Surprise! Surprise! Moorlands Totilas Sweeps Munich Exquis World Dressage Masters

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Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal in the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal in the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

MUNICH, Germany, May 16–About 6,000 fans jammed into a stadium built for 1,500 spectators to watch Moorlands Totilas and his partner Edward Gal perform an emotion-laden dance for six minutes Sunday, sweeping the Exquis World Dressage Masters and picking up an extra €25,000 (US$31,000) inaugural rider award.

Low hanging. gloomy clouds and winter-type temperatures–48F/9C at the start of the freestyle–failed to dampen the joy and enthusiasm for the 10-year-old black stallion, many of whom stood up to 10-deep or sat on ground soaked by days of rain for almost an hour while other combinations rode their tests.

They were not disappointed. In their first outdoor competition since last August’s European Championships–their first World Cup title they collected two months ago is the final of an all indoor circuit–they scored 88.450 per cent. Although almost six percentage points off their world record, three of the five judges in the CDI5* awarded marks of 85 per cent for technical and Germany’s Katrina Wüst, president  of the ground jury, gave the pair a whopping 95 per cent for artistic.

Fellow Dutch combination Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival were stunning but had a few minor mistakes to place second with 83.100 per cent, while Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht FRH were third on 81.900 per cent.

Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival in the WDM Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival in the WDM Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Only six combinations entered the freestyle–there were nine in the Grand Prix Special Saturday–and their scores were: Austria’s Victoria Max-Theurer on Augustin 13 in fourth place with 79.250 per cent, Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke-Susmelj was fifth on 73.350 per cent and Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber on Wakana in sixth with 71.950 per cent.

This was in keeping with what WDM CEO Anthony Kies said is the goal of creating the lineup of competitions–to get the best horses and riders in the world, the stars, competing against each other. Munich fulfilled that requirement with the No. 1 and No. 2 combinations, Edward and Moorlands Totilas and Adelinde and Jerich Parzival, and multi Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth competing against each other.

The Pferd International show has undergone a major facelift at its home in the 1972 Olympic stadium with the dressage area of the competition arena and an identical warm-up ring nestled in a wooded natural amphitheater that creates an intimate atmosphere.

Spectators stand no more than just feet from the sides of the warm-up ring, and they did so by the hundreds this weekend whenever Totilas made an appearance from the nearby stable area where extra security was posted to keep away the many fans and the curious.

The atmosphere in the dressage area of the sprawling showgrounds where international jumping, reining, driving and vaulting goes on the at the same time, was what Edward Gal described as “exciting” and affected Totilas.

Not only did he not complain despite having to ride through spectators jamming the roadway separating the competition and warm-up arenas, but said that Totilas would have to get used to it because he hoped the crowds were not going away.

Totilas is owned by Moorland Stables and Moorland Investments that is also a founding sponsor along with Exquis in the World Dressage Masters series that in only its second year now is staging five competitions each with €100,000 (US$123,600) in prize money plus the €25,000 WDM Rider Award sponsored by Nürnburger Versicherungsgruppe that has its own final at Munich. The Rider Award is based on results at Cannes, Hickstead, Palm Beach and Munich.

Totilas chomping down on the €25,000 Rider Award check, probably the most expensive meal the horse has ever had. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Totilas chomping down on the €25,000 Rider Award check, probably the most expensive meal the horse has ever had. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The lineup of the world’s richest dressage competitions is in its second year and this year includes Palm Beach, Florida in February; Munich, Germany in May; Cannes, France, June 10-13 and Hickstead, England July 29-Aug. 1. The addition of the famous Falsterbo Horse Show in Sweden July 8-11 which also hosts a premier level Meydan FEI jumping Nations Cup jumping was announced at Munich.

In commenting on the success if Totilas at Munich, Edward said: “Six minutes of riding to get so much money is amazing.”

For the top ranked combination in the world, the money amounted to €25,000 for the Rider Award, €16,920 for first place in the Grand Prix Freestyle and €2,800 for first place in the Grand Prix, a total of €44,720 (US$55,270).

The closeness of the crowds to the arena made Totilas a “little excited,” but he needs to get used to it “because so many people love the horse and want to see him perform.”

He said that although semen is being collected from Totilas three times a week it has “not really made any difference” to his attitude.

Fans crowding around Totilas after the WDM Freestyle. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Fans crowding around Totilas after the WDM Freestyle. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

For complete results of the Grand Prix Freestyle click here: WDM GPFS