Totilas Back in Full Training Preparing for Florida

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Totilas ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath at the European Championships. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

FRANKFURT, Germany, Dec. 19–Totilas is back in training again after two weeks break with a minor injury and rider Matthias Alexander Rath said the main goal is bring him back to “top form” to compete in the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach at the end of January.

“Totilas had a little break but he’s completely fine again,”” Matthia told dressage-news.com at the Festhallen International Horse Show that is hosted by his family and has become a Christmas tradition in this most cosmopolitan of German cities.

Totilas will join Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin on her European Championship gold medal mount Valegro who won the World Cup Grand Prix at Olympia last week, Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, on his World Equestian Games medal horse Ravel and Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfven who helped her nation qualify a team for the London Olympics next year. Tinne, who will spend the winter circuit in Florida, is near the top of the highly competitive World Cup Western European League to qualify for the Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, next April.

Germany’s Anja Plönzke and Le Mont d’Or who participated in the CDI5* last year but were disqualified at the start of the Freestyle when the president of the ground jury determined the horse had blood on his mouth told dressage-news. com she has commited to return for the 2012 event.

The WDM Palm Beach will be held at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach for the second year. For the first two years, the event was held at the nearby Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Anky van Grunsven, nine-time World Cup champion and the winner of the first two events, had planned to compete with her Olympic gold medal horse Salinero but withdrew because of health issues with her husband, Sjef Janssen, the Dutch team coach.

One of the most anticipated return matchups will be between Totilas and Ravel. Totilas became the CDIO champion at Aachen. Germany, this year, narrowly beating Ravel in the Freestyle in a contest that the savvy German crowd made clear by loud cheers and boos should have gone to the American combination.

Matthias took over the ride on Totilas a year ago after the super stallion who will be 12 years old in 2012, was bought by a partnership of his stepmother, Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff, and Paul Schockhemohle.

The pair were German champions, swept the Aachen CDIO as Steffen and Ravel did in 2009, and led his team to the silver medal at the European Championships in Rotterdam.

Matthas explained that Totilas kicked himself either in his stall or while being ridden, but “we don’t really know. He was not clear in the trot so we gave him a rest for two weeks.

“Now he’s completely fine again.

“I will stay home over Christmas so we are in top form for Florida.”

“Totilas has already had his holiday,” he joked, “and I will take my holiday later in the year.”

The black stallion will leave Jan. 20 and after the flight and quarantine should be in Palm Beach on Jan. 23. Because of two important stallion show the week after the Florida competition, Totilas will return home immediately after WDM

“I have never been to Florida before,” he said. “It is a new experience for us. I’m looking forward to it.

“Everyone tells me how amazing the Florida shows are. It will not happen this coming year, but I think we would like to come for the Florida season.”

In addition to Totilas, he competes some younger horses including Dancing Elvis that he showed in the final of the presigious and highly competitive Nurnberger Burg-Pokal, a small tour competition for developing horses.