Totilas, What Now?

Totilas with Edward Gal
Totilas with Edward Gal

Totilas, a name that nearly everybody in the Dressage world will recognize, and  for many a topic of conversation.  I must say, lately  that has slowly diminished but  now most  people are asking “what’s happening with  Totilas” ?

Totilas was born on the 23rd of May 2000.  His father was Gribaldi, a black Trakehner stallion who was a son of Kostolany.   The successful stallions  Painted Black  and Bodyguard, are  also son’s of Gribaldi, but  till  now, Totilas is the most famous and most successful.

Both father and son were ridden by Edward Gal, and at the KWPN Stallion Grading in February 2010 , Gribaldi and Totilas were presented and ridden.  For Gribaldi it was in honour of his retirement from the sport, and Totilas was present to honour his great father. The KWPN presented Gribaldi with a rug  with the words “Gribaldi Thankyou” written on it, and in the audience there was hardly a dry eye to be seen.

I was at the stallion grading and I must stay it was lovely to see this father and son together, and I was greatly saddened when a few days later I heard the news that Gribaldi had died quite unexpectedly on  Valentine’s Day (14th February 2010).

Totilas has reached heights in the Dressage Sport that most people thought impossible, but together with Edward Gal the sky was their limit.  With this combination competing, it was assumed that nobody stood a chance of winning.  Together they won so much including European and World Championships with scores that seemed impossible to beat.  At  the  2009 European Championships at Windsor, UK,  they won the “Kur” (Freestyle) with a world record score of 90.70%.

A combination that seemed destined for each other.  They could  never be parted.  A dream come true.

Suddenly, that changed.  There were rumours on many occasions that “Totilas is sold” , but these  seemed to be false alarms.  Until one day in October 2010, the 13th to be precise, it was announced that Paul Schockemohle had bought this magnificent black stallion for an amount somewhere between 10 and 15 million Euros.


Totilas was moving to Germany and his new rider was going to be a young German lad called Matthias Rath, who most people had never heard of.  He would be used at stud and ridden by Matthias.  The Dutch riding community were gutted, especially with the 2012 Olympic games less than 2 years away and most likely Totilas would have been the bookies favourite to win Gold.

Unfortunately, the partnership Matthias Rath and Totilas didn’t harmonise like most people expected, and we’ve seen very little of this combination.   Totilas was amazing with Edward, but obviously proved less straightforward than anticipated for the young German.

In the autumn of 2011 it was announced that Sjef Janssen, the husband and trainer of Anky van Grunsven would be training Mathias and Totilas, and in his own words  Sjef said,  he would go back to the basics.

Since then we’ve heard very little about their progress, and with the outdoor Show season just around the corner, I’m sure that everyone will be waiting excitedly, most likely with mixed feelings, about what this partnership has in store for us.

We should also remember that there are Totilas babies out there, and with a father like Totilas and Gribaldi as a grandfather,  who knows what we’ll get to see in the future.

Good Luck Matthias and Totilas!


  1. R says

    Totilas is FEARFUL of Matthias and Matthias should be SHAMED out of the Dressage world. Abusing your horse because you are spoiled he (the horse) does not comprehend that Matthias has boughten the right to ride him… boughten the right to ride on a top level with money rather than talent… and so he beats the horse for it! Truly sad and shameful.

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