Mark Todd proved once more that he will always be a legend – by ending a dressage test at his last ever event without a bridle.
The New Zealander was caught on camera pulling a mock-despairing face at Camphire International Horse Trials, Ireland, last weekend (24 to 28 July), as his ride Leonidas II, bridle hanging around his neck, looked entirely unbothered by his bare-faced state.
The combination were on the New Zealand team for the Irish leg of the Nations Cup – which they won.
Mark, who announced his retirement on the Sunday, told H&H last Friday’s (26 July) incident was “a bit strange”.
“He had a fly mask/ear cover on, and as he finished his test, he put his head down, shook his head and the whole bridle came off,” he said. “He wasn’t too worried about it though.
“I wasn’t too sure whether to get off or what to do – I didn’t want to get myself eliminated!”
Mark was still in the arena at the time, but as he had finished his test, his grooms were able to run over and replace the bridle.
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“One of the judges said to me afterwards: ‘Thank you for the entertainment,” he said, adding that the moment caught on camera was when he turned to the judges, to say: “What do I do!”
Mark acknowledged that there may not be many top-level super-fit event horses who would be as unfazed as Leonidas was in such a situation.
“Bless him!” he said.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.
In the current edition of the magazine (1 August), don’t miss the full report from Camphire International Horse Trials, while the eventing world pays tribute to Mark Todd’s amazing top-level career.