March 19, 2019

Mark Todd wins Badminton Horse Trials to crown miracle comeback

Congratulations Mark Todd. Age and a novice horse were no barrier to a champion like you.

New Zealand equestrian legend Mark Todd has completed one of the great sporting comebacks to win the Badminton Horse Trials on Monday and put him back among the eventing medal favourites for the London Olympic’s.

The double Olympic champion, riding NZB Land Vision in the horse’s debut at four-star level produced a stunning clear round in the final showjumping to snatch victory from British rider Piggy French on Jakarta.

Mark Todd is now the Badminton’s oldest champion at 55 years old. An incredible 31 years after he won the event for the first time.

Todd took an eight-year break from eventing after the 2000 Sydney Olympics to concentrate on training racehorses.

By his own admission he said “I’d had enough, I had lost the motivation to do all the work, although I still enjoyed competing.”

He said that “after an eight-year break away from the sport, I got back into it and found I was really enjoying it.”

“It all ended up as a bit of a dare as to whether I could get a horse in the spring of 2008 and get to the Olympics of that year in Hong Kong, and I did it with Gandalf.”

About his win today Todd said “This, for me, is huge. To come back after a lay-off and to do it 31 years after my first Badminton win, it’s up there with the back-to-back Olympic golds in 1984 and 1988.”

“When I came back to the sport it was to see if I could get back to the top level. I am very fortunate with my sponsors, who have bought me this amazing horse.

After tabloid scandals and his marraige break-up it looked like Todd was in the twilight of a glittering career where all his best days were in the past. Now he has crowned his career in the world’s premier Horse Trial event outside of the olympics. Maybe, just maybe there is one more Everest for Todd to climb yet in London next year.