SIGN UP Sir Mark Todd stunned fans at a competition in Ireland yesterday (July 28th) when announcing his retirement from eventing.The double Olympic champion’s unexpected news was delivered from the winning team podium after the Nations Cup at Camphire International. The 63-year-old later took to Facebook to elaborate on his mid-season decision to concentrate on training racehorses, saying it had been a case of “when” rather than “if.”Once he had decided not to try for Tokyo 2020, he then felt a growing pressure to stop before the end of 2019. “Having been persuaded back into training racehorses earlier this year I also found I wanted to spend more time on that and was not as focussed on the eventing,” said Todd. “I could foresee keeping both lots of owners happy was going to be increasingly difficult and I did not have the same enthusiasm to go eventing.“It has also been fantastic to be part of Equestrian team NZ, and to win this weekend in the Nations Cup with long-time friends and team-mates Tim and Jonelle [Price] made it all the more special.“This is not a retirement but a change of direction, one in which [wife] Carolyn can feel more relaxed and I can follow a long held passion.”His post, and video of the public reaction to the moment Toddy’s retirement was announced by Kiwi chef d’equipe Graham Thom, can be seen here.The living legend first “retired” in 2000 after the Sydney Olympics, also to train racehorses back home in New Zealand, a successful run which included saddling the winner of the New Zealand Oaks in 2003, Bramble Rose.But by 2007 he realised he was missing eventing, and with encouragement from long-time owner Sir Peter Vela he tried for the the 2008 Olympic Games – where he finished 18th with Gandalf, only his eighth competitive start in as many years.In 2009 he returned to the UK full-time, initially renting facilities at Headley Stud in Berkshire. In 2012 he bought a property in the heart of Marlborough Downs racing country. Originally created by Stan Mellor, the first British National Hunt jockey to ride over 1,000 winners, the farm has been further development by the Todds and has 30 stables and an array of gallops.His “comeback” went on to last 12 years, with highlights including a fourth Badminton win with NZB Land Vision in 2011, a team bronze at London 2012 and being knighted in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth for his services to equestrianism. In 2014 re-married his wife Carolyn – they have two grown-up children together, James and Lauren.At the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Todd finished fourth in the team competition and seventh individually with Leonidas II. In the team show jumping round he uncharacteristically dropped four rails, which meant New Zealand team missed a possible gold. Todd later described this as one of the biggest lows of his career.Todd arrived on the international stage at the 1978 World Championships in Kentucky. He then headed to Britain in 1980 with Southern Comfort, with Andrew Nicholson as his groom, and won Badminton at his first attempt.He won Badminton again in 1994 on a chance ride, Horton Point, and in 1996 on Bertie Blunt. He has also won Burghley five times, in 1997 on Wilton Fair, in 1990 on Face the Music, in 1991 on Welton Greylag, in 1997 (which included the now defunct Open European title) on Broadcast News and 1999 with Diamond Hall Red.His back-to-back Olympic titles came in 1984 and 1988 with the pint-sized Charisma. Like his rider, Charisma (known as “Podge”) also enjoyed a second career down in New Zealand, as a “nanny” horse for Todd’s racing string.Earlier this year Todd took out his training licence with the British Horseracing Authority, and already has 10 horses in work for Vela. He took time off from eventing when Eminent, Vela’s top horse, campaigned in Group 1. Tags: Mark Todd, Sir Mark Todd, Email* Horse Sport Enews Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business.