The eventing world was pretty rocked when Sir Mark Todd’s retirement was announced on the Nation’s Cup Podium at the Camphire International Horse Trials in Ireland last summer. As a little more time has now passed, perhaps we’ve all come slightly more to terms with the fact that we won’t be seeing the lanky Kiwi legend in the irons at events anymore, treating each and every spectator to a masterclass with his riding.
Not that we’re really okay with this fact, it’s just more of a begrudging acceptance at this point. Truly though, we are incredibly grateful that such a legend has graced our sport and we very much hope he that he thoroughly enjoys his next endeavor, Thoroughbred racing, to its absolute fullest.
We know what Sir Mark will be up to in the next chapter of his equestrian career, but what became of his string of event horses? In no particular order, here’s where they are now:
Let’s start by talking about NZB Campino, known as “Kinky” around the barn, who was Sir Mark’s mount at the 2012 London Olympics where they were members of the bronze medal-winning team for New Zealand. After the Olympics, which was essentially the horse’s first five-star, the Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I X Pink Dame, by Pinkus) went on to complete six more five-stars with Mark in the irons including a 4th place finish at Badminton 2018.
Kinky was retired on course at last year’s Badminton after “pulling himself up,” as Mark puts it, and after some follow-up work the decision was made to retire him from international competition. Kinky has been enjoying the pampered retired life ever since, but hadn’t enjoyed the fanfare of proper sendoff until Mark’s official retirement ceremony after Burghley where horse and rider enjoyed one last lap of honor together.
It was Leonidas II that Mark was riding in the Nation’s Cup at Camphire International Horse Trials, his last eventing competition, and it was fitting that his mount was a horse of such accomplishment and his last Olympic Games mount, placing 7th individually at Rio in 2016. But where does a horse who has competed in five Badminton Horse Trials plus an Olympic Games go next?
The yard of a World Silver Medalist seems fairly fitting. After a meet and greet at Mark’s yard and the blessing of owners Diane Brunsden and Peter Cattell, the Holsteiner gelding (Landos X Nairobi III, by Parco XX) made the move to Padraig McCarthy‘s stable in early August last year.
With Leonidas just getting back into the full swing of things on the competition front, Padraig has wasted no time in getting the 15-year-old gelding back out and about. They made their first competition appearance together at Millstreet International Horse Trials later that month, adding only time to their dressage score and finishing 6th in the CCI4*-S. We saw then again out and about at Boekelo in October, but they were sadly eliminated on cross country. Big plans for the horse are still up in the air, though Padraig has said he’d love to get the gelding qualified for a five-star this year.
Also owned by Diane Brunsden and Peter Cattell, one of Mark’s up-and-comers, a 7-year-old British-bred gelding (Chili Morning X Samphire, by Deanes San Ciro HIT) by the name of Cool Tide, will be also now be campaigned by Padraig McCarthy.
This is Cool Tide’s second season of British Eventing competition and has been ridden through the CCI3*-S level by Mark. Padraig also brought Cool Tide to Millstreet International for his first spin on him, competing in the CCI2*-S. Later on in the season they also popped around the Open Intermediate at Bicton Arena in October.
McClaren was Mark Todd’s mount for the 2018 World Equestrian Games at Tryon International Equestrian Center. The pair helped New Zealand finish 7th overall in the team standings, just edging out Team U.S.A. for a coveted ticket to Tokyo 2020. Last fall it was announced that the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Clarimo X Toni 1, by Landjunge) will be staying on Team New Zealand as owners David and Katherine Thomson have offered the ride to fellow world-class Kiwi eventer, Jonelle Price. Mark describes both the horse and his new rider as “super talented and feisty.”
“Mac” began his international career just two years ago under Mark. It’s a bit fitting that Jonelle will take the gelding’s reins since Mark had originally tried to sell him to her before changing his mind and keeping the horse for himself. Jonelle gets a twofer this time around though: supergroom Jess Wilson — who you may recognize from her blogs about caring for Egypt’s woking horses during her off-season vacation — has accompanied Mac to the Price’s yard.
The last time we last saw Kiltubrid Rhapsody out and about at an FEI event was at Burghley in 2018. Sir Mark and the stunning gray nailed a 26.4 in the first phase and for the second year in a row they would be the clubhouse leaders heading into cross country day. Most unfortunately, it would also become the second year in a row that Mark would fall on cross country after leading the dressage. Just two fences after the Leaf Pit, where the pair had made a heart-stopping save and practically defied physics to complete the direct route (go to 1:43:38 here if you need a reminder,) the pair parted company at a relatively innocuous fence. Neither horse nor rider were injured, but a collective heartbreak of eventing fans around the world could be felt.
“Raps” made three starts at British Eventing horse trials early last year, the most recent of which was in the Advanced/Intermediate class at the Rockingham International Horse Trials in May. Since then, we hadn’t heard much regarding the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cascaletto St Ghyvan Z X Kiltubrid Heather, by Lombardo) other than finding a sale ad for him after Mark’s retirement. It didn’t take too long to find him a new rider, and we’re tickled to report that Kiltubrid Rhapsody is now a resident of the United States. West Coast eventers will be in for a real treat, watching this eventing legend tackle the Area VI scene with his new jockey, young rider Kathryn Canario. They’ve already gotten one event under their belts as a new team, having completed Open Training at the Fresno County Horse Park H.T. this past November.
There’s one last Toddy horse to cover and you may not have heard of him since he’s more of an up-and-comer rather than an established campaigner. We think he’s worth mentioning, however, because — oh hey, he’s for sale! Billed as “Sir Mark Todd’s last remaining eventer” in his sale ad, he could be yours for a cool £80,000/$101,000. Cool Reign is a 8- or 9-year-old (depending on which database you’re looking at) Oldenburg gelding (Calrimo X Wegatta, by Wolfram) and a half-brother to McClaren by the same sire. “Caspar,” as he’s known around the barn, jumped from the BE100 level to CCI2*-L competition last year, his first year eventing.
Come on now, who else wants to bring a Sir Mar Todd trained horse stateside? Pretty please?