Mark Todd steps down as patron of horse charity and BHA opens probe after video of him whipping horse with branch

SIR MARK TODD has stepped down from his role with a horse welfare charity after a video emerged of the trainer striking one animal ten times with a branch.

The British Horseracing Authority have launched an investigation into the 'disturbing' clip of the horse being struck and the RSPCA are 'aware' of the horrific footage.

Todd, a double Olympic champion in eventing, was shown whipping a horse with a tree branch as it hesitated entering a pool of water.

The footage, believed to be two years old, went viral over the weekend and was met with universal criticism.

World Horse Welfare, a worldwide charity dedicated to stamping out the 'suffering' of poorly treated horses, released a statement on Monday confirming the end of Todd's time with them.

The statement read: "The treatment of the horse in this video is disturbing and unacceptable.

"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.

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"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.

"To his credit, when the video came to Mark’s attention he contacted us and voluntarily stepped down as one of our patrons."

The footage of New Zealander Todd, 65, comes almost a year after a photo emerged of Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse.


Elliott was banned for six months and racing officials in Britain are now looking into Todd's video, although it is as yet unclear if any ban will be forthcoming.

A BHA spokesman said: "The footage seen this weekend of Sir Mark Todd hitting a horse with a branch has rightly caused anger and upset within the equestrian community and beyond.

"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. The BHA is looking into the incident."

Meanwhile, the RSPCA, who recently removed two cats belonging to West Ham star Kurt Zouma after he was filmed kicking and slapping one, have confirmed they are also looking into the footage of Todd.


A tweet from their official account read: "We are aware of this upsetting video."

Todd, who had 13 winners from 80 runners last year, has apologised for his actions.

He said: "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.

"I am very disappointed in myself that I did not adhere to that in this case."

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