The six-time Olympian loses top mount NZB Land Vision, but hopes to impress New Zealand team selectors with backup horses
Mark Todd’s campaign for a seventh Olympic Games has received a setback with the withdrawal of his top horse. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has withdrawn NZB Land Vision from contention after the horse suffered a recurrence of an old tendon injury.
The 2011 winner of the Badminton Horse Trials will be rested from training and competition for at least three months to allow a complete recovery.
In accepting the veterinary advice Todd expressed his disappointment, especially as he rates Land Vision as one of his best: “He proved himself at Badminton last year as one of the best four-star horses in the world and I thought if I got him to the Olympics fit and sound, he would have had a good chance at winning a medal,” said Todd, who continued, “It is very disappointing for me, my sponsors New Zealand Bloodstock and the New Zealand team.”
The longterm prognosis for Land Vision is good given his relatively youthful age of 11, and Todd remains available for selection for a record seventh Olympic Games with other horses in his stable, including the 10-year-old NZB Campino.
“All is far from lost,” he said. “Campino is very good in all phases too and while he is not quite as experienced as Land Vision he can also be a competitive (podium) prospect.”
Diana Dobson of Equestrian New Zealand commented, “The cancellation of Badminton this weekend has thrown a real ‘spanner in the works’ for a number of international riders and teams.”
It hasn’t helped Todd either, who still needs to achieve the Olympic qualification standard for another star of his stable, NZB Grass Valley, on whom he finished 11th individually at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and contributed to a team bronze medal.
Grass Valley will next head to the famous three-star event at Saumur in France while Campino will compete at Chatsworth (UK) this month and another Todd horse, Major Milestone, travels to Tattersalls in Ireland.
At this point, Luhmuhlen in Germany is the only top level (four-star) competition on the eventing calendar before the Olympics begins on July 28.
Todd remains confident that the Kiwis have the horse power to do well at the Olympics and said assuredly, “With some very experienced riders, we’ve certainly still got the basis of a very strong team for London.”
Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance director Sarah Harris said that everyone in the team was disappointed at Land Vision’s withdrawal.
“Tendon injuries are not unusual for eventing horses and rest is the only option in this case,” said Harris “Mark remains eligible for selection for London and I fully expect to see him as part of the Kiwi team in July.”
© 2012 Fran Jurga and DiscoverHorses.com
Thanks to Diana Dobson and Equestrian Sports New Zealand for their assistance with this article.
Fran Jurga is a freelance writer and editor from Gloucester, Massachusetts. Her blogs include The Jurga Report for EQUUS Magazine and War Horse News on the 2011 Steven Spielberg film. Fran is the founder of Hoofcare and Lameness Journal and writes a specialist Hoof Blog. You can follow Fran on Facebook and Twitter for more news about the horse world. In 2008, Fran wrote the WorldRides blog for the Hong Kong equestrian events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Discover WEG blog for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010.