TotilasTotilas, the dressage wonder horse, was widely regarded as the finest in the world at the height of his career. During this time he was ridden by Edward Gal prior to the arrival of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro on the international scene.

Born in 2000, and known as Toto, Totilas was a 17.1hh black KWPN stallion by Gribaldi x Glendale. His breeders Jan Schuil and Anna Schuil-Visser asked local rider Jiska de Roos-van den Akker to take over the ride when the stallion was four. With Jiska, he finished fourth in the five-year-old division at the World Young Horse Championships in Verden.

Totilas: the record-breaker

It was at this point in his career that Totilas was bought by Kees and Tosca Visser for the Netherlands’ Edward Gal to ride. With Edward, Totilas set the dressage world alight. The pair made their international grand prix debut in June 2009, scoring 79.14%. Two months later, Totilas became the first horse to break the 90% barrier, as he scored a euphoric individual gold at the European Championships at Windsor.

Totilas and Edward broke numerous world records and became triple gold medalists at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games. After this triumph, Toto’s owners Jan Schuil and Anna Schuil-Visser made the decision to sell the outstanding stallion. This lead to outrage from his fans who did not agree with breaking up Edward’s partnership with the black stallion.

A controversial era

Totilas was sold to German stallion mogul Paul Schockemöhle. He kept the breeding rights, while Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff purchased the riding rights for her then 26-year-old stepson, the German rider Matthias Rath. Sadly the new partnership never made it to the highest echelons of the sport with injuries and illness preventing them from representing their country at championship level until 2015. They attended the 2015 Europeans, but Totilas appeared unlevel in the grand prix  – despite scoring 75.97% for sixth place. The horse was withdrawn before the grand prix special.

Totilas was retired from competition shortly after the 2015 Europeans, though he remained in demand as a sire. He died at the age of 20 following a severe colic in December 2020. His death prompted a global outpouring of sadness among the dressage and wider equestrian community.