Mark Todd’s Olympic winning event horse Charisma, died peacefully yesterday (7 January) on Mark’s farm in Cambridge, New Zealand.
Owned by Mark and Judy Hall, the 15.3hh brown gelding became a national hero after he won two consecutive gold medals in the three-day event at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Nicknamed “Podge” because of his love of food, the horse fondly described by his admiring rider as “a fat hairy pony” had a prolific international event record, winning the British Open Championships twice, as well two secondsat Badminton, a second at Burghley and several wins across Europe.
Officially retired at the age of 16, Charisma was flown back to New Zealand,where he completed a gold medal tour of the country, and then spent his retirement on Mark’s Rivermonte Farm in Cambridge.
In an interview with Horse & Hound magazine, Mark said Charisma: “He is so tiny, I wonder how he achieved so much”
Charisma loved to perform for a crowd and last month made several appearances as guest of honour at local events.
In a statement to the New Zealand website www.stuff.co.nz Marksaid:
“Charisma was a magic horse to have around and will be sadly missed – he loved people and had the most wonderful nature and personality.”
Tributes to Charisma are invited on Mark’s website www.marktodd.net