Totilas dies aged 20: dressage world mourns loss of global superstar

  • The legendary dressage horse Totilas has died, at the age of 20. His rider, Germany’s Matthias Rath, confirmed the news, saying: “We will miss you so much and never forget you.”

    It is understood that the Gribaldi x Glendale son died on Monday, 14 December, after a severe attack of colic.

    With his former rider, the Netherlands’ Edward Gal, Totilas set the dressage world alight. The pair made their international grand prix debut in June 2009, scoring 79.14%, and two months later, “Toto” became the first horse to break the 90% barrier, as he scored a euphoric individual gold at the European Championships at Windsor.

    “Windsor was his first Europeans and his first big championship,” Edward said. “We had the castle lit up behind the arena and it was really magical.”

    Vanessa Ruiter, Edward’s groom, added: “Totilas looked for Edward the whole day, and Edward adored him. He really loved Edward. If he heard him, he’d prick his ears and look around for him. It was really special.”

    The pair broke the world freestyle record at Olympia in 2009 with 92.3%, which was only bettered by Valegro four years later.

    Totilas and Edward were crowned World Cup champions in March 2010, and later that same year they landed a trio of gold medals at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky – and another world record score, this time in the special. However, this was to be their final competition together.

    Continues below…

    In October 2010, owners Kees and Tosca Visser of Moorlands Stables sold Totilas to Paul Schockemöhle, who retained breeding rights, while Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff bought the riding rights for her stepson Matthias Rath.

    Totilas and Matthias made a winning competition debut in 2011, but had to withdraw from contention for the London Olympics when Matthias became ill with glandular fever.

    Matthias Rath and Totilas at the 2015 Europeans.

    The horse’s final test was at the 2015 European Championships, where they were awarded a controversial 75.97% in the grand prix. The next day, Totilas was diagnosed with periostitis of the coronet band, and shortly afterwards, he was officially retired from sport.

    Totilas spent his five-year retirement hacking out at the Rath/Linsenhoff base Gestüt Schafhof, near Frankfurt, as well as fulfilling his duties as a much-demanded sire. His final public appearence was at the 2019 KWPN stallion licensing.

    Don’t miss the current issue of Horse & Hound for a full feature charting the life and career of Totilas, on sale now. 

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

    You may like...