Two time Olympic gold medallist Mark Todd has had a setback in his campaign for a record number of Olympic Games following the withdrawal of his top horse NZB Land Vision, due to the recurrence of an old tendon injury.
The 2011 winner of the Badminton Horse Trials – known as Ben in the stable – will be stood down 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 highly rates the horse, which he bought from Oliver Townend.
“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.
The long term prognosis for Land Vision is good given his relatively youthful age of 11, and Todd remains available for selection for his 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.”
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. The pair finished 11th individually at the 2010 World Championships and contributed to a team bronze medal.
Grass Valley will now compete at the famous three star event at Saumur in France, while Campino will compete at Chatsworth and Major Milestone to Tattersalls in Ireland, before heading to Luhmuhlen in Germany. This 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. “With some very experienced riders, we’ve certainly still got the basis of a very strong team for London.”