Totilas Healing from Injury “Slower Than Expected”–Matthias Alexander Rath

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Totilas ridden Matthias Alexander Rath at Hagen, Germany, their only CDI in the past year. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Totilas ridden Matthias Alexander Rath at Hagen, Germany, their only CDI in the past year. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Totilas is healing “slower than expected” from an injury inflicted during breeding earlier this year, the black stallion’s German rider told Die Welt newspaper, and he said no date could be given for a return to competition.

Matthias Alexander Rath, responding to a question whether the injury was career-ending for the 13-year-old Totilas, was quoted as saying: “These rumors are bulls–t. Totilas has suffered a knee injury during breeding in January, but otherwise he’s doing very well. He is not a sport invalid. We are looking forward to the moment when he will be seen again in a tournament.”

The World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany the last week of June was “possible,” he said, though he did not mention the European Championships to be held in Denmark in August.

“But I can give no date. The healing process of Totilas’ injury takes a bit slower than expected. We must now look at how well the intense training runs. Totilas has to rebuild muscles, and we have to work together again.”

Totilas (Gribaldi x Lominka x Glendale) has gone through a roller-coaster journey since the horse was bought by Paul Schockemöhle of Germany’s Performance Sales International and the wealthy former German Olympic team gold medalist Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, stepmother of Matthias, for a reported €9.5 million (US$12.3 million) in October, 2010.

The PSI-organized Horses and Dreams CDI4* at Hagen was to be their competition premiere in April, 2011. An injury led to that being postponed to Munich, a month later.

Controversy dogged the family over an intensive promotion campaign that included a line of Totilas clothing, training by his father, Klaus Martin, and results that fell short of the two years under saddle with Edward Gal of The Netherlands that produced world records in all three Grand Prix classes.

A less intensive competition schedule was planned for 2012 as the pair were campaigning for the Olympics in London, but after a successful showing at Hagen’s Horses and Dreams and the German championships in Balve Matthias came down with mononucleosis that he said left him unable to ride.

After the Games, former Dutch team coach Sjef Janssen took over the training from Klaus Martin.

Matthias was dropped from the German A-list because of a lack of performances.

Then the leg injury to Totilas occurred in January.

Sjef was quoted by the Dutch equestrian newspaper, Hoefslag, at the time as invoking Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

And the organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, filed charges alleging abuse in training, but those accusations were dismissed by the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office last week.

Asked by Die Welt (The World) his future goals with Totilas, he reiterated that Rio de Janeiro in 2016 when the horse will be 16 is now the target.

“First of all,” he said, “we are now working on the tournament comeback. In the long term, the goal is to be at the 2016 Olympic Games.”