A former Olympic champion has been temporarily suspended by the British Horseracing Authority after a video appeared to show him hitting a horse with a branch.

Sir Mark Todd, 65, won Olympic gold in eventing at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

The New Zealander was given a knighthood for his equestrian achievements in 2013.

Since retiring from eventing, Sir Mark Todd became a racehorse trainer in 2019, training at a stables in Wiltshire.

The BHA launched an investigation into Todd after a video on social media appeared to show him strike a horse multiple times with a branch while teaching a cross-country session.

Todd has apologised for his actions.

In a statement he said: "I wholeheartedly apologise to the horse and all involved for my actions in this video clip.

"One of the main things I preach is about establishing a mutual respect between horse and rider and that patience and kindness is the best way to get results.

"I believe this is one of the main attributes along with a great empathy with animals that has enabled me to have a long and successful career in eventing.

"I am very disappointed in myself that I did not adhere to that in this case."

Salisbury Journal: (PA)(PA)

While the BHA’s investigation continues, Todd has been given an interim suspension, meaning he will be unable to race horses for the duration of the investigation.

A spokesperson for the BHA said earlier this week: "The footage seen this weekend of Sir Mark Todd hitting a horse with a branch has rightly caused anger and upset within the equestrian community and beyond.

"His behaviour, for which he has apologised, fell a long way short of the standards of care we expect of licensed individuals and that we know is provided to the overwhelming majority of horses in training in Britain every day.

"The BHA is looking into the incident."