Sir Mark Todd suspended by BHA and WHW

Sir Mark Todd has had his training lisence suspended by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and has stepped down as patron of the World Horse Welfare following investigations of a video circulating on social media of Mark Todd.

Mark Todd was a highly successful three-day eventer before taking out his racehorse training licence, winning two Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988 for New Zealand and earning a knighthood in 2013 for his equestrian achievements.

In a statement the BHA said: “The Chair of British racing’s Independent Judicial Panel has today approved an application from the BHA that an interim suspension should be placed on the training licence of Sir Mark Todd following the emergence over the weekend of a video showing him striking a horse with what appears to be a branch. This interim suspension means that while investigations continue into the circumstances of this incident, Sir Mark will be unable to race horses in Great Britain or internationally. The trainer has admitted the individual involved in the video was him, has apologised for his actions and agreed to the imposition of an interim suspension. On Sunday the BHA condemned the video and confirmed that it was looking into the incident. The BHA will provide further updates as necessary in due course, though will not be able to comment on the detail of the investigation itself until it is concluded. The interim suspension has been approved on the basis that it can be reviewed at a later date if necessary, on application by either party.”

A spokesman for World Horse Welfare has said “to Mark’s “credit” when the video came to his attention, he contacted the charity and voluntarily stepped down from his role as a World Horse Welfare patron. There is no place in the horse-human partnership for such use of force. Mark agrees that his behaviour was wrong and we welcome his apology. Mark is a consummate horseman, who cares deeply for horses and their welfare but, in this case, either through losing his patience or acting out of frustration, he has badly let himself down,” said the spokesman. We all need to take heed from this episode. If equestrian sport, which we actively support, is to continue to maintain the acceptance of the public – its social licence – there cannot be any tolerance for unacceptable practices, no matter how experienced the rider or trainer.”