German rider Matthias Alexander Rath rode triple WEG gold medalist Totilas for the first time in public yesterday (6 February).

Three thousand spectators flocked to watch the pair perform a demo at the Schockemohle stallion show in Vechta, Germany, for which they received a standing ovation.

“It was an amazing show, I got goose-bumps!” said Matthias, who won a bronze team medal at WEG. “It was a great experience to see how Totilas reacts in such an environment. He knew he was in the spotlight; his concentration and desire to please are extraordinary – that’s what makes him so special.

“Some sections were perfect, others I have to work on over the coming months.”

Nerves probably contributed to the handful of mistakes evident in the transitions and extended trot in front of the sell-out crowd, but Totilas’s famous piaffe and passage were prominent at the start and finish of the display.

Totilas’s next public outing will be at the Schockemoehle stallion show on 13 February, after which he will make his competitive debut with his German rider in May. The aim is to qualify for the European Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in August.