The sec­ond com­ing

NZ Horse & Pony - - Transitions -

The highly an­tic­i­pated sec­ond ca­reer come­back of dres­sage mega-star Toti­las took place at the CDIO4* in Ha­gen, Ger­many in mid-july, where Matthias Rath and the black stal­lion scored over 80% to win both the Grand Prix and the Spe­cial. To cap it off, the pair were named on the Ger­man team to con­test the up­com­ing Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships.

Toti­las set a swathe of records and mes­merised judges and dres­sage fans world­wide when he burst on to the scene with his for­mer rider, Dutch­man Ed­ward Gal, win­ning three gold medals at the 2010 World Cham­pi­onships.

But Toti­las was then sold to Ger­many’s Paul Schock­emöhle and Ann-kathrin Lin­sen­hoff, and the ride given to An­nKathrin’s step­son, Matthias Rath. It took con­sid­er­able time for the pair to ce­ment a part­ner­ship, and the horse was then side­lined with in­jury.

Af­ter Toto briefly re­turned to form, Matthias de­vel­oped a se­vere case of glan­du­lar fever which meant he had to with­draw from the 2012 Olympics.

Fol­low­ing that, the pair moved to the Nether­lands to work with Sjef Janssen, coach of the Dutch team, pre­sum­ably to ex­pe­ri­ence the train­ing tech­niques that Toti­las was fa­mil­iar with while in the care of Ed­ward.

It seemed to pay off – Matthias and Toti­las burst back on to the world stage at Aachen last Au­gust, where they fa­mously beat the golden duo of Char­lotte Du­jardin and Vale­gro.

But once again, Toti­las was side­lined with in­jury soon af­ter­wards, with­draw­ing from the World Eques­trian Games.

Now 15, Toti­las has emerged from his year-long hia­tus look­ing fit and strong, ac­cord­ing to Euro­dres­sage’s Astrid Ap­pels, though she be­lieves that like other “god­horses-among-mor­tals”, he gets more credit from the judges than his per­for­mance al­ways war­rants.

“Was the come­back ride in Ha­gen a bad one? Of course not,” she wrote. “Was it a bril­liant 80% earn­ing test? Not re­ally!”

Astrid says the trot ex­ten­sion re­mains a weak point, with the front legs fly­ing in the air but the hind legs not track­ing up, the half-passes un­even in rhythm, and the horse “bops his head”, es­pe­cially in pas­sage.

But she praised the pas­sage in gen­eral, the ex­tended walk, most of the can­ter work (es­pe­cially the pirou­ettes), and Matthias’s light con­tact with the bit.

“He de­serves com­men­da­tion for a very good ride and for his nerves of steel… but for the fair­ness of the sport and out of re­spect to­wards the other com­peti­tors, the judges need to stay sober and fo­cused on Toilas’s tests and judge what hap­pens in front of them in­stead of re­ward­ing name and fame.

“If Toti­las can stay fit un­til the Euro­pean Champs, the fight for medals will be a very ex­cit­ing one. He makes the sport more ex­cit­ing and it’s great to have him back!”

Join­ing him on the highly rated team for Ger­many are Kristina Bror­ing-sprehe and Des­per­a­dos FRH , Jes­sica von Bre­dowWerndl and Unee BB, and Is­abell Werth and Don John­son FRH.

Sadly, Is­abell with­drew her sen­sa­tional sta­ble star, Bella Rose, from con­tention for se­lec­tion as she has yet to re­cover from a knee in­jury sus­tained last Novem­ber.

The NRM Rider of the Month re­ceives a voucher for two bags of NRM feed, re­deemable at any stock­ist of the NRM range.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.