Moorlands Totilas Wows Munich Crowd in Winning World Dressage Masters Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
MUNICH, Germany, May 14–Providing a full display of his goose-bump creating gaits, Moorlands Totilas was ridden by Edward Gal to victory in the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Friday before a crowd that held its collective breath in the black stallion’s first outdoor competition since last August’s European Championships.
This WDM competition was also the first for Edward and Totilas since claiming their first World Cup title two months ago and only the third show in Germany since starting Grand Prix last year.
Despite a couple of mistakes that Edward said were a combination of rain that caused mud to be thrown up into the horse’s belly and crowds drawn to watch every step Totilas takes, they recorded a score of 81.958 per cent, Fellow Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen on Jerich Parzival was again the bridesmaid but not far behind on 79.404 per cent, and Isabell Werth on her 2007 World Cup champion mount, Warum Nicht FRH, in third place with 75.76.255 per cent.
The CDI5* carries €100,000 (US$126,000) in prize money plus a €25,000 (US$31,500) Nürnberger WDM Rider Award, which Edward is now in an almost unbeatable position to collect. The rider award was launched after the inaugural Exquis WDM in Munich in 2009, and includes scores from the other venues, Cannes, France, Hickstead, England and Palm Beach, Florida.
Earlier in the day, Isabell rode El Santo NRW to win the CDI3* Grand Prix Special with a score of 76.333 per cent with Anabel Balkenhol on Dablino second on 73.167 per cent and Nadine Capellmann on Elvis VA third with 69.875 per cent.
The unseasonably cold and wet weather did not dampen fan ardor for Totilas, that, Edward explained later, made the horse more tense than usual.
Totilas has become such a superstar not unlike a movie celebrity that organizers of Pferd International that operates the Munich competition in the 1972 Olympic equestrian stadium had to hire extra guards around the clock when the stallion arrived from his home in The Netherlands and residents around the show grounds came by to loo0k at their new world famous neighbor for a week.
So adoring are the fans in Germany–the two previous Grand Prix shows were Stuttgart and Neumunster, but he also competed small tour in Aachen– that barely a conversation or speech can be gotten through without a reference to the Gribaldi offspring who created new world record scores in both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle as a nine-year-old in 2009.
And the fans turned out in force Thursday for light work and then Friday for the Grand Prix and its €10,000 (US$12,600) prize money. The big bucks come with the €30,000 (US$37,000) purse for the Special and the €60,000 (€74,000) for the Grand Prix Freestyle.
During the warm up, Edward said, the atmosphere became “quite excited” as crowds packed around the arena. Then, they had to walk from the warm up to the competition arena–not much more than 30 yards (meters)–but a throng that was more like an Academy Awards red carpet appearance minus the presidential-level security than your every day horse show.
“There was so much going on around the arena,” Edward told dressage-news.com later, “working with the crowds standing next to the ring and then having to walk through the crowds to the competition arena excited him. But it’s OK. He’ll get used to it.”
And because he has not shown outdoors since last August, the horse startled himself when his extravagant gaits kicked up footing into his belly.
That came out in mistakes going into the first piaffe and then a transition to passage where he broke into a canter.
Even so, they still garnered a rare score of 10, but not in the frequency of the competitions in England in 2009, first at Hickstead and then at Windsor in the European Championships.
“Maybe we need to show more outside in the rain,” he said. “We work outside at home, but it’s not the same as being at a show.”
Edward made no excuses, saying he loved riding Totilas in front of crowds that appreciated the horse’s brilliance and applauded his success.
The crowd in the dressage area of the sprawling show grounds that this weekend includes international jumping, reining and vaulting as well as a huge shopping area did just that. The combination received a resounding ovation when they rode around the arena before the start of their ride. For most of the ride, there was almost complete silence, only the errors causing intakes of breath and “oh, no” in hushed tones. Then, loud applause from the crowd that refused to leave for more than 20 minutes until after the awards to celebrate Totilas.
Complete results click: WDM GP 250