue 47,328:Saturday 4 August 2007 page S23)
  7. ^ Michael Phillips. "Guardian article". Guardian article. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  8. ^ Pippa Roome, H&H eventing editor. "Horse & hound article". Horseandhound.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  9. ^ Louise Eccles. "Crowds cheer as Zara Philips rides in racecourse clutching Olympic flame | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  10. ^ "Games Web-Site". Aachen2006.de. Retrieved 2012-05-23.