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:
UPDATE: TOTILAS IS NOT COMPETEING IN THE 2012 OLYMPICS AS MATTHIAS RATH HAS GLANDULAR FEVER.