“I wholeheartedly apologise,” says Mark Todd After a Video Emerges of him Whipping a Horse
Sir Mark Todd CBE has issued an apology after a video of him continually whipping a horse on its quarters during what appears to be a cross country schooling session has emerged.
The incident occurred when a group of horses and riders were cross country training. In the video, the rider is struggling to move the grey horse forward into the water obstacle. Todd is then seen on foot, running up behind the pair where he starts to whip the horse continually with a long stick until it went forward.
Mark Todd, New Zealand Equestrian, caught heavily whipping this poor horse for refusing a water obstacle. How stressed this horse must be to still refuse when being hit like this pic.twitter.com/umuxFvXPrZ
— bean bag (@MollyAyesha) February 12, 2022
Now a former patron of the World Horse Welfare, Todd reportedly voluntarily stepped down from his position when it came to his attention the video had been released.
The World Horse Welfare issued the following statement:
“The treatment of the horse in this video is disturbing and unacceptable. 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.
“To his credit, when the video came to Mark’s attention he contacted us and voluntarily stepped down as one of our Patrons. 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 practises, no matter how experienced the rider or trainer”.
Todd’s statement of apology reads:
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.”
A longstanding member of the equestrian eventing community and licensed trainer, Todd enjoyed considerable success under saddle including acquiring two Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988 before officially retiring in 2019.
During his career, he was honoured for his commitment to equestrian sport in 2013. Since retirement Todd has been coaching and making strides in the world of horse racing. The British Horse Racing Authority is reportedly taking steps to question Todd over his actions.