Rider Profile - Mark Todd
 By Valkyrie   •   1st Mar 2010   •   12,861 views   •   4 comments
Mark James ToddWe breed 'em versatile down in New Zealand. Germany may have their Grand Prix Dressagers, Britain may have their die-hard cross-countriers, and America may have their high-flying show jumpers.

But we've got all three.

Mark James Todd (aka. Toddy) is a perfect example of typical Kiwi muli-tasking ability. Born on the 1st of March, 1956, he has led a remarkable life laying waste to some of the best eventing fields the world has to offer. He was voted Rider of the 20th Century by the FEI.

Toddy was the usual horse-crazy child, cavorting around Pony Club and breaking things whenever he fell off. He wanted to become a jockey, but he sky-rocketed to 6'2" and had to turn to show jumping instead.

Then, in 1978, he became part of New Zealand's first 3DE team to contest a world championship, at Lexington, Kentucky. Although his horse Tophunter broke down on the cross-country stage, Toddy had been intoxicated by the eventing atmopshere. He soon moved to England where he mucked out stalls to gain rides. On his first attempt, riding Southern Comfort, he won the Badminton Horse Trials.

Toddy has inspired plenty of other famous New Zealand riders such as his friend Andrew Nicholson and others like Blyth Tait, Tinks Pottinger, Vaughn Jefferis and Vicky Latta, who are all household names now.

Toddy's most famous horse has to be the ornery 15.2hh ugly bay gelding Charisma. The pair won back-to-back individual golds at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and again at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where they also won team bronze. Charisma was retired after the Seoul Olympics, but famously made an appearance as flag-bearer at the 1990 Commenwealth Games held in Auckland, New Zealand. He was put down at age 30 after breaking his shoulder in the paddock.

Mark Todd retired from competition in 2000 to breed racehorses and start his own line of tack. He has many books and videos about his experiences.

In 2008, seemingly on a whim, he purchased the grey gelding Gandalf and, in just eight short months, qualified for the Beijing Olympics. They finished 17th overall, and the team finished fifth. Not bad for a 52-year-old bloke and an inexperienced horse!

Toddy is now based in England with a string of eight horses (including Gandalf). He may be nearing retirement age, but this tough-as-nails Kiwi isn't ready to hang up his spurs yet.
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I love watching Mark Todd ride, i think he is just amazing. My mum loves him too
  Mar 1, 2010  •  8,366 views
Yeah, he is great!...and he is from NZ! Yay! =D's sad that his best horse Gandalf died though...=(
  Mar 1, 2010  •  8,398 views
great article, but why was charisma ugly?? bays a beautiful colour!! anyway, great topic, and nice work at explaining it!!
  Mar 2, 2010  •  8,372 views
Little Bitty Farm  
Great article!
  May 9, 2011  •  8,405 views
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