Sir Mark Todd has apologised after a video emerged on social media of him striking a horse with a branch.
The trainer was a highly successful three-day eventer prior to taking out his 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, 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.”
When approached for comment, the British Horseracing Authority said: “The BHA is aware of the reports and video and is looking into it.”