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Toytown (horse)

Medal record

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

File: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.

Toytown[1], a chestnut gelding born in 1992, standing at 17hh and with particularly distinctive markings including a white blaze and white spots, is a British event horse currently owned and ridden by Zara Phillips. The pair compete together at the highest level of the sport.

Toytown's exact breeding is unknown. He 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[2] after watching him jump with her stepmother and dressage coach Sandy Pflueger. 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

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. Given his age, it is unlikely Toytown will be in contention for the 2012 London Olympics.

Major Accomplishments






  • Individual Silver at the European Young Riders Championship



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