It has recently been announced that the fabulously capable Dutch horse Totilas has been sold to Paul Schockemohle the very talented German show jumper for a reported sum in excess of US$13 million. The horse has already left the Dutch stables of Edward Gal, the very talented dressage rider who had taken Totilas to the top of the tree by producing scores at the highest level of dressage competition, the like of which may never be seen again. The couple scored 10s as a matter of course. The horse was owned by a Dutch firm whose sponsorship with Gal had expired.
Schockemohle is reputed to have said that he hopes that Totilas will help produce for the future premium horses for use by the German National Equestrian team.
My wife and I are in disagreement. I say that the unusual bond between the rider Gal and the horse Totilas is such that it will be difficult for any other dressage rider, however capable, to produce similar results in competition in the future. My wife says that a special bond will soon be established by competent high level dressage rider of which there are several in Germany. As yet the new rider for Totilas has not been announced by the Germans.
For me the formula to produce a winning Grand Prix couple is:
An able horse + a highly skilled rider + relationship between rider & horse + (in this particular instance), something extra special - in French: ‘je ne sais quoi’
It is not just that the rider needs to feel the horse it is also that the horse needs to feel the rider in return.
In due course the outcome will become evident. Everyone will be watching very carefully the new couple’s performance - especially at the 2012 Olympics. It will be a very confident rider who sits on Totilas’s back at that meeting.
What do you think?