Zara Phillips retires her beloved Toytown after 12 years

Monday August 8, 2011

An emotional Zara Phillips retired her horse Toytown at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on Sunday.

Her new husband Mike Tindall, mother Princess Anne and father Captain Mark Phillips looked on as the royal struggled to hold back tears.

Zara has spent the majority of her equestian career with the 18-year-old chestnut gelding.

The two rode to victory in 2005 at the European Eventing Championship where they took home both individual and team gold medals.

They were also victorious at the World Equestrian Games in 2006, turning Toytown into a world champion horse.

His last competition was at the 2007 European Games where the pair came in sixth individually but helped the team gain another gold.

Since then, however, Toytown – affectionately known as 'Ginger' or Noddy' – has suffered a series of injuries that have kept him out of the ring.

Of his retirement, Zara said: "I think it will be quite difficult.

"It’s the end of an era. He was the horse of a lifetime for me.

"We grew up together, we went through the levels together, and it all just seemed to go our way.

"His movement, his character, it all combined to make the complete horse. And cross-country, he was just a machine."

While the newlywed is already looking at horses for the 2012 Olympics, she admitted: "I don’t think I am ever going to find another horse quite like him.

"But hopefully others that will be good enough to go to the same level as he did."

Photo: © Getty

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