On Saturday night, the 2011 Badminton winner NZB Land Vision was put down. His victory was one of the great Badminton stories of our time, the triumph of an extraordinarily talented young horse, piloted by the greatest rider eventing has ever known. We look back at Mark Todd and NZB Land Vision’s Badminton story.
“He got a little bit uptight and against the hand, but he’s such a good-looking, elegant horse that he shows himself off. There’s another five marks improvement in him,” says Mark.
Ruth Edge leads the field at this stage, scoring 33.3 on Two Thyme, but ground jury president Anne-Mette Binder actually has Mark in first place.
“He’s a relatively young inexperienced horse and he did feel a bit green and got tired towards the end, but he was very genuine — he could easily have stopped at the Quarry,” says Mark, after the horse climbed over the log at the bottom of the slope.
The day was marked by some confusion over Marina Kohncke’s time-faults as she was held on course and there were issues with calculating her held time, so Mark only found out he was in pole position at the press conference
This is the 12th year in a row that the overnight leader has won Badminton.
“Two years ago, he would have had two fences down. Today he managed to stay focused; he’s a really good jumper and one of the best horses I’ve ridden,” says Mark.
Mark’s other Badminton wins were in 1980 (Southern Comfort), 1994 (Horton Point) and 1996 (Bertie Blunt).
“I always felt this competition this year was mine,” he says. “Winning is incredibly special, right up there with back-to-back gold medals. It comes down to horse power and I reckon I’ve got one of the best in the world.”