The German duo of Matthias Alexander Rath and Totilas (pictured) have finally made a winning return to the ring. They have spent two years off the competition scene through various horse injuries and rider illness.
Today, Thursday 22 May, they won the grand prix at the CDI3* Kappelen in Belgium, scoring 78.68%. The mark was short of the 14-year-old black son of Gribaldi’s former grand prix best under his current rider of 83.8% (at Hagen in 2012, the pair’s last international outing).
The pair were competing today after submitting a late entry for the Belgian show. Due to the stallion’s ring-rustyness, Rath did not ride on full power and allowed the piaffes to creep forward to help Totilas stay in balance.
There was a mistake in the middle of the one-time changes, when Totilas stopped changing, and some loss of balance coming out of the second pirouette when the horse changed in front — but Rath quickly corrected it. There were some irregularities between the front legs in the trot extensions but the overall picture was of harmony and relaxation — see video below.
The performance split the panel of 5 judges: Belgian judge Geert Lemmens gave the lowest score of 73.7%, while the Russian judge Irina Mcnamee’s mark was almost 10% higher, on 82.9%.
The duo now look likely to fight for a place on the German team for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, in August.
Matthias also won today’s prix st georges on another stallion, Bretton Woods (Johnson/De Niro).
The horse shot to stardom under his former Dutch rider Edward Gal and was the world record holder for all 3 international grand prix classes. Since then, those records have been toppled by triple record-holders Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.