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Legends of the sport: Totilas — ‘one of the most beautiful things I ever saw’ *H&H Plus*

The late black stallion and his phenomenal scores lit up the dressage world. Alice Collins tracks his path to fame and the story behind his high-profile sale

Few horses have owned the spotlight like the magnificent Totilas, who died on Monday, 14 December 2020 following a severe case of colic. Under Edward Gal, he set fire to the dressage scene with an almost 80% grand prix at their first international, when Totilas was just nine. They swept the board from summer 2009 to September 2010, winning everything there was to be won.

But unlike Britain’s sensation Valegro, Totilas didn’t seem to have all the hallmarks of greatness from the get-go. He didn’t dominate in young horse classes and was a busy, impatient young colt.

Totilas – named after a distant relative who survived a long trek at the end of World War II and helped found the Trakehner breed – was born in 2000 in the Netherlands. The Gribaldi son was a picture-book foal, jet black with four matching white socks.

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