A DOUBLE Olympic gold medalist was on hand to open a Winchester college’s new equine facility, which has been named in his honour.

The studio at University Centre Sparsholt has been named after Sir Mark Todd, who joined staff and students at the official unveiling ceremony.

He was the first to test the new racing simulator, which has been named ‘Charisma’ after his award-winning competition horse.

The training tool has been designed to help students practice for professional shows.

Mark said: “It’s been wonderful to officially declare this purpose-built rider performance studio open for Sparsholt students to use as part of their extensive education and of course try the simulator out for myself !”

He added: “With rider analysis a growing area of interest for equine employment, it’s fantastic to see this new facility at UCS supporting students in developing their skills for advanced careers in this sector.”

Sparsholt principal Tim Jackson gave a speech before Mark unveiled two commemorative plaques to mark the occasion.

Equine lecturer, Lorna Cameron, said: “With the Rider Performance Studio we can take our research and analysis to a new level, enhancing our existing research collaborations with the University of Portsmouth and Hartpury University.

“The eventing simulator, with life-like ride capabilities and sophisticated sensors will enable our students to increase the commercial rider analysis work they do and their research output.

“The repeatability of the conditions our students can data collect in will result in research published in higher impact journals and with increased relevance to the wider equestrian industry.”