Sir Mark Todd has apologised for his actions in a video circulating on social media in which he hits a horse with a tree branch.
An event rider using the social media name chloet.eventing initially posted an edited clip on Tiktok and has since posted a longer video on Instagram.
The video, said to have been recorded during a training clinic in 2020, shows her horse refusing to jump a step down into water. Mark Todd hits the horse several times with a tree branch as well as verbally encouraging the horse and giving the rider instructions. At the end of the video the horse jumps into the water and the onlookers cheer.
Double Olympic eventing champion turned racehorse trainer Mark said in a statement: “I wholeheartedly apologise to the horse and all involved for my actions in this video clip.
“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 believe this is one of the main attributes along with a great empathy with animals that has enabled me to have a long and successful career in eventing.
“I am very disappointed in myself that I did not adhere to that in this case.”
chloet.eventing said in her Instagram post she had received “negativity and insults and abuse” since her initial Tiktok post, writing: “Since receiving backlash for the length of time since this clip was taken, for the sake of transparency, this was a clip from a training clinic in 2020.
“Whether I have rightly or wrongly addressed a situation on social media is not relevant to the fact that a top level athlete excessively and repeatedly hit my horse with a tree branch. I personally am not comfortable with how my horse was treated and at the time I was a 21 year old girl who was not brave enough to speak up about my concerns. Now 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.”
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.