Date of birth: 15/05/1981
Zara made an incredible senior championship debut when she won the individual and team gold at the European Championships at Blenheim in 2005. She then became the only person apart from Ginny Elliot to hold both the World and European individual titles at the same time when she won individual gold and team silver at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen last year. She has also won individual European silver as a young rider.
Zara’s rise to stardom has been meteoric since she stepped up to senior level. She finished second at Burghley in 2003 at her first four-star competition and was tipped for a place in the Athens Olympic squad, when an injury to Toytown ruled him out the rest of the season. In 2005 she finished second in Luhmuhlen four-star on her dressage score to earn her senior championship debut.
Zara made her Badminton debut in 2007 amid much press coverage, but was one of a number who withdrew after the dressage as debate raged about the state of the ground. She and Toytown were sixth at that stage. She did though go clear round Luhmühulen on Ardfield Magic Star, her first four-star ride on any horse other than Toytown.
The World Champion was confirmed as a squad member for this year’s European Championships at Pratoni del Vivaro (13-16 September) after finishing fifth and best of the Brits in the new team CIC*** at Aachen in July.
Toytown put in an uncharacterstically disobedient dressage test at Gatcombe, scoring 57.7 to lie 43rd in a CIC*** section after dressage. He then had three show jumps down before being withdrawn.
Zara’s final run before the Europeans was at Highclere, where she and Toytown lead the dressage in the advanced intermediate on 25.8, had one show jump down and a clear cross-country round with 10.8 time-penalties.
European Championship performance 2007
Zara and Toytown lay third after dressage (29.8) and moved up to the individual silver medal position with one of the fastest cross-country rounds, adding just 2.8 time-penalties. But it all went wrong in the show jumping, when Toytown stopped at an oxer at the end of a tricky related distance. Their eventual 12 jumping penalties and seven time-faults dropped them to sixth and out of the individual medal standings, although they did pick up team gold.
Zara is the daughter of the Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips. The Princess Royal, European Champion in 1971, represented Britain at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, while H&H columnist Captain Mark Phillips, as well as winning Badminton Horse Trials four times, also won an Olympic team gold medal in Munich in 1972 and team silver in Seoul in 1988.