News of Totilas’ retirement last week signalled the end of a career for one of the most remarkable horses dressage has ever seen.
When Totilas and Edward Gal burst onto the world stage, they began a new era in dressage. An era that would see them hold three world records, win six medals at European and world level, and capture the hearts of the dressage world.
When Paul Schöckemohle bought Totilas in 2010 to compete for Germany, there was outrage. So powerful was Totilas’ magic that dressage fans everywhere saw the horse almost as their own, and were devastated to see the partnership between ‘Toto’ and Edward split up.
Totilas never quite returned to his former brilliance and has been plagued by injuries in recent years, under new rider Matthias Rath. As he retires now to stand as a breeding stallion, we look back at some of his career highlights.
European Championships: Windsor, 2009
Totilas sets a new world record score of 90.75% in the grand prix freestyle to take the gold medal, having been beaten into silver in the special just minutes after setting a new record there, too. The sell-out, 8,000 strong crowd were ecstatic to watch Toto and Edward beat their own previous record by over 1%, with a test including music from Pirates of the Carribean arranged by Joost Peeters.
Totilas’ fan club were out in full force – with the orange of the Dutch supporters always standing out in a crowd.
Edward celebrates victory with silver medallist Adelinde Cornelissen
After a 13 day equestrian extravaganza, the FEI European Championships in Aachen are over in a blur of tears, tension
Another day, another world record, as Edward and Totilas post 92.3% to smash their previous record, with a mistake-free test that was 10% clear of nearest rival Adelinde with Parzival.
World Equestrian Games: Kentucky, 2010
Totilas and Edward scooped triple gold in front of 25,000 spectators at the huge Kentucky Horse Park, adding the freestyle medal to their special and team medals from earlier on the week. Although the test was marred with some mistakes, they scored 85.70% with a total of 40 10s awarded across the seven judges. This would be their last test together, as Totilas was sold to Germany shortly after.
At home with Matthias Rath, 2011
Paul Schockemöhle sold shares in Totilas to Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, Matthias step-mother, securing the ride for the then 27-year-old Matthias. Their first competition together was at München-Reim, where they won both the grand prix and the special on scores of +76 and + 79%. Below, they are in training at home prior to their competition debut.
European Championships: Rotterdam, 2011
In their only complete championship together, Toto and Matthias finished 3rd in the grand prix (79.453%), 4th in the special (77.09%) and took 5th in the freestyle with 81.696%.
European Championships: Aachen, 2015
In Totilas’ last test, he scored a disappointing 75.971% to lie sixth, with many spectators concerned for his soundness. He was then withdrawn from the individual tests, and it was announced shortly after that the 15-year-old superstar would be retired from any further competition.