Eventing legend Sir Mark Todd is heading home to New Zealand later this year as a Star Presenter at the equine expo Equitana Auckland.
Todd will be presenting an exclusive Eventing Masterclass and evening show on Thursday, along with several other education sessions and special events.
Todd is a legend of eventing, with a career spanning more than 40 years and innumerable accolades. A fixture at the highest level of his sport, the 63-year-old has won all there is to win in his career and left an indelible mark on the history of eventing. He was named by the FEI as the ‘Best Rider of the 20th Century’ and continues to target the top spot on podiums around the world.
He will be attending all four days of Equitana Auckland, from November 21 to 24.
“It is the first time I have been to Equitana anywhere in the world and for it to be in New Zealand is something quite special,” Todd said.
“There is always a lot to soak in at an event that offers so much – from masterclasses to buying whatever your heart desires and learning from some of the best in the world. I can’t wait.”
Equitana Auckland’s Kevin Hansen has known Todd for decades and says it is a real treat to have him coming home for the iconic event.
“Sir Mark is the most extraordinary athlete,” Hansen says. “I doubt his achievements will ever be met by another rider. We are extremely proud to have him come back to New Zealand for Equitana this year and can’t wait to share him with you all.”
US reining star Al Dunning is Equitana’s Star Presenter for a Horsemanship Masterclass on November 24.
Dunning has earned the undisputed title as one of the world’s greatest horse trainers. He has more than 48 world and reserve champion titles individually and with his students, but he is also a talented coach, writer, trainer and mentor.
Dunning has been living and riding horses in Arizona since he was eight years old and has owned and operated Almosta Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona since 1970. He has received multiple honours over the years including American Quarter Horse Association’s Professional Horseman of the Year in 1997, the NCHA Zane Schulte Trainer of the Year award in 2003 and Western Horseman Magazine’s Horseman of the Year in 2017.
Dunning trained and showed the great buckskin performance horse Expensive Hobby, who was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2007, was the recipient of the 1996 AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year and was chosen as the 2003 NCHA Zane Schulte Trainer of the Year.
Equitana’s Dressage Star Presenter is internationally celebrated dressage and horsemanship trainer Tristan Tucker.
Tucker developed the TRT Method, an online training programme well regarded by some of the world’s best riders.
“Every horse can be confident and relaxed. Your horse just needs to know how to learn,” Tucker says. This is the ethos of all his work with horses.
The TRT method was designed by Tristan to mentally train horses to cope in the human environment. He specialises in wholesome training for riders and their performance horses, helping them to solve problems from tension in training and competition, through to horse shyness and trailer loading, plus everything in between.
Tucker is also a highly regarded Grand Prix dressage rider. He shot to fame in 2017 for his outstanding performance at the Olympia Horse Show in London. Tucker was born in Britain but moved to Australia as a child.
It was while on a trip to Europe in 1999 that his world changed. It was there he met his long-time trainer Morten Thomsen who inspired him into a new way of training horses. Thomsen introduced him to classical ways of training and riding as well as the “mysterious way” of circus trainers.
Tucker returned to Australia and hones his skills working with the country’s best horsemanship gurus and “began to really understand the horse”. With a growing business at his Melbourne stable he was often starting up to 100 horses from all sorts of disciplines and breeds.
In 2009 he returned to Europe to work for Tucker, build his knowledge and focus on his goal of being a top dressage rider. Word had quickly spread about his abilities and he was in demand for training horses, teaching and clinics across Europe and the United States.
In 2011 he started travelling to the Netherlands for training on Gronskovlunds Marquis, his Grand Prix horse, and a year later he moved there permanently but still rides under the Australian flag.
From his Langenboom (Noord-Brabant) base he trains horses right through to Grand Prix level as well as teaching students who are competing at international level while also giving TRT demonstrations and clinics.