Totilas & Matthias Alexander Rath No Longer on German Championship Squad

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Totilas ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath at Hagen, Germany, their only CDI of 2012. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WARENDORF, Germany, Dec. 5–Totilas and his rider, Matthias Alexander Rath, have been dropped from the German Championship squad, the German Olympic Equestria Committee (DOKR) announced Wednesday admitting that it had no idea about future plans for the 12-year-old black stallion.

The decision by the DOKR came after a year in which Matthias and Totilas failed to compete at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen and then the Olympic Games in London.

The pair competed in only one CDI in 2012, the CDI4* in Hagen, Germany, in April where they won both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle but also came under some criticism after the publicaton of photographs showing the horse with his head deep on his chest in the warmup arena at the show.

Totilas and Matthias also won the German championships, not a CDI, in June, 2012, the first phase of qualifying for the German team for London. The second stage was Aachen.

Matthias reported that he had mononucleosis, a viral infection, and was unable to compete at Aachen. The German selectors went to the stables at the Shafhof in Frankfurt and confirmed that Matthias was not riding the horse.

However, in 2011, Matthias and Totilas were members of Germany’s silver medal European Championship squad in Rotterdam.

Matthias reported that he is no longer being trained on Totilas by his father, Klaus Martin Rath, but by Sjef Janssen, who had been the Dutch national coach until the end of this year, including the period when Totilas was trained and ridden by Edward Gal of the Netherlands. The pair became a supertsar combination that dominated the 2009 European Championships at Windsor, England, the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and held the world record scores for all three Grand Prix levels at the time.

Totilas (Gribaldi x Lominka x Glendale) was sold by his Dutch owners after the 2010 WEG to Paul Schockemöhle of Performance Sales International and Ann-Katrin Linsenhof, Matthias’s stepmother and herself a German team Olympian.

The German equestrian federation said the DOKR made the decision at its meeting this week to drop Totilas from the championship squad.

“The DOKR have no information when to expect a return to the international equestrian sport,” it said. “Rider Matthias Alexander Rath and his coaches have not yet made any plans for the indoor season 2012/2013 and any World Cup starts.”

Matthias had announced earlier this year that the main goals for 2013 were the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April and the European Championships in Herning, Denmark. However, the eight-event Western European League World Cup series is half over with no appearance by Totilas so far.

The provisions of being on the championship squad include international performances.

Klaus Roeser, chairman of the DOKR Dressage Committee, said: “Of course, we regret this, but we need to treat all team riders alike. Of course, the couple can again become a member of the championship squad if they qualify for the European Championship in 2013 in Denmark.”