Competitors at a Lincolnshire local dressage show had a surprise at the weekend when Mark Todd turned up with his Olympic prospect Gandalf.
Trudy Clark, who runs twice-monthly affiliated competitions at Elms Farm Equestrian Centre in Lincolnshire received a call on Saturday from someone wanting to put in a late entry for Sunday’s competition.
And she could barely believe it when she realised it was the New Zealand eventing Gold medallist, who has come out of eight years retirement to contend the Olympic Games in Hong Kong.
“He came and did the medium hors concours and an advanced medium, although we were not running a class at that level as we do not have a high enough listed judge,” said Trudy.
“We were all a bit open-mouthed and very excited to see how he would get on.”
Judge Cherry Elvin scored Mark with 66.36 in the medium test and 66.47 in the advanced medium.
Then Toddy posed for pictures and signed autographs for the fans lucky enough to see their hero at such a low-key event.
H&H photographer Julia Shearwood was there to snap the local riders’ tests and said it was a fabulous surprise to capture the great man on film.
“He seemed very relaxed and laid back even though it was throwing it down with rain,” she said.