Totipocalypse: Totilas Before and After

At the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the Dutch stallion Moorlands Totilas swept all before him with his rider Edward Gal. They took all three gold medals, capping a four-year partnership in which the pair had shattered dressage records around the world. Here’s their freestyle kur at Lexington in autumn 2010:

Only days later, the stallion’s sale was announced. Totilas was sold to German showjumper and sportshorse mogul Paul Schockemoehle for – it was said – fifteen million euros. Edward Gal lost the riding rights, which were sold to Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff, who placed her 26-year-old stepson Matthias Rath on the KWPN’s back. Not surprisingly outrage and various rumours followed. That Totilas was crippled by suspensory ligament problems. That the German method of training would not suit him. That he would be incapable of performing both as a Grand Prix horse and as a stallion for Schockemoehle’s farm. That Rath was overhorsed and unhappy. That Totilas was unhappy or even lame. Certainly, the combination were unable to replicate Gal and Totilas’ record, but perhaps that would just take time and adjustment.

In February 2012, at the beginning of the Olympic year, Rath and Totilas appeared at a stallion show at Vechta in Germany. The difference was stunning and the audience seemed shocked:

What on earth happened?

UPDATED TO ADD: I picked up these two videos from online discussions on the “new” Totilas. The first shows Totilas in 2005 before he went to Edward Gal:

And the second shows a 2007 training session with Gal:



Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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  1. It is all just desperately sad. Matthias Rath seems much more tense and neither of them look at all happy. If Totilas and his current rider don’t suit, I hope that the “riding rights” will go to someone else. If I were Paul Schockemoehle I would give Edward Gal the riding rights once the current contract ends. Always provided the rights weren’t sold in perpetuity of course. He’d have a happier horse, and one more likely to sell his stallion nominations.

  2. I am a dressage fan and my simple solution to the problem is relieve Mr Matthias Rath from this undue pressure and let Mr Glock buy Totilas for Mr Edward Gal to ride and compete again.

    I can always dream…. can I?

  3. I don’t have the experience or knowledge to be able to comment on the horse-related issues here – but that announcer in the video from Vechta should be banned from public speaking, never to be allowed behind a mic again. Listening to him is sheer torture…

  4. The global horse world was in shock when Edward Gal lost the ride on Toto. We all cried with Edward at WEG when the announcement was made.

    But we all patiently waited for Matthias and Toto to come out and see if Toto really was a one rider horse. It was a very shaky start with an injury to Toto.

    Sadly, all our fears were realised with the video that was released. No more are we looking for Toto on the lists of competitions any more and to be honest the Olympics look doubtful especially with the Brits Carl, Charlotte and Laura so strong now.

    It is very sad to say that Toto is now ‘an also ran’ in racing terms.

    Will Edward get Toto back? Well that is the $64,000 question! A dutch rider on a German horse! Cannot see it myself as a lot of hoops need to be jumped through and it would mean a lot of humble pie being eaten by a lot of people as it would mean admitting on a big part failure on the worlds former champion of dressage.

    However, wouldn’t it be a dream come true if Edward and Toto were reunited for ever, not only would the horse world be jubilant, but also have deep respect and admiration for ALL the connections of Toto because they WOULD BE DOING WHAT IS BEST FOR THE HORSE!

  5. I think they should sell the horse back to Edward before the horse goes into a mental melt down. Or worse injuries himself permanently all because of pride. For once someone do what’s best for the horse. Matthis is not ready for the ride on him. Geesh!

  6. Such an incredibly intelligent horse lost his person. He’s miserable and will injure himself or get sick….he needs to go back to Gal, asap. It’s a matter of survival for him.

    1. Kathryn: I agree with you completely. Edward and Totilas were like Eddie Macken and Boomerang — they were destined for each other and I feel the Toto’s heart is broken. And now cut off from equine friends at stud or in a paddock on his own. It’s heartbreaking.

  7. The horse wasn’t even over tracking anymore. This whole sorry sagga has thrown the spot light on money messing with the sport. Unfortunately Totilas hasnt been a great success as a stallion as his foals all take after their mothers in every respect. A messed up career and now a messed up stallion prospect without a career. One has to ask why. I have a feeling Totilas wont be thrilling crowds ever again. They’ve blown the lot with greed and yet more greed. He didn’t even get Germany their gold, he didnt even get a gold. ): All round a horrible expose of the warm blood industry in the Nethrlands and Germany.

  8. Hear breaking … I wish there was someone who could buy this horse, because they can – out of compassion and respect to give him the life he deserves, especially at 15. Enough using this magnificent animal and inflicting pain and misery all for financial gain!

  9. Why did the music cut off? Why could we hardly hear it when it was on. It was some kind of purposeful subterfuge… did anybody notice? Clever way to undercut their chance of a pleasurable performance.

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