‘It felt extra special to do that here’: poignant moment as Totilas son pays homage to late sire in Olympic freestyle

  • Edward Gal and Total US’s Tokyo Olympic freestyle was a poignant moment in a number of ways.

    The Dutch combination finished sixth individually, scoring 84.16% (84.157%) under the floodlights in the Equestrian Park at Baji Koen on Wednesday night (28 July).

    This is a huge result in its own right, yet it is the story behind the freestyle performance that makes it even more special.

    Total US is only nine, and is the son of the legendary Totilas, with whom Edward broke numerous records – but never rode him at an Olympics.

    Tonight, Edward chose to ride Total US to Totilas’s Kentucky World Equestrian Games (WEG) music, where they won gold on 91.8%. Kentucky was also the final time Edward rode the freestyle aboard Totilas in competition, as the horse was sold shortly after their triple gold medal-winning performance at WEG.

    “It’s the old test from Totilas that I rode in Kentucky – it felt extra special to do that here,” said Edward.

    The freestyle showcased the horse’s power and composure through his piaffe/passage work, with the urgency of the music building to match his huge extension and trot half-passes. There were a few green moments – a little anticipation at the transition from extended canter ahead of the pirouette and again in the transition to passage – which served as a reminder of how much more is still to come from this horse.

    “[I had a] really good feeling,” Edward added. “I must say that in all three tests, he did really his best. He gives me the feeling that he doesn’t want to make mistakes. Sometimes I had a mistake, but he always wants to go and he is so good in [his] reactions and gave me the feeling that he is really developing very quick.

    “Now it feels [he is getting] better and better better every time. It just takes time and that’s what he has as he is still so young, so I think it will be very good in future.”

    Speaking after their grand prix test on Saturday, Edward said he could feel “so much comparison with Totilas”.

    “You get the same feeling, when you [use your] leg – that the same reaction, the same as he is in the stable,” he said, adding it’s really nice that those traits have been inherited.

    “Totilas was a little bit more confident at his age. He’s a little bit shy, but I’ve done a couple of competitions with him now and I can feel that he is getting more confident also.”

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