Matthias Rath and Totilas will spearhead the German team at the European dressage championships in Aachen (11-17 August).

The news was announced yesterday (Sunday, 12 July), ahead of the final grand prix freestyle at CDIO Hagen (8-12 July).

They are joined by Kristina Bröring-Sprehe on Desperados FRH, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (Unee BB) and Isabell Werth, who will ride Don Johnson FRH after her mare Bella Rose was withdrawn from selection last week.

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Klaus Roeser, head of the German dressage committee, said: “It was our intention to put an end to speculations and provide all riders the opportunity to completely concentrate on the task ahead.”

Anabel Balkenhol and Dablino FRH are the reserve.

Totilas made his comeback at Hagen CDI in Germany this weekend, winning both his tests with plus-80%.

The popular German dressage stallion, pictured at the 2011 European dressage championships in Rotterdam, was last seen out competing at Aachen’s CDIO5* show in July 2014, but has had time off due to injury.

Before Aachen, the combination enjoyed a run of eight consecutive wins in a row.

On Friday, (10 July) Matthias said he did not feel not nervous ahead of Totilas’ return to competition.

“However, I was nevertheless a bit surprised when I came around the corner with Totilas today to let him graze and saw all the photographers and visitors,” he said.

Matthias and the 15-year-old black stallion scored 80.36% to win the CDI4* grand prix and 80.039% in the CDI4* grand prix special.

Speaking after the grand prix special on Sunday (12 July), Matthias said: “Toto was willingly performing today, and particularly piaffe and passage were even better than in the grand prix.

“Unfortunately, we had some more severe, but unnecessary mistakes, for example the salute and the first pirouette.

“But now we have the time to work on it.”

Host Ullrich Kasselmann said they saw “extraordinary sport”.

He added even though this was the third big equestrian event within a couple of weeks, there was a huge audience who gave the riders fantastic support.

Read the full report in this week’s H&H, out Thursday, 16 July