I've just finished reading Mark Todd's Autobiography 'Second Chance'. I haven't read the first one (So Far, So Good) so didn't know what to expect but several people had said how good it was. I have always been a big fan of him and his riding, he always seems to have really fitted in to the British Eventing scene and always seemed almost like he was a Brit. He did almost run me over on his bike once at Badminton but it may well have been my fault!
The book takes us from his early life all the way until just before the 2012 Olympics. I found it fascinating to read about all the antics he got up to with his team mates and the British team, there certainly seemed to be a lot of parties and alcohol involved! I would have perhaps liked to read more about the day to day things as well as the events but that may be just me being nosy. We all know from our own experience how much hard work we put in with our horses, so to get horses to that level must take an absolutely enormous effort. I felt Mark glossed over the work he so obviously must have put in (or perhaps he was being modest).
Nevertheless, I did enjoy reading about the events and the horses which he has owned over the years and discovering really what a close knit and friendly group the eventers are. Reading about the day his stirrup leather broke and he still managed to get around the Badminton cross-country course in 1995 was amazing. Of course his thoughts on the awful accidents which resulted in 5 deaths in 1999 were interesting to read. I felt he talked about it with sensitivity but realism too. It has always been a dangerous sport but it was good to read that Britain was doing so much work for rider safety. The safety features we now see, such as frangible pins, are as a result of the research.
There are some really great photographs too which I always enjoy!
It was fascinating learning about what he was doing during his 'break' and that it turned out to be nothing like the break he had planned. Training racehorses, successfully, was a new challenge and he definitely seems to be the sort of person who has to constantly test himself and set new goals.
I also found it really interesting discovering the changes he notices when he returned in 2008, but also what was the same. The same faces with some new ones and all the new safety features!
This is a book worth reading and I would recommend that you get hold of a copy, make a cup of tea, find a cosy corner and enjoy.
Until next time!