Moorlands Totilas New World Record Freestyle 90.750%, Wins European Champs Gold

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Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal setting new world Grand Prix Freestyle score at the European Championships. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal setting new world Grand Prix Freestyle score at the European Championships. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WINDSOR, England, Aug. 29–Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal of The Netherlands created a new world record Grand Prix Freestyle score of 90.750 per cent to claim the individual gold medal at the European Dressage Championships in a floodlit stadium packed with 8,000 spectators on a chilly Saturday night.

Adelinde Cornelissen on Parzival won silver, following her gold in the Grand Prix Special Thursday, while Anky van Grunsven and Salinero took the bronze to complete Dutch domination of these biennial championships, and the first time that riders from one nation have stood on the medals podium.

And equally incredible, all three medalists scored more than 87 per cent, another first in the sport, in the shadow of Windsor Castle, the world’s oldest inhabited castle.

All three of these riders were on the medals podium as the Dutch team that repeated as European Champions. They broke Germany’s domination of the sport two years earlier.

European Championship medal winners Adelinde Cornelissen (silver), Edward Gal (gold) and Anky van Grunsven (bronze), all from Holland. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
European Championship medal winners Adelinde Cornelissen (silver), Edward Gal (gold) and Anky van Grunsven (bronze), all from Holland. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

So overwhelmed by the experience, the 39-year-old Edward Gal said that when he heard his score, the first ever at an international competition above 90 per cent, “I started crying. It’s the only thing I did.”

The highlight of the performance, he said, was when “we were standing still and I was finished.”

An hour later he was still tongue-tied.

“I don’t know what to say anymore” said Gal, having racked up 29 perfect-10 scores.  He speaks as if he is humbled by the creature who is taking everyone’s breath away.

“He feels so good you cannot describe it, you have to feel it but you cannot put it into words.”

Stephen Clarke, the president of the panel of five judges, said: “Tonight was the greatest sport we have ever seen in dressage.”

Just last month at Hickstead only 40 miles (64km) from Windsor, Totilas owned by Kies and Tosca Visser’s  Moorland Stables created a new freestyle world record of 89.400 per cent.

Adelinde, who turned 30 only last month, said that Parzival, on whom she beat Gal and Totilas in the Grand Prix Special Thursday to create their own world record, said that she got ahead of her music in the second half of her ride that affected her overall performance.

Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in the European Championships Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in the European Championships Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Anky van Grunsven and Salinero, so long the dominant couple along with Germany’s Isabell Werth in global dressage with multiple Olympic, World Championship and World Cup gold medals, said she was happy with their ride.

“Salinero has been there for five years,” said Anky, who has been center stage for more than a decade and now is the mother of two children. “Bronze is not what I hoped for. But to me what was important was that I was happy with my test.”

Anky van Grunsven and Salinero in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the European Championships. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Anky van Grunsven and Salinero in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the European Championships. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Holland came into this event heavily favored to repeat as Nations Cup champions.

Fifty-four horse and rider combinations from 19 nations representing the best in the world excluding the United States and Canada–competed.

Great Britain, led by 2008 Olympian Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris had their best ever showing with Laura finishing fourth on Saturday night to add to her team silver medal.

The German team was a shadow of its usual strength with most of the top riders sidelined. However, Matthias Alexander Rath on Sterntaler-Unicef, although only 25 and in his first championships, finished sixth in the freestyle.

Dressage-news.com will post extended news and photo reports on Sunday.

1. Moorlands Totilas Edward Gal NED 90.750 points
2. Parzival Adelinde Cornelissen NED 87.350 points
3. Salinero Anky van Grunsven NED 87.250 points
4. Mistral Hojris Laura Bechtolsheimer GBR 81.750 points
5. Augustin OLD Victoria Max-Theurer AUT 79.000 points
6. Sterntaler-Unicef Matthias Alexander Rath GER 77.850 points
7. Max Kyra Kyrklund FIN 76.450 points
8. Lancet Emma Hindle GBR 76.050 points
9. Whisper Monica Theodorescu GER 75.950 points
10. Liebling II Carl Hester GBR 75.900 points
11. Digby Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein DEN 74.300 points
12. Don Charly Minna Telde SWE 73.600 points
13. Watermill Scandic H.B.C. Patrick Kittel SWE 73.350 points
14. Potomac Susanne Lebek GER 72.450 points
15. Favourit Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven SWE 62.800 points