The British Horseracing Authority has described Sir Mark Todd as falling “a long way short of the standards of care” expected from licensed individuals after a video emerged on social media of the trainer striking a horse with a branch.
Todd was a highly successful three-day eventer before taking out his training licence, winning two Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988 for New Zealand and earning a knighthood in 2013 for his equestrian achievements.
In the video Todd appears to be teaching a cross-country schooling session where one rider is struggling to get a horse into the water jump, with the trainer then brandishing a branch and striking the horse several times on the hindquarters.
Todd has apologised for his actions, but the BHA said it will examine the incident.
A spokesperson said: “The footage seen this weekend of Sir Mark Todd hitting a horse with a branch has rightly caused anger and upset within the equestrian community and beyond.
“His behaviour, for which he has apologised, fell a long way short of the standards of care we expect of licensed individuals and that we know is provided to the overwhelming majority of horses in training in Britain every day.
“The BHA is looking into the incident.”
Todd, whose most prominent horse is training is King Edward VII Stakes runner-up Tasman Bay, 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.”