Aachen, Germany—July 17
After a two-year absence from the upper echelons of the sport, Totilas made a triumphant return to the Aachen CHIO, winning the Grand Prix on a score of 82.30 percent with Matthias Alexander Rath.
|Matthias Alexander Rath and Totilas made a
triumphant return to the Aachen CHIO after two years
away from top competition.
Photo by Shannon Brinkman
The 14-year-old KWPN stallion repeated his triumph of 2011 with his German rider after not competing in Aachen for the last two years, ahead of Helen Langehanenberg with Damon Hill NRW and Adelinde Cornelissen with Jerich Parzival N.O.P. The performance boosted the German team to a convincing win the in the Nations Cup at Aachen.
The U.S. team at Aachen ended up in sixth. Laura Graves led the way with a Grand Prix score of 73.00 on Verdades, while Caroline Roffman rode Her Highness O to 70.40 percent and Adrienne Lyle and Wizard earned 70.34 percent. Tina Konyot on Calecto V was the drop score with a 67.58 percent.
Graves’ score was good enough for 13th individually in the class. Roffmann and Lyle ended up 21st and 22nd, respectively.
Totilas made the world stand up and take notice in his career with Edward Gal, but when Rath took over the ride in 2010, things were a bit shaky. First, Totilas struggled with an injury. He was back in 2012 and won the Grand Prix and freestyle at the Hagen CDI in April, but then Rath came down with mononucleosis and had to bow out of the London Olympic team. Totilas and Rath didn’t compete at all in 2013, but were undefeated at the German shows Kapellen, Wiesbaden and Perl in the lead-up to Aachen.
In spite of his good performances recently, hardly anyone had reckoned with such a spectacular comeback on the international circuit. The fact that the British Olympic gold medalist and reigning European champion, Charlotte Dujardin’s test with her world record-holder Valegro, went so badly here at the Soers, surprised the entire crowd in the sold-out dressage stadium. For many of the CHIO visitors one thing is sure: The Grand Prix was without doubt one of the most curious competitions in the past few years and proves that everything is possible in the dressage.
Dujardin and Valegro only managed to rank sixth with a score of 76.90 percent, having experienced mistakes in the pirouettes and the one-tempi changes. The Swedish rider Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven took fifth with Don Auriello and Isabell Werth with Bella Rose finished in fourth place..
Rath was definitely the biggest winner of the day. At the end of his performance, he threw his hands up to the skies in joy. The 29-year-old steered the Gribaldi son in a near immaculate performance and among others picked up a few 10s for his passage. “It is simply unbelievable for me. I have not even dared to dream about such a day,” said Rath.
|Matthias Alexander Rath and Totilas on their way to the Aachen Grand Prix win.
Photo by Shannon Brinkman
Rath profited slightly from a few mistakes made by his teammate Helen Langehanenberg with Damon Hill NRW, who had a problem with a transition from passage to canter as well as a few misunderstandings on the final center line. After her absence from the German Championships in Balve and the World Championship trials in Perl-Borg, she returned with an overall convincing performance that earned her a score of 81.22 percent. “I am very happy that Matthias is back. Damon Hill was really good today. My mistakes at the end were a shame and I hope that it won’t happen again. My horse knows the test very well, which shows how intelligent he is, and today he was a bit quicker than me and I reacted too slowly,” commented Langehanenberg.
Third place individually went to Adelinde Cornelissen with Jerich Parzival on 80.98 percent. The team from the Netherlands also took silver.
German rider Isabell Werth was visibly delighted with the performance of her aspiring young horse, Bella Rose, which was honored with standing ovations. The most successful dressage rider of modern competition history was awarded 79.58 percent. “I thought I could have even scored a 12 for the final centre line,” beamed the German dressage star. “I am really moved by this horse. She is my No. 1, the best horse I’ve ever ridden.”
Ultimately, the German team won the Lambertz Nations’ Cup with a huge lead, for the fourth time in a row. Together Rath, Werth and Langehanenberg achieved a total score of 243.14 points. The Dutch team comprising of Cornelissen, Marlies van Baalen with Miciano and Hans Peter Minderhoud with Glock’s Flirt, followed in second place on a total score of 223.38 points, ahead of Spain (220.60).
In an interesting note, the spectators could judge the performances as well, via an application developed by SAP especially for the CHIO Aachen. However, the results of the public’s judging differed greatly from the jury’s assessment. In the spectators’ eyes, Langehanenberg won with a score of 85 percent.
Laura Graves was all smiles after her
|Photos by Shannon Brinkman|