NZB Land Vision, the horse who carried Sir Mark Todd to his comeback Badminton win in 2011, has been put down, aged 17.

Mark told H&H that “Ben” had a colic operation a couple of weeks ago, but after an initial period of successful recovery, complications set in on Saturday.

“We sent him back to the hospital, but it got worse and they couldn’t operate again,” he said. “He was in a lot of pain so we had to make the decision on Saturday night.”

Mark paid tribute to the horse, saying: “Ben was undoubtedly one of the most talented horses I ever rode and to win Badminton for us at his first four-star as a 10-year-old was amazing. Due to his soundness issues we never got to see just how good he could have been. He has been a fantastic hack for Carolyn [Mark’s wife] in his retirement.

“Huge thanks to Sir Peter Vela and NZ Bloodstock for giving me the opportunity to ride him and to all the girls over the years who have been his devoted carers. He was loved by everyone who had anything to do with him. A true gentleman.”

The grey by Broadstone Landmark started his eventing career as a four-year-old under Daniel Henson and over the next three seasons progressed quietly up to intermediate level, racking up several wins and placings, but also having a number of cross-country jumping penalties.

Land Vision’s career really took over when he teamed up with Oliver Townend in 2008, running under the ODT prefix. He won an intermediate at Somerley Park, the CIC2* at Strzegom, Poland, and the British intermediate championships at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe, so often a pointer to future stars.

The following year Land Vision moved to Mark Todd’s yard. The pair won the CIC2* at Somerley on their second run together and moved up to three-star. They had some mixed results, but finished 14th at Blenheim CCI3* in the autumn.

Land Vision hit a purple patch in the autumn of 2010, winning an advanced at Highclere and the eight- and nine-year-old CIC3* at Blenheim, before taking second in the big CCI3* at Boekelo.

The following spring, after three prep runs including fifth in the Grantham Cup at Belton, Land Vision and Mark Todd won Badminton. It was one of the greatest Badminton stories of modern times, with this perennially popular rider scoring his fourth victory, more than 30 years after his first and just three years after making his comeback after eight years in retirement.

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Sadly, Land Vision was dogged by injury and never had a chance to build on that Badminton win. He had just one more run in 2011, missed 2012 and competed just a few times a year in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, always at open intermediate level. He was also placed in indoor cross-country classes in 2014, finishing second at the Stuttgart German Masters and fourth at the Sweden International Horse Show.

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