Totally Totilas!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Edward Gal himself had to wipe away a tear once the Wilhelmus, the Dutch National anthem sounded for his siege with Moorlands Totilas in the Kür to Music in the Kralingse Woods. “Totally Totilas” is the name of the well suited Kür that Joost Peters made for Totilas. And right now, ‘Totally Totilas’ is hot in the international dressage world. The black only just 9 year old stallion of Tosca and Kees Visser has been dominating all dressage conversations for weeks now. So far, he has managed to win every test he has done in his young life, in the light and in the heavy tour. The black stallion defies all dressage laws and emotions all watching him. We have a video....

The winner of the World Cup, Steffen Peters is already in Europe at Johann Hinnemann’s stables, with Ravel, the horse ridden by Gal before him. He even dashed over from Germany to Rotterdam to witness with his own eyes the horse the whole dressage world is speaking of.

Photo:HM Queen Beatrix, mayor Aboutaleb and prime minister Balkenende witnessed the siege of Edward Gal and wonder of the world Moorlands Totilas, here congratulated by the board of CHIO Rotterdam Photo Credit: Dirk Caremans

Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas were last to ride. Right from the start the spectators had been in a state of excitement, ready for it all to happen. When the Belgian Marc Peter Spahn rode his Frisian stallion Fryso Huys Cas, they already, very un-Dutch-like, clapped enthusiastically for his extended trot. It was as if it was Vegas!


Once the first applause had resonated, more followed. The Swedish Anette Christensen and her Dutch bred super moving Normandie rode to ballet music, amongst others the Nutcracker.

The British Fiona Bigwood had had songs by Shakira mixed and rode a test with highlights in the changes. The Danish Mikala Gundersen living in America is momentarily in Europe. She is aiming for the EC at Windsor and the WC in Lexington with her stallion Leonburg, and rode very harmoniously to an Elvis Presley medley.

Then it was time for the Dutch foursome. Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero excelled in expansive and sharply ridden appuyements and musical feeling. Fact remains that Anky had earlier explained she was already training dimensions with IPS Salinero, she before could only do with Bonfire at an older age. That should e.g. result in a different extended trot. “At home, in the training, it’s there already, but at a show, it still causes some confusion and too much tension. I still need many more competitions.” said Anky. The score of 81,450% was good, but left room for improvement.

Photo: Anky and IPS Salinero training for more dimensions at home Photo Credit: Diana Bloemendal

Imke Schellekens-Bartels took advantage of this straight away. To the emotional tones of Wibi Soerjadi she scored 81,800%, only just higher than Olympic champion Van Grunsven with IPS Salinero (81,400%). Star mare Sunrise was the champion of harmony, but the turning piaffe was a less well calculated risk. Imke herself came out of the ring with a lump in her throat. “I never thought this would ever happen to me. Anky in the Kür is not to be beaten, that’s what I always said. Now I’ve done it…”, she said. And that at a show where only a year ago she had tongue problems with Sunrise.

Finally, the score of 84,300% appeared on the screen for Moorlands Totilas. It was the combination’s third Kür and not their best. This time there were mistakes in the two tempi changes, causing only more tension by doing them over. It however did not take away any of the enchantment the pair brought to Kralingen! “Bear in mind, it’s discussing the differences between good, very good and excellent, when we are speaking about the Dutch top three.”, said chair of the judges Wim Ernes full of enthusiasm afterwards. “Within this frame it’s fair to say that Totilas performs his exercises with just a fraction more ease than Salinero and Sunrise. Anky and Imke in their turn ride more perfectly to the music and they have a higher degree of difficulty in their test. Due to the mistake in the two tempi changes, I awarded Edward and Totilas a lower mark for harmony than Imke and Anky. I actually considered the difference between the last two nihil.”

Photo:Totilas performs his exercises with just a fraction more ease than Sunrise and Salinero, said judge Wim Ernes Photo Credit: Dirk Caremans

Edward himself was on cloud nine with Moorlands Totilas and would speak of his own mistakes only. “I shouldn’t have done them over again. I only confused Totilas with it”, he said. “Normally, I do an extended canter on the diagonal and Totilas already wanted to go and got confused by my other means. He still has so little experience in competition! But nothing is too difficult for him. And he loves to work every day. It’s a joy with him every day and I hope to be able to do this for a long time to come.”

Sander Marijnissen and Moedwil rode a test with a very relaxed aura. They were very happy with their fourth place (74,00%) for a subtle ridden test with a lot of looseness.

Aachen will be the next challenge for most of the riders. To be continued!

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