On the very cold evening of Monday 5th March in excess of 300 spectators gathered at the Hadlow College Equine Yard for an evening lecture demonstration by Mark Todd international event rider. He gained his MBE in 1984 followed by a CBE (1995) and then, in 2000, he was voted the ‘Event Rider of the 20th Century’ by the FEI. The event was very well organized and run by the BSc Equine Management students as part of their course. The air was filled with an excited hum, not to mention the smell of the burger van! All spectators piled into the indoor school and quickly took their seats including the 3 extra rows!
Mark entered the ring riding Percy (Ocean) an 8 year old Bay Thoroughbred, who he had bought at the end of last year and nicknamed ‘Perfect Percy’ he described him as ‘his new pet!’ They demonstrated a typical schooling routine, asking the horse to round, from his back up into his neck in walk, trot and canter.
mark-todd-hadlowFor the second demonstration we were lucky enough to watch ‘Land Vision’ in action, last year’s Badminton winner! Who unfortunately had been injured just after Badminton and been off work until the end of last year, he had been hacking but had only just started schooling. Using the third horse Alfiano Del Ferro, although initially spooked by the noise of the mic and the wind outside, Mark demonstrated lengthening and shortening of stride, then worked over some small jumps, always changing direction and keeping the horse short and round.
The final horse, a 10 year old German Thoroughbred was an experienced horse on his 3rd season of eventing, so Mark was able to demonstrate various jumping combinations, gradually changing the height and spread of the jumps. It was great to feel the tension mounting in the crowd as the jumps got higher and more technical.