“Heartbroken” Zara Tindall has said goodbye to her star campaigner horse, Toytown, who has died aged 24.
The distinctive chestnut gelding with his signature white spots took Zara from young riders to the top of the senior stage.
“He made my career and I couldn’t be more grateful to him for the amazing times we had together — he was a huge part of my family, an amazing animal and a true champion.
“I will miss you for ever.”
The combination collected their first championship medal at the 2002 young rider eventing Europeans, where they picked up individual silver.
The following year they won the under-25s at Bramham and finished second at their first CCI4* attempt at Burghley Horse Trials.
They then went on to post some of Britain’s best results at senior championships in recent years.
Zara’s husband, former England rugby player Mike Tindall, paid tribute to Toytown on Twitter last night (27 June).
The ever-popular Toytown retired from competition aged 18 in an emotional ceremony at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe in 2011.
“It seemed fitting to give him a proper retirement ceremony at home, at Gatcombe Park.”
Since then he has paraded at Blenheim to mark the event’s 25th anniversary and carried the Olympic torch in 2012.
Last year, Toytown was ridden by Zara during the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Horse Show.
FROM: Horse and Hound, our sister site.