Images by Julia Rau, www.rauphoto.de
The show schedule for the Dressage sensation Totilas and Matthias Rath begins at Pferd International München-Riem, then Wiesbaden, and onto Balve. The Totilas tour began this week, when at Schockemöhle's place in Mühlen when Matthias Rath’s big yellow and black trailer headed towards Linsenhoff‘s Kronberg, with Totilas on board. Five hours later in Kronberg, the landlord Rath and Lady Linsenhoff awaited them, as did ten camera teams and 55 journalists, the majority being the main stream press, ready and waiting for Germany’s new super star. Few journalists were present from the horse scene; by far the most were regional and federal agents, newspapers, magazines, radio and television. On one hand the interest of the horse sport insiders is dropping. The horse community wants to see Rath and Totilas in action.
Now the schedule will be first München (2-5 June), then onto 2011 Wiesbaden CDI, followed by the third weekend in a row the German National Championship in Balve (16-19 June). At his first show in München Totilas will not be allowed to start in the World Dressage Masters tour as every WDM-starter must have acquired two international Grand Prix tests of at least 64%. With the Rath-Totilas combination yet to compete a win in München could change that. The Totilas team is keeping this option open. They are expected to start in the Special Tour in Wiesbaden and then look ahead to Balve where they will present their new Freestyle for the first time. The music and choreography are in place, leaving only the transitions and fine tuning.
Three Olympic horses have been stabled at Linsenhof’s Schafhof in Kronberg, and it is everyone’s dream that Totilas will add to the list after 2012. Adular competed in the 1956 at the Olympic Games in Stockholm with Liselott Linsenhoff winning an individual bronze and team silver. Liselott Linsenhoff's Piaff, earned the team gold in 1968 in Mexico and celebrated the individual gold medal and team silver in 1972 in München, and Courage, the one who with Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff completed the German gold team in Seoul in 1988. "Our goal is London 2012", the focused landlady Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff explained, "even if the road is still far to go."
The Schafhof estate had prepared for the arrival of Totilas in detail. A complete EU-service station has been set up, with mating rooms and manufacturing pharmacy. "We now perform as an extended service station of Paul Schockemöhle", Klaus Martin Rath explains. Three times a week a team comes over from Mühlen, to collect Totilas and take the semen directly with them. Because of Totilas' double duties a large part of the stables has had to be secluded, as he is not to cross the paths of the other horses, although he can see them. In his box his two balls await him. "Not that he always plays with them, but it makes him feel good", Mathias Rath explains. "These balls were brought along with him from his stable at Edward Gal."
Two hours after their arrival, Rath and Totilas were in the arena. Cool and self-aware, celebrity Totilas emerged from his stable to the training square and Mathias Rath, his father Klaus Martin Rath and Totilas demonstrated a training section. During the training one can easily see that the two get along well, as they easily showed movements like pirouettes, piaffe and tempi changes without hesitations or tension. "We will just have to wait and see if all falls into place during a show in a test as well", Klaus Martin Rath tempered on the enthusiasm.
Totilas will be competing for the first time in eight months, the last occasion when Edward Gal won three gold medals at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. However Totilas is used to big crowds and attention and Matthias is as happy as can be with this incredible chance to train and show him. The horse-world will have to wait three more weeks and than we will know.