An embarrassing video that has gone viral on social media in recent days has landed New Zealand equestrian icon Sir Mark Todd in serious trouble.
On Wednesday, the British Horse Racing Authority, the governing body of British horse racing, announced that it had suspended Todd's coaching license pending the case's resolution.
This means that no horse trained by him is allowed to start in a race – even internationally.
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Todd, who also trains racehorses after retiring from eventing in England, has agreed.
The 65-year-old Olympic champion from 1984 and 1988, honored by the British Queen in 2013 for his services to equestrian sport, asked for his behavior in the video that a student filmed during a course two years ago and only recently posted online had to apologize.
The video shows Todd plucking a twig from its leaves and repeatedly hitting the croup of a disobedient gray horse.
This refuses to jump into a water hazard that he has previously passed through several times.
Finally the horse jumps off.
Apparently, Todd lacked the patience to help the horse overcome its hydrophobia in a more gentle way.
The outrage on the net is great.
"One of the most important things I preach," Todd said in a statement, "is to build mutual respect between horse and rider, and that patience and kindness is the best way to get results." He emphasized that this conviction together with a "great empathy for animals" would have enabled him to achieve great success in sport.
"My heartfelt apologies to the horse and everyone involved," he wrote.
In fact, in his sporting career, which he only ended three years ago, Todd managed time and again to form a close symbiosis with horses who were absolutely willing to fight for him on the difficult cross-country courses.
The greater the damage for the "Rider of the 20th Century", a title that the International Equestrian Federation gave him.Keywords: