German Olympic Committee for Riding: Lack of Multiple Testing of Totilas Before Europeans a “Mistake”

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The final salute for Totilas by rider Matthias Alexander Rath at the European Championships. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The final salute for Totilas by rider Matthias Alexander Rath at the European Championships. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WARENDORF, Germany, Sept. 14, 2015–Failure to conduct multiple veterinary tests on Totilas before competing at the European Championships last month was found by the German Olympic Committee for Riding to be a “mistake.”

The Executive Board of the DOKR, as the committee is known by its German initials as the ultimate authority of Olympic horse sports in Germany, issued a statement Monday that stressed a requirement for mandatory multiple stress tests ahead of championships.

“Totilas showed irregularities in movement during his appearance in the team event at the European Championships in Aachen (Germany) and was withdrawn from further tests,” the DOKR said in a statement issued by the German federation. “Then a bone edema was diagnosed in the second phalanx of the left hind leg.”

The 15-year-old KWPN stallion was ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath on the German team that won the bronze medal.

“We already knew at the nomination of the horse that it is susceptible to injury because it was already known in previous years,” Dr. Dennis Peiler, the DOKR Chief Executive said. “Therefore, we would still have to pay attention to the sensitive current state of health. That was, in retrospect, a mistake.”

Deciding whether Totilas should "pass" the veterinary check at the European Championships--Katrina Wüst of Germany, president of the ground jury, discussing with Jean-Michel Roudier of France, a fellow judge, and veterinarians Dr. Hermann Josef Genn and Dr. Paul Farrington of the FEI. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Deciding whether Totilas should “pass” the veterinary check at the European Championships–Katrina Wüst of Germany, president of the ground jury, discussing with Jean-Michel Roudier of France, a fellow judge, and veterinarians Dr. Hermann Josef Genn and Dr. Paul Farrington of the FEI. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Totilas was retired from competition after the Europeans.

The owners, Paul Schockemöhle of Performance Sales International, and Ann-Katrin Linsenhoff, a wealthy heiress and stepmother of Matthias, bought Totilas after the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010 when Edward Gal of the Netherlands rode the black stallion to team and individual gold medals. Since then, the horse missed the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Games because of injuries.

The DOKR said that “all potential championship horses” must undergo multiple stress tests before being nominated for championships and “in the future adhere consistently” to the requirement.

The DOKR, though, expressed confidence in the dressage team leadership.