A viral video, HOYS qualifiers, and other things the horse world is talking about

Horse & Hound’s daily debrief, brought to you every weekday morning

  • 1. A viral video

    Footage of Sir Mark Todd hitting a horse with a branch during a cross-country training clinic that has gone viral on social media has given rise to a flood of passionate responses. Many have expressed their shock and disappointment over the actions shown by the legendary Olympian in the video, which is said to have been recorded during a clinic in 2020, and some have called for further action to be taken. Others have questioned why the rider who posted the video didn’t speak out at the time and what she was hoping to achieve by sharing the footage now. The rider said: “If you are the age I was and would confidently speak up against a famous top level athlete with no reservations without any support then I commend you because you are braver than I am”. Mark has issued an apology for his actions, saying: “One of the main things I preach is about establishing a mutual respect between horse and rider and that patience and kindness is the best way to get results… I am very disappointed in myself that I did not adhere to that in this case.” Others claiming to have been at the clinic have said that the brief video footage does not give a true picture of the training that took place that day and shouldn’t be judged in isolation.

    Read Mark’s apology in full

    2. HOYS removing qualifiers from Great Yorkshire

    HOYS tickets Anyone competing at Horse of the Year Show wants to take home a HOYS winners’ rug

    The showing world was excited to find out which shows would be hosting Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers, and has widely welcomed the addition of two new classes, but there has been some suprise at the decision not to award any qualifiers to the Great Yorkshire Show (GYS). According to HOYS, GYS has not been given qualifiers this year in part because it has introduced a rule that forbids riders not eligible for the class a pony is to compete in, from riding the pony anywhere on the showground. GYS says the rule was introduced on welfare grounds as “despite having the 20% rider weight rule in place since 2016, we were still seeing riders who were far too big for the animals, warming up in the vehicle parks and so on”. In response HOYS says while it “always holds equine welfare as our highest priority, we also have a duty of care to the safety of the children riding in our qualifiers.” Meanwhile GYS countered that “the wording for the classes states that the pony should be suitable for a child” and asks if a pony is not suitable for a jockey eligible to ride in the class to warm up, should it be competing at all.

    Read the full story

    3. A missing filly

    In brighter news, Olympic dressage rider Spencer Wilton has praised the power of social media after more than 1,600 people shared his post about his missing filly – who has since been found safe and well. Yearling Giselle Grande, known as Elle, was missing from her field at Spencer’s husband Darren’s parents’ yard in Somerset when the horses were checked early on Friday morning (11 February). Initially there was no trace of where she’d gone or what had happened, so they thought the worst, until she was found six fields away from where she was meant to be. Spencer told H&H: “Facebook gets an awful lot of negative publicity and there’s not always a lot of positive stuff that comes out of it, but I have to say I’m overwhelmed by the amount of shares. I’m really grateful to everyone that took the time to share the post. It could have been a much worse outcome than it was.”

    Find out more about the filly’s story

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...