Moorlands Totilas Gets Standing Ovation in Freestyle Victory at Stuttgart German Masters

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Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas at Stuttgart. © 2009 Dirk Caremans
Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas at Stuttgart. © 2009 Dirk Caremans

STUTTGART, Germany, Nov. 22–World record holding Moolands Totilas was ridden by Edward Gal to victory and a standing ovation in the Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night at the Stuttgart German Masters CDI5*.

Clearly embracing the nine-year-old Gribaldi son, the predominantly German crowd of 7,000 spectators began applauding the combination from The Netherlands when they entered the arena and clapped during the ride. Applause erupted from the crowd that stood at the end of the display of powerful, rhythmic  and expressive gaits by the black stallion.

Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal at Stuttgart. © 2009 Dirk Caremans
Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal at Stuttgart. © 2009 Dirk Caremans

The score of 87.800 per cent was almost a whopping 14 percentage points ahead of the next placegetter, Jeroen Devroe of Belgium on Apollo van het Vijverhof at 73.900 per cent. Germany’s Anabel Balkenhol and Rubins Royal placed third on 72.800 per cent.

Totilas’s score was about three percentage points below the world record the pair established at the European Championships three months ago. But the Swedish judge, Eric Lette, who had been on the ground jury at Windsor, scored them at 90 per cent Saturday night.

As dramatic as the competition ride was the victory gallop unleashed an emotional outpouring as Gal and Totilas performed a one-handed passage tour under spotlight with the crowd standing and clapping in unison to the hymn, “Hallelujah!”

An obviously happy Gal said he had not understood the criticism of Totilas after the European Championships in Windsor three months ago.

But Saturday night, he said: “Oh, the people were great.”

“Totilas was very much quieter than in the Grand Prix.” he said.

“The audience gave me unusual applause between the parts of the ride to give me the right kick.“

The prestige of Stuttgart is to the indoor circuit what Aachen is to outdoor competition.

Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal performing the Grand Prix Freestyle at Stuttgart. © 2009 Dirk Caremans
Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal performing the Grand Prix Freestyle at Stuttgart. © 2009 Dirk Caremans

In the Grand Prix on Friday, Totilas and Gal scored 79.021 per cent, almost 10 percentage points higher than the next placegetter, Anabel Balkenhol on the 12-year-old gelding Rubins Royal with 69.319 per cent. Jeroen Devroe on the nine-year-old Apollo van het Vijverhof was third on 68.596 per cent.

“Totilas stole the hearts of the German public,” Edward said of the “really fantastic ambiance” of the arena.

The double European Champions were uncertain what sort of reception to expect at Stuttgart, their first competition in Germany since appearing in the small tour at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen in July, 2008.

Stuttgart was also the first international competition for Totilas since the Europeans.

Within two days of the anouncement that Totilas would appear at Stuttgart, all tickets were sold out.

In the Grand Prix Special Sunday, Great Britain’s European Championships star Laura Bechtholsheimer on her 14-year-old gelding Mistral Hojris won with a score of  76.542 percent, following her Grand Prix result of 77.191 per cent.

Germany’s Christoph Koschel on Donnperignon moved up a place to finish second on 71.667 per cent. He had finished third in the Grand Prix with 71.319 per cent. Monica Theodorescu and Whisper were third with 70.792 per cent as against 71.957 per cent in the Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old Laura said that Mistral Hojris’s first appearance since their team silver and individual bronze medal performance at the European Championships was now at their “best.”

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