By Canadian Horse Journal staff
The Dutch Warmblood stallion, Totilas, considered to be one of the most outstanding competitive dressage horses in the world, passed away on December 14, 2020 at the age of 20 due to a severe case of colic.
The striking black stallion with four white stockings, by Gribaldi out of Lominka and foaled on May 23, 2000, was bred by Jan K. Schuil and Anna Schuil-Visser in the Netherlands. At the 2005 World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Verden, Germany, he was named Best Horse from the Netherlands and placed fourth in the final ranking of five-year-old dressage horses. At the start of his career, Totilas was owned by Kees and Tosca Visser, who had bought the charismatic 17.1 hand stallion as a mount for Edward Gal.
Gal began riding and training “Toto” in 2006, and they began competing in 2008. He was ridden for The Netherlands by Gal throughout most of his international career. At the Windsor European Championships in 2009 they became the first pair to break the 90 percent barrier, and at the Kentucky World Equestrian Games in 2020, Gal and Totilas were triple gold medallists, the first horse-rider partnership ever to sweep the three available gold medals (team, special and freestyle) at an FEI World Games.
After the Kentucky World Games, German horse breeder and dealer Paul Schockemöhle bought Totilas, and Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff, stepmother of Matthias Alexander Rath, became co-owner. Rath took over the ride and their top score helped their German team win the Silver medal at the European Championships that year. Totilas was injured in 2012 and spent two years out of competition. The pair returned to competition in 2015 and helped their German team win a bronze medal in Aachen that year. During that grand prix team competition, the horse appeared unlevel with his left hind leg, and he was withdrawn from further competition. It was to be his last competition. Bone inflammation in his left hind hoof was confirmed by MRI scan, and Totilas was retired in August 2015.
During his five years of retirement, the stallion lived at Gestut Schafhof in Kronberg, Germany, and travelled to Schockemöhle’s stallion station in Mühlen for breeding duties.
Photo: The star partnership of Edward Gal and Totilas at the Kentucky World Games in 2020. Credit: Robin Duncan Photography