The horse was very hot and quirky, but his experienced rider managed to do quite well on him. However, Shedden did take several precautions with the very strong horse: he always rode him in a gag bit while on cross-country, used a tight standing martingale, and tied a piece of string from the saddle to his belt so that if he fell off he might still have control of the horse.
“On the day of the cross-country at the Los Angeles Olympics, Ginny and Priceless set off early I wanted a shot of them jumping the Crescent Oxer which I knew could be spectacular if - as Dot had told me - they took the direct route through the centre. If they had decided to choose the easy way round the side I would have missed my picture altogether. It was a gamble, especially as no one before them took the central route and a lot of the riders seemed to be making heavy weather of the course. The gloomy predictions that no one would clear seemed to have a ring of truth. Then Priceless and Ginny appeared, heading straight for the centre of the oxer. It was the most enormous fence, but they just sailed over it. As they carried on round the course, I could hear the commentator saying. “Clear, clear, clear.” and it was as if a cloud had lifted.” Kit Houghton, Equestrian Photographer
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. 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.”
Grasshopper’s final rider said of him: “Grasshopper was neither very big nor very handsome, but such was his toughness, mentally and physically, that he never started an international event in which he was not expected to produce the fastest time cross-country… I don’t expect ever to see another horse like him.” Michael O. Page