SpectraVET Performance of the Week: Totilas’ 2010 WEG Freestyle
We’ve all been looking forward to watching 2010 WEG dressage champion Totilas defend his title in Normandy. Alas, it’s not to be.
Top photo: Roland Hitze/Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons License
Totilas has become a household name in the dressage world: the black 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion literally broke the record books in Grand Prix competition, and headed home from the 2010 World Equestrian Games with gold medals for the Netherlands in Team, Individual and Freestyle competitions with rider and trainer Edward Gal.
The stallion changed hands soon after the 2010 WEG in a controversial sale that broke up the Totilas/Gal dream team, placing Germany’s Matthias Rath as the stallion’s new rider. So far for the most part, this combination has been sadly underwhelming, as well as cursed with bad luck and poor health: Rath missed the 2012 Olympics due to illness, and Totilas was briefly lame over that winter. However, Rath and Totilas appeared to finally be coming together earlier this year in July with two Grand Prix wins in Aachen, beating out big international rivals Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.
But maybe bad luck just doesn’t change — according to reports from the German equestrian federation, Totilas has been scratched due to a flare-up of an old splint injury. Rath and Totilas had been at a training camp preparing for the WEG when his lameness was noted.
The Netherlands and Germany have always been huge rivals in dressage, so when Totilas left the Netherlands for Germany the entire dressage world waited to see how his sale would tip the scales. Interestingly, however, Rath sitting out the 2012 Olympics left the medal podium wide open for then-new superstars Dujardin and Valegro, who demolished Totilas’ standing records and bringing home Great Britain’s first medals in dressage. Unfortunately, fans looking forward to a Valegro-Totilas WEG showdown will just have to wonder what might have been.
As consolation, here is his 2010 WEG Grand Prix Freestyle, which surely counts as one of the most dramatic dressage performances of all time.
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