Sir Mark Todd has issued a grovelling apology after video footage shows him whipping a horse with a branch 10 times according to The Mirror newspaper.
The footage is on the social media website TikTok. It was recorded by Chloe T. It shows Todd, 65, striking the horse during a training session.
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The video is believed to be two years old. It resurfaced recently. The horse was hit as it was about to cross a water obstacle. It looks as though Todd was trying to encourage the horse to go over it or through it.
As the horse stops and backs away, Todd dashed forward with a branch and strikes the horse on its rear 10 times before it moves forward into the shallow water. In the background we can hear cheering. We don’t know where this happened.
Sir Mark Todd is a double Olympic gold medallist. He issued a statement about the “training incident”.
“I wholeheartedly apologise to the horse and all involved for my actions in this video clip. One of the main things I preach is about establishing a mutual respect between horse and rider and that patience and kindness is the best way to get results. I believe this is one of the main attributes along with a great empathy with animals that has enabled me to have a long and successful career in eventing. I am very disappointed in myself that I did not adhere to that in this case.”
Obviously, animal advocates who have seen the video are upset and angry. One commenter on TikTok said that they were absolutely heartbroken to watch it. They said that they were sorry that both Todd and the horse had to go through the experience.
Others said that it was no way to treat an animal. Some people can’t watch the video. I’m in that category. I do not watch animal abuse videos these days. It is because they leave a memory or a scar on my brain and sometimes those memories pop up without warning. In short, they can be damaging to one’s mental health.
Apparently, Chloe said that she was scared of a backlash. She was asked whether she had sent it to the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. We don’t know her response.
Sir Mark Todd won his gold medals at the Los Angeles and Seoul Olympic Games. He also won three bronze medals and has won the Badminton Horse Trials four times and Burghley on five occasions.
Sir Mark Todd is a New Zealander who is a seven-time Olympian. He retired from eventing three years ago. He now runs Mark Todd Racing in Wiltshire. He had his best year in 2021 with 13 winners from 80 runners with his team earning £121,000 in prize money.
Update: Equiwarehouse which sells products for eventing has taken quick action to distance itself from the New Zealander in saying: “With no regret at all, we will no longer be selling any Mark Todd clothing, horse wear or feed. Mark Todd Eventing you should be utterly ashamed of yourself, vile ‘professional’ and disgrace of a human”. Strong words indeed. Clearly, they are committed animal advocates at that business. Also, British Horseracing Association (BHA) have launched an investigation. He faces questioning from the organisation.