Totilas Aims to Compete at German Team European Championship Qualifying Events–Matthias Rath

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Matthias Alexander Rath on Danönchen 3 celebrating victory in the national Intermediate 1 at Wiesbaden, Germany. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Matthias Alexander Rath on Danönchen 3 celebrating victory in the national Intermediate 1 at Wiesbaden, Germany. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WIESBADEN, Germany, May 26, 2015–Totilas is being prepared for German team qualifying competition for Matthias Alexander Rath to focus on riding the black stallion in the European Championships after the disappointment of missing the World Games last year in mid-August.

“We want to get to the end of the year championships this year,” Matthias told dressage-news.com of his plans for the 15-year-old KWPN stallion that injury kept the pair from both the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

Matthias had said previously he expected Totilas to return to the competition arena about the end of May that led to speculation it would be either at this event or the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany this coming weekend.

Matthias Alexander Rath hugging Totilas after winning the CDIO5* Grand Prix Special in Aachen, the last competition. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Matthias Alexander Rath hugging Totilas after winning the CDIO5* Grand Prix Special in Aachen in 2014. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Although Matthias, aged 30, and Totilas are in training with Sjef Janssen, the former Dutch team coach, the rider said they were not ready.

Both Totilas and Bella Rose, the 11-year-old Westfalen mare that Isabell Werth rode to become the highest scoring horse on the German team at last year’s World Games, plan to compete in the European Championship qualifiers after recovering from injuries.

“Bella Rose will start slowly to see if it’s possible to go to the Europeans,” she told dressage-news.com. “It’s nothing really serious and we hope we can manage this quite soon.”

The horses have both scored above 80 per cent at Grand Prix.

So has the partnership of Kristina Sprehe and Desperados that has logged six victories in six starts so far this year, including two 80 per cent Grand Prix. The pair were on the teams at the 2012 Olympics, 2013 Europeans and 2014 World Games.

Isabell Werth on Bella Rose led Germany to World Equestrian Games team gold medal in 2014. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth on Bella Rose led Germany to World Equestrian Games team gold medal in 2014. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The German 80 per cent combination of Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill broke up after the team gold medal performance at the 2014 world championships. The 15-year-old Westfalen stallion is being competed successfully at small tour by the daughter, aged 17, of the owner.

Although Germany along with Great Britain and the Netherlands have already qualified teams from Europe for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the Europeans held once every two years are a major championship.

The German qualifying competitions are the national championships at Balve June 11-14 and the CDIO5* Nations Cup at Hagen July 8-12.

The European championships for dressage, driving, jumping, reining and vaulting as well as international eventing over two days are scheduled for Aachen, Germany Aug. 11-23. Endurance and para-dressage are the only sports governed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) not in the lineup.

Matthias and Totilas last competed at the Aachen CHIO in 2014 where the pair logged the eighth win in eight starts for the year, with seven of the scores above 80 per cent. The pair also beat Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, the world’s No. 1 combination, in both the Grand Pix and the Grand Prix Special and did not compete in the Freestyle.

However, an injury led to the duo dropping out of contention for the WEG. A similar situation occurred in 2012 that kept them from the Olympics in London.

The Europeans in Rotterdam in 2011 where Germany won team silver behind Great Britain has been the sole championship for Matthias on Totilas (Gribaldi x Glendale) since the horse was bought by Ann-Katrin Linsenhof and Paul Schockemöhle after the 2010 World Games in Kentucky. There, Edward Gal rode the horse to team gold for the Netherlands and two individual golds.

The Dutch pair were on the gold medal team at the 2009 Europeans in Windsor, England and took individual gold in the Grand Prix Freestyle as well as winning the World Cup title in 2010.