Edward Gal is L’Anee Hippique Dressage Rider of Year

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Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal setting new world Grand Prix Freestyle score at the European Championships. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal setting new world Grand Prix Freestyle score at the European Championships. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Edward Gal of The Netherlands beat out Steffen Peters of the United States as L’Année Hippique Rider of the Year that recognizes notable achievements and also rewards consistency through the season.

The citation:

“Until mid-summer, the favorite for the 2009 Leading Rider prize was undoubtedly World Cup winner and Aachen champion Steffen Peters who had an outstanding 12 months with the 11-year-old bay gelding Ravel. There were certainly landmarks. Not only was Peters the first U.S. citizen in 23 years of the indoor championship to win the Cup crown outright, but also the first American since 1960 to claim the esteemed Aachen championship.

“But just a few weeks before Aachen, the dressage cognoscenti were talking about a new combination — a horse so impressive observers were finding it difficult, nigh impossible to find appropriate language to describe him. At Rotterdam, in his first international Grand Prix, Kees and Tosca Visser’s nine-year-old stallion, Moorlands Totilas, scored a remarkable 79.149 per cent under the expert guidance of Edward Gal. Significantly, it was more than six percentage points higher than the result achieved by Olympic champions Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero. On July 26th at Hickstead, Gal set a new world record for the Kur of 89.40 per cent on the black son of Gribaldi, eclipsing the old record set by van Grunsven by nearly two percent. But that was just child’s play because a month later, at the European championships, as one 10 after another lit up the scoreboard, Gal and Totilas made the record books redundant, crossing the 80 per cent barrier in Grand Prix (84.05 per cent) and establishing the new frontier of 90 per cent in the freestyle.

“Talk about the WOW factor! This engaging couple is the best thing to hit dressage EVER. The well spoken, personable Gal is a credit to his profession and Totilas, well, he’s just as sociable, photogenic and relaxed in the spotlight as his rider. All in the sport hope that is where they can thrive and remain for a long time to come.”