Double Olympic eventing champion Mark Todd has stepped down as patron of World Horse Welfare after a video circulated of him hitting a horse with a tree department. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) says it’s “looking into” the footage.
Last week a rider posted a clip on TikTok underneath the title chloet.eventing, which is alleged to have been recorded throughout a clinic in 2020. She later posted an extended video on Instagram. The footage confirmed the horse refusing to leap a step down into water and Mark Todd hitting it a number of instances with a department. He additionally gave verbal encouragement to the horse, and directions to the rider.
An extended video shared on YouTube reveals the horse twice trotting into the water down a slope and out up a small step, then hesitating earlier than leaping off the small step into the water as Mark provides instruction and waves the department behind the horse. It then reveals the horse leaping off the small step extra confidently, earlier than refusing to leap off the bigger step.
A spokesman for World Horse Welfare described the remedy of the horse as “disturbing and unacceptable”, and added that to Mark’s “credit” when the video got here to his consideration, he contacted the charity and voluntarily stepped down from his position as a World Horse Welfare patron.
“There is no place in the horse-human partnership for such use of force. Mark agrees that his behaviour was wrong and we welcome his apology. Mark is a consummate horseman, who cares deeply for horses and their welfare but, in this case, either through losing his patience or acting out of frustration, he has badly let himself down,” mentioned the spokesman.
“We all need to take heed from this episode. If equestrian sport, which we actively support, is to continue to maintain the acceptance of the public – its social licence – there cannot be any tolerance for unacceptable practices, no matter how experienced the rider or trainer.”
Mark, who received six Olympic medals, introduced his retirement from eventing for the second time in 2019 and he now focuses on racehorse coaching. A BHA spokesman mentioned the footage had “rightly caused anger and upset” inside the equestrian neighborhood and past, and the BHA was “looking into the incident”.
“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,” he mentioned.
An RSPCA spokesman instructed H&H the charity was “aware” of the incident however has been given info that means it occurred out of the country (Scotland).
Mike Flynn, Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, instructed H&H the way through which the horse was handled is “wholly inappropriate”.
He added: “In Scotland, animal welfare cases are time barred. This means any evidence must be less than six months old at the time it is submitted to the procurator fiscal. This video is older than that and therefore we do not have grounds to take action.”
A British Eventing spokesman mentioned the organisation is “aware” of the footage.
“We are disappointed at the content and would like to stress that we view equine welfare as paramount to everything we do and that we expect our members, along with the wider equestrian community, to uphold the same values,” he mentioned.
British Horse Society director of welfare Gemma Stanford mentioned horse welfare ought to all the time be “paramount”.
“Riders at this level have an increased responsibility as they are role models and should also be setting an example for the next generation coming through our sport,” she mentioned. “The behaviour displayed by Mark Todd was completely unacceptable and should be thoroughly investigated.”
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