Kiwi eventing legends Mark Todd and Blyth Tait caught up at Luhmühlen Horse Trials, which kicked off yesterday (18 June), to discuss how the event has changed, which eventers have inspired them and what it has been like coming back to the sport after a break

On Luhmühlen

Mark Todd: It was very different back then [when I won in 1986 with Charisma]— we wouldn’t have been sitting in a marquee like this. But I remember there used to be a very good beer tent over there that everybody used to go to.

Blyth Tait: There probably still is — we’ll just have to check it out later…

MT: I also remember back then when you won they had the ceremony at the end of the day and you had to bury a bottle of Schnapps or something like that, and then you were supposed to come back the next year and dig it up but I never did, so mine could be still buried out there!

I think it was probably a bit more fun back then…

BT: Well it’s very competitive now and so you have to put 110% in. But it was good when we managed to win and have fun.

Continued below…

On alternative sporting careers…

BT: So tell me, if you didn’t ride, what sport might you have persued?

MT: I was actually quite good at athletics. High jump was my speciality.

BT: I’ve no idea what I would have done. I could have been a jockey… except I ate too much.

MT: You should have been a jockey… you would have made a lot more money.

BT: I wouldn’t have had to do dressage if I’d been a jockey — that would have suited me!

On eventing icons…

BT: I know who sparked my interest in eventing and that was Lucinda Prior-Palmer. She was phenomenally successful and sitting at the otherside of the world it was really impressive to follow her. But all joking aside you definitely inspired me because you made it possible for a kiwi to come over here and be successful.There was no excuse for us not giving it a go.

MT: Definitely for me it was Lucinda. When I first came over she was the golden girl of the sport. But of course Lucinda is now a good friend of both of ours.

Don’t miss the full report from Luhmühlen in the 25 June issue of Horse & Hound magazine