Totilas Back! Scores 78.680% at Kapellen CDI3* Grand Prix
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May 22, 2014
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Totilas returned to the competition arena Thursday for the first time in two years to be ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath to score 78.680 per cent in the Grand Prix at the Kapellen, Belgium CDI3* with a high of 82.900 per cent and a low of 73.700 per cent.
The 14-year-old black stallion looked fit and muscled, showing off piaffe/passage and extended trot that have made Totilas perhaps the most famous dressage horse in history, but there were mistakes in the one-tempi changes and completing the second pirouette.
The video, from Hoefslag, can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzOwt7upnm0
Totilas was the winner by a big margin. Sweden’s Jennie Larssn on Zircoon Spring Flower was the only other combination to score 70 per cent, placing second on 70.760 per cent. Belgium’s Laurence Vanommeslaghe on Avec Plaisir was third on 69.420 per cent.
The highest scores for the German victors came from Irina McNamee of Russia at E awarding Totilas 82.900 per cent and Leif Törnblad of Denmark at C scoring it 82.200 per cent. Dietrich Plewa of Germany at H gave the pair 79.500 per cent.
The two Belgian judges gave the lowest scores: Freddy Leyman at M on 75.100 per cent and Geert Lemmens at B 73.700. The gap between the highest and lowest scores–at E and B that are in the center of the arena directly across from each other–was a whopping 9.200 per cent.
The disparity in the scores, well outside the six percentage point spread that most top judges regard as reasonable differences, was a major issue on social networks. For the record, if the high and low scores were discarded, as many in the dressage community believe should happen, the final result would not have been much different–78.933 per cent.
Leif Törnblad and and Dietrich Plewa are rated FEI 5*, the highest ranking, while Freddy Leyman and Irina McNamee are 4* judges and Geert Lemmens 3*.
The result was shy of their best of 83.809 per cent in the pair’s last CDI Grand Prix, Horses and Dreams at Hagen, Germany in April, 2012.
However, to put the result into current perspective the score of 78.680 per cent has been surpassed by only three other combinations in the world in 2014–Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, Helen Langehanenberg of Germany and Damon Hill NRW and Edward Gal of the Netherlands and Glock’s Undercover.
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 all three gold medals available–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 marred by injuries and Matthias struggled to achieve the same level of success enjoyed by Edward.
Matthias, who turns 30 years old in August, three weeks before the start of the Normandy WEG, rode Totilas in 12 CDI starts from June, 2011 to April, 2012, including one championship, the Europeans at Rotterdam in 2011.
After the injury, coaching 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.