Trainer Todd loses license for hitting horse

LONDON — Mark Todd, a two-time Olympic champion in equestrian and now a notable racehorse trainer, has temporarily lost his training license pending an investigation into a video showing him striking a horse with a branch.

The British Horseracing Authority imposed the interim suspension on the 65-year-old New Zealander on Wednesday, saying it prevents him from racing horses in Britain or internationally.

In a video posted on social media, Todd is seen repeatedly striking a horse that was refusing to jump into water during a training clinic in 2020.

Todd has accepted the suspension, the BHA said, having already admitted to being the individual in the footage and apologized.

“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,” Todd said in his own statement. “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.”

Todd is one of New Zealand’s most famous Olympians. He competed in seven Summer Games from 1984-2016, winning gold medals in eventing in 1984 and ’88 as well as three bronze medals.

He was given a knighthood in New Zealand’s New Year’s Honors in 2013 and has since become a racehorse trainer.

Todd has stepped down from his role as a patron for World Horse Welfare because of the incident, which comes a week after Premier League footballer Kurt Zouma was fined and lost a sponsorship deal with Adidas for animal abuse. Zouma was filmed kicking and slapping his cat.