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Sir Mark Todd Named in NZ New Year’s Honours
56 year old eventing legend Mark Todd has been made a knight in New Zealand's 2012 New Year's honours.
According to Sky News, Mark said that 'It's going to take a little while to get used to it. It's not going to change who I am or what I do'
A master in the dressage arena - Aachen 2012
Sir Mark, or Toddy as he is better known in eventing circles (maybe now Sir Toddy) is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated sports men and was voted rider of the 20th century by the FEI.
He first competed internationally as a member of the first ever New Zealand team to contest the World Championships at Lexington in 1978. Soon after he moved to England to pursue eventing and proceeded to win at his first ever Badminton Horse Trials in 1980.
Mark on his victory lap at Badminton 2011 Photo: Peter Nixon/FEI
He has gone on to win Badminton four-times (1980, 1994, 1996 and 2011) and he has won the Burghley Horse Trials five times (1987, 1990, 1991, 1997, 1999).
Flying Toddy at Saumur 2012 Photo: Libby Law
The tall Toddy had a great partnership with the diminutive horse Charisma with who he won two back to back Olympic gold medals in Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul 1988. He also won team bronze at the 1988 and more recently in London 2012 as well as individual bronze at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. In the 1992 Olympic Games, Mark competed in show jumping as well as eventing.
In 2000 he retired from the sport after the Sydney Olympics and during his retirement in New Zealand his focus turned to training and breeding racehorses with good success including winning the 2003 New Zealand Oaks and the Wellington Cup in 2007.
A top class showjumper as well as eventer
In 2008, aged 52, he made his return to the sport he loves after the purchase of the New Zealand sport horse Gandalph and has since been at the forefront of international eventing competition with a number of horses. He is now based at his own farm, Badgerstown, near Swindon, Wiltshire and his long time presence in the UK has helped to pave the way for many New Zealanders to base themselves there to compete, including Clarke Johnstone who is currently based at Mark’s new yard.
Congratulations Mark – or should we say, Sir Mark. The honour is well deserved
You can read more about Mark in his autobiography, So Far So Good (1998) and all about his return to the sport in his second autobiography, Second Chance (2012).
Here are some more of our favourite Sir Toddy moments from 2012 thanks to Libby Law Photography
Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI