Mark Todd remembered. . .

  • Eddy Stibbe:

    “I shall never forget when I met Mark, at a cocktail party during the World Championships in 1978. Suddenly, in walks this very tall, skinny young man with a stuffed Kiwi on his shoulder. Not many then realised this lad would dominate eventing for 20 years.”In 1981 we bought Jocasta from him, but what I remember most about that occasion was Toddy’s hair. He must have been very drunk at the hairdresser’s; he had dyed it, and it just looked, let’s say, different!”Another memory was Stockholm 1988. He was well in the lead going into the show jumping, and Charisma had about five fences down. Debbie, who was working for Toddy, could not stop crying. But Toddy had bigger plans for Charisma…”

    Ginny Elliot:

    “One of the things I have always found amazing about Toddy is how he can party so hard in the evening and then ride so well next day. Perhaps that is his secret, perhaps that’s why he is good; it’s all the partying keeping him relaxed!”

    Lucinda Green:

    “One thing that stands out is Todd’s openness. He had the most horrible fall at the Elephant Trap at Badminton on Jocasta. It was a real hands east and west somersault job. A long time after that he admitted that it had taken him nearly four years to fully get his confidence back. For someone of his brilliance to come out with something like that is amazing.”

    Lizzie Purbrick:

    “This story is one about which Todd keeps quite quiet.At Luhmhlen about 10 years ago, Carolyn was doing her first three-star, which she would have won but for her husband’s complete incompetence. He was dubbed “the Groom From Hell”.”In the 10-minute box, with plenty of helpers already to hand, Todd was given responsibility for watching the time.”Toddy rather lost track, and even when the German timekeeper insisted that the clock had started, Todd was sure there was plenty of time left. Eventually light dawned and Carolyn was legged up in a panic. She started 38sec late and did a fantastic round, but couldn¨t quite make up the elapsed start. She went into Sunday in third place, but without the time-faults would have been in the lead with two fences in hand! “A few years later, I travelled to Pau with Todd, and one day, our party had nothing to do, so we went to Lourdes. We were, sorry to say, a little irreverent, and from then on all suffered disasters.”Mark¨s horse slipped over in the stable, got a huge haematoma and couldn¨t start, while Erica Jewitt got hopelessly lost on phase A and was nearly eliminated for exceeding the time limit.”I had a crunching fall at the first. I nearly broke my neck and was in a cast for the rest of the week, and Anna lost her dog, all because of our irreverence at Lourdes.”

    Blyth Tait:

    “People are always saying is, “doesn’t he have such magic hands!’ Once at Chantilly, we decided to get something to eat and were trying not to draw too much attention to ourselves as the ground jury was at the other end of the tent. A dog came up and was begging for scraps. Todd slapped it and it bolted straight out of the tent, squealing like nothing on earth. I saw with my very own eyes those “magic hands” in action!”

    Clissy Bleekman:

    “I met Mark in 1978, and remember most his weird clothes; the Slade stacked heels, leather jacket and tight trousers he wore to Lady Clinton’s party at Bicton. We were a bit conentional in Devon then.”Part of his charm is that he always has time for someone who wants to talk to him, even if his mates are waiting. Mark has always been a man to make friends, not enemies, and be late!”I remember him falling off his truckers’ clogs on the stairs at the customs post at Aachen. And once he was sent away from the truck at Dover customs as there were too many people in a “freight” vehicle; ‘Racial discrimination,’ he cried as he strode off. ‘I shall report you!’ (To get the full effect, imagine John Cleese).”I remember him falling (plus horse) through a bridge at Boekelo 50m after the start when it subsided. He came up with a laugh and restarted later, of course, to great success.”

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