Return of Totilas to Competition at Kapellen Could Upend World Games Calculations
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Totilas returns to competition Thursday after an absence of two years as a last-minute start in the Grand Prix at the Kapellen, Belgium CDI3* immediately raising the profile of the show to an electrifying global event.
The black stallion, now aged 14, will be the ninth of 36 combinations starting in the event–with no world ranking because of the length of time out of the sport but whose appearance triggered a frenzy of visits to Internet sites and on social media seeking information.
Their start time is officially 1412 Central European Time (8:12 am US Eastern Time). As of Wednesday night, no live streaming was scheduled.
The horse inspection Wednesday evening was no routine veterinary check at walk, trot but became an event of its own as Totilas was led by rider Matthias Alexander Rath for the first time at a horse show since the German national championships at Balve in 2012 where the pair swept the three Grand Prix levels. Balve was not an international competition and the last CDI for the pair was Horses and Dreams at Hagen, Germany in April, 2012.
Before the World Equestrian Festival at Aachen, Germany that was expected to see the partnership named as the top combination for the German team to go to the Olympics in London Totilas was injured.
Totilas (Gribaldi x Glendale) became perhaps the most famous dressage horse in history when ridden by Edward Gal of the Netherlands. Their last appearance was almost exactly four years ago, at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky where the pair won three gold medals–team and two individual.
Totilas was then sold to Paul Schockemöhle and Ann-Katrin Linsenhof to be ridden by Matthias, Ann-Katrin’s stepson, for Germany.
The horse’s schedule was married by injuries and Matthias struggled to achieve the same level of success enjoyed by Edward.
The German rode Totilas in 12 CDI starts from June, 2011 to April, 2012, including one championship, the Europeans at Rotterdam in 2011.
After the injury, aoaching was switched from Matthias’s father to Sjef Janssen, the husband of Anky van Grunsven, who was also coach of the Dutch team when Edward and Totilas were partnered.
In the time that Totilas has been out of the competition arena, all of his world records have been claimed by the British partnership of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, who have also taken over as undisputed No. 1 in the world. Damon Hill NRW ridden by Helen Langehanenberg has become Germany’s top pair and No. 2 in the world.
If Totilas returns to near his previous level–in their five CDI Grand Prix starts, Matthias and the stallion averaged better than 79 per cent–the odds makers may need to recalculate which nation will be on what level of the medals podium at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France in August.
While anything can change in a hoof fall, below are average results for Grand Prix that will decide the WEG Nations Cup of the three countries given the best sbot of being in the medals.
Helen and Damon Hill have averaged 82.328 per cent in their last five CDI starts while Kristina Sprehe and Desperados FRH, team mates on Germany’s London Olympic team, has averaged 75.925 per cent with a change of trainers in the midst of those shows. The pair have returned to form and capturing the German championships this month. Isabell Werth, the most decorated German rider, has posted an average of 76.217 per cent on Don Johnson FRH in their last five CDIs.
Edward Gal is again the Netherlands’ top rider, this time with Glock’s Undercover averaging 80.566 per cent for their last five Grand Prix. Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival NOP, who have not competed in eight months, had the second highest Dutch average with 79.145 per cent while Danielle Heijkoop and Kingsley Siro have averaged 75.590 per cent. Hans Peter Minderhoud’s top mounts, Glock’s Romanov and Glock’s Johnson TN both average in the 72 per cent range.
For Great Britain, Charlotte and Valegro average a staggering 85.080 per cent while Carl Hester has a higher average on Uthopia of 75.342 per cent compared with the average for Dances With Wolves of 72.860 per cent. Michael Eilberg on Half Moon Delphi has an average of 72.803 per cent.
If the top three scores of each nation were achieved at the same levels, the results would be:
Germany – 237.477
Netherlands – 235.301
Great Britain – 233.225 per cent