Totilas, dressage superstar, dies at age 20

Legendary dressage horse, Totilas, died Monday after a severe bout of colic. He was 20.

Bred in the Netherlands, the Dutch Warmblood stallion was one of the most outstanding competitive dressage horses in the world and the first horse to score above 90 in competition with rider Edward Gal. He was the former world record holder for highest dressage score in Grand Prix Freestyle Dressage.

Totilas won numerous medals from the World and European Championships, including the World Championships held in Lexington, Kentucky in 2010 where he won three golds. 

Totilas and Edward Gal’s world record freestyle test

Totilas was pulled into controversy over Rollkur — the hyperflexion training technique used on him and what critics say create artificial, extravagant gaits.

In 2011, Totilas was sold to ownership in Germany. With Matthias Rath in the saddle, Totilas competed in the 2011 FEI European Championships, where the pair took team silver. Totilas was injured in 2012 and didn’t return to competition for two years. In 2014, he won the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special at Aachen but was withdrew before the freestyle due to another injury. He was then retired after an MRI revealed bone inflammation in his left hind hoof. 

Totilas was also a sought-after sire and sired hundreds of foals in a stud career stretching from 2010 to 2020.

A message from Gal on the Glock Performance Center Instagram page reads:

Goodbye my friend
Heaven has a new star today.
But my heart is broken.
Rest in peace #Totilas.
You will always be remembered.
Together with you I experienced happiness and even grief.
Time passed by and wounds healed.
But my love for you lasts forever.
You honored me with your trust.
You were my friend.
My condolences to Matthias and all who had the chance to work or live with this exceptional stallion.
And my thoughts to all of you who loved him.
Good bye my friend.
I will miss you until we meet again

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