Eventing legend Mark Todd has begun his new chapter as a racehorse trainer and a recent video by Sky Sports Racing has gone behind the scenes at the New Zealander’s impressive set-up at Badgerstown, on the edge of the Marlborough Downs in Wiltshire.
The first glimpse of his yard is in the tack room, which is adorned with eventing accolades and memorabilia, and one horse in particular stands out among the others.
“Charisma is the horse most people probably associate me with, he is the one who really put me on the map,” said Mark, who won two Olympic gold medals with the diminutive gelding.
Mark announced his second retirement from the sport in July this year, having taken an eight-year hiatus in 2000, following the Sydney Olympics, when he returned to his home country to train racehorses.
“I’ve always had a passion for racing and when I was small I wanted to be a jockey — a dream that didn’t last long,” he quipped gesturing to his 6ft 2in frame.
This time round, the 63-year-old has decided to remain in the UK to follow his training dream and will stay at the same base where he so successfully prepared his event horses.
He has already got off to a promising start when training He’s Eminent to second place in a Grade One in Australia.
During the video, we also get a sneak peek inside the stables and his sand gallops — which will be used to train the racehorses — alongside a variety of cross-country fences.
“Eminent did actually have a pop over the cross-country fences before his race — I do believe variety is good for horses,” added Mark. “I’m still experimenting with how to train the two-year-olds and what to do with them on these gallops. Horses are horses — as long as you look after them, feed them well and keep them happy, they will try for you.”
Mark continues: “Everything I’ve done in the past, I’ve done at the highest level, but it all comes down to horsepower. I know that it’s not going to happen overnight, but hopefully I can find a decent horse, who will take me to some nice places.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.