Astounding news from New Zealand today! The winningest rider in Olympic eventing history is trying to make a comeback in the sport! New Zealander Mark Todd, 51, has been training racehorses in New Zealand for the past few years, but he has a sporty horse he likes. Todd is competing the lithe 10-year-old grey Gandalf at the local event level at home, in hopes of making the team to compete this summer at the Olympic three-day-event in Hong Kong.
Todd has a most unusual sponsor behind him, New Zealand Bloodstock, which is the Thoroughbred breeding interest. That’s amazing cross-sport support; only a horsey country like New Zealand could have a fairy tale like that to tell!
Todd may have a chance: The 2007 FEI Regional Olympic Dressage Qualification Event, which was scheduled to take place in October in conjunction with the 2007 Australian Dressage Championships at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC), was among the hundreds of equestrian events cancelled since August as a result of the equine influenza outbreak in Australia. While the disease did not affect New Zealand, the regional qualifying event means that some teams for Hong Kong have changed their team selection processes or dates.
Mark Todd is widely credited with building popularity for the sport of eventing, which he dominated on a global level for the last 20 years of the 20th century. Since retiring, he has been training Thoroughbred race horses.