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9 Things You Didn’t Know About Sir Mark Todd

Sir Mark Todd is a true icon and one of the most famous horse riders ever. Being one of New Zealand’s greatest Olympians and finest equestrians, he has made a lasting impact in the horse industry.

Sir Mark Todd began riding Pony Club as a kid before becoming a pioneer of three-day eventing in New Zealand. He is famous for winning gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics in Individual Eventing. In addition, he has won gold medals at the 1990 and 1998 World Equestrian Games.

After originally retiring in 2000, he made a comeback in 2008 to the eventing scene. Sir Mark then went on to officially retire from eventing at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on September 8, 2019.

His incredible career as an equestrian earned him the prestigious honor of Rider of the 20th century by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. He is also a member of the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

Overview of Sir Mark Todd’s stats:

Height: 1.9 m
Nationality:New Zealand
Born:1 March 1956 (age 65)
Net Worth:$6 Million - $9 Million

Here are 9 interesting facts about Sir Mark Todd.

1. Mark Todd is Tied for Winning the Most Olympic Medals by New Zealander

Todd has won a remarkable five Olympic medals for New Zealand, tying him with canoeists Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald. His five medals include two gold medals and three bronze medals. His two gold medals were won in Individual Eventing and his three bronze medals were won in Team Eventing. 

2. Mark Todd is the First New Zealander to Compete at Seven Olympic Games

During his career, Todd competed at seven Olympic Games, becoming the first New Zealander to do so. He matched the Olympic record for the longest gap between the first and last Olympic medals, coming in at a 28-year span. Todd rode at the 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

3. Mark Todd is the Oldest Winner of the Badminton Horse Trials

Todd has won at the Badminton Horse Trials an impressive four times. On April 25, 2011, Todd became the oldest winner of this prestigious event at 55 years old on NZB Landvision.

In 1980, he won his first-ever Badminton aboard his horse Southern Comfort. At the time, he was just 24 years old and a rising star in eventing. He won the Badminton Horse Trials a total of four times, 1980, 1994, 1996, and 2011.

4. Mark Competed in Show Jumping in the Olympics

Though he is most famous for being an eventer, he also went on to compete in show jumping at the Olympics. In addition to competing in eventing, he also competed in show jumping as well at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

In 1992, he had the honor of being the flag bearer for New Zealand. Though he didn’t medal in show jumping at either games, it was still an incredible feat to compete in both eventing and showjumping.

Mark Todd riding and jumping on a horse
By Henry Bucklow/Lazy Photography

5. Mark Todd Catch Rode a Horse at the 1994 Badminton Horse Trials and Won

There is no doubt about it that Todd has top-notch horsemanship skills. His skills particularly shined through at Badminton in 1994, when he catch rode a horse to victory.

Just the week before the 1994 Badminton Horse Trials, Lynne Bevan broke her collarbone. Bevan was set to compete on her own horse, Horton Point, who she had owned since he was a foal. Todd stepped up to show Horton Point in the place in Bevan.

With only two hours of practice on Horton Point, Todd went on to win the Badminton Horse Trials for owner Bevan. He was drawn first to go in the dressage and was ranked second after this phase. The duo went on to jump double clear, sealing the victory. Horton Point remains the oldest horse to win the title at 16.

Read about this incredible event and more about Mark’s life in his biography you can find here on Amazon.

6. Mark Todd Rode Part of the Cross-Country Phase at Badminton Horse Trials in 1995 With Only One Stirrup

Every equestrian knows how challenging it can be to ride without stirrups. When riding in the 1995 Badminton Horse Trials, one of Todd’s stirrup leathers broke during the cross-country phase.

Despite this disadvantage, Todd went on to continue the rest of the course with just one stirrup. He was riding Bertie Blunt at the time. Though the pair didn’t win this year, they went on to win the 1996 Badminton Horse Trials together.

7. In 2013, Mark Todd Became a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit

In 2013, Todd was given the honor of being appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. He was given the title for his services to equestrian sport. Todd was knighted by Prince Charles at the beautiful Buckingham Palace.

8. Mark Has His Own Equestrian Clothing Brand

In addition to being a successful horse rider and trainer, Mark Todd has a popular equestrian clothing brand. His brand sells everything from everyday yard wear, to top-of-the-range equestrian performance clothing.

9. Mark is Now Working as a Race Horse Trainer

After an extraordinarily successful career in eventing, Todd has now shifted to racehorses. The Olympic gold medalist now resides in Britain, training at Badgerstown, in Foxhill.

Originally, Todd had a dream to become a jockey, but at 6’2”, he was too tall. Now, however, he gets to live out a dream in the racehorse industry as a trainer. Though he only recently began, his skills are already shining through.

Todd’s success continues on, as he won his first race as a trainer in 2020. Jockey Jack Mitchell rode Petit Bay under the direction of Todd to a victory at the Leicester Races. His winning ways still continue.

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