Mark Todd won the CCI** at the Subaru Houghton International Horse Trials, his first British three-day event since his comeback last year.
“Although it’s only a two-star, it’s nice to know I haven’t lost my competitive edge,” he said.
The New Zealander rode 17.2hh nine-year-old Walk The Line, who belongs to Belgium’s Bruno Goyens De Heusch, with whom Mark is based.
“I was impressed with how well he jumped today and he’s very easy to ride,” said Mark.
Walk The Line gave Mark two scary moments — one on the cross-country when he jinked badly left approaching the water, and one in the show jumping when he spotted something beyond the arena. Mark had to throw everything at him to clear the planks, but the old Toddy skill shone through as he held on for victory.
The top four in this CCI** remained unchanged throughout the competition, with only the leader, who was three seconds over the cross-country optimum time, adding anything to his dressage score.
Chris King was second, just 0.1 of a penalty behind Mark, on Jane James’s 11-year-old Rudolf III, a new ride for him this year.
William Fox-Pitt kept up his excellent Houghton record with third on the French-bred eight-year-old Neuf Des Coeurs, second in the CCI* here last year.
Read H&H’s full report from Houghton International in this Thursday’s magazine, on sale 28 May, ’09