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View Full Version : "Totilas Can't Go Like That for Eight Years"



Mike Matson
Mar. 22, 2010, 09:16 PM
From the summary of the 2009 USDF dressage symposium in the February issue of USDF Connection:

"Horses like Totilas can't go like that for eight years in Grand Prix. The horses are fantastic, but they can't move that extreme without breaking down." - Jan Brink

Another Blu Hors Mantine?

BaroquePony
Mar. 22, 2010, 09:26 PM
Thank you so much for posting this. I tried to venture into that territory last month on the 'Wow Totilas' thread and get ripped a new one.

Sorry, I like horses too much and I expressed my opinion that I did not like the direction that Edward Gal was taking this beautiful horse in.

It is not about being jealouos, it is about feeling uncomfortable with pushing any horse to that type of extreme.

Glad Jan Brink had the 'whatevers' to speak up about it.

cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony
Mar. 22, 2010, 09:50 PM
We will let time be the judge of that. Gal only rides Totilas like that in the show ring. It is rare for any horse to be able to do Grand Prix for 8-10 years, so even if he does break down, I would hesitate to blame it on his movement. I am currently rehabing my two injured horses who do not move like Totilas :-)

Carol O
Mar. 22, 2010, 09:54 PM
I have wondered aloud about this. I hope he can go like that forever, but we will see...

Mike Matson
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:01 PM
It is rare for any horse to be able to do Grand Prix for 8-10 years


I believe you can find those "rare" ones at the SRS. :yes:

cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:07 PM
I believe you can find those "rare" ones at the SRS. :yes:

And those ones are especially rare, indeed.

pintopiaffe
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:27 PM
Aktion stayed at GP for how long?

As a breeder, I have wondered for some time if extravagant movement, and horses that are 'born' moving that way and moved up the levels more quickly than those that need to be developed up the levels, break down sooner and have more hock/stifle/etc. issues.

I don't have studies or numbers to back up my theory... but it's what I've been thinking <shrugs>

I haven't seen Totilas in anything but digivideo on the 'net, so really cannot comment on him/his movement. I'd love to see them in person and hope to at the WEG... then I'll be able to form an opinion. ;)

Kyzteke
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:49 PM
Jan Brinks mount, Briar 899, was doing GP for over 10 years. Absent, an Akhal Teke ridden by 2 different riders during his GP years, competed in 3 different Olympic Games (winning medals in 2 of them), so that is well over 10 years.

And those are just off the top of my head...I'm certainly not a dressage historian.

Mike Matson
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:55 PM
And those ones are especially rare, indeed.

Perhaps what's rare are the riders and trainers that can keep a horse going and enjoying his work for 8+ years at GP.

YankeeLawyer
Mar. 23, 2010, 12:54 AM
I am not sure that 8+ years of GP competition is the kindest thing for any horse, regardless of the training method. I can virtually guarantee that if asked, they would vote to be doing almost anything else. Just saying. ;)

maggiecat
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:13 AM
I believe the reference might be to compare the fact that Briar was at the top of world competition for 8 years (highest -ranked stallion on the BCM index for 8 years).

Cowgirl
Mar. 23, 2010, 04:49 AM
Salinero has been grand prix for 8 years, winning two Olympic gold medals; Bonfire was grand prix for 10 or 11 years. International level competition (Bonfire did his first GP at age 7, I believe).

egontoast
Mar. 23, 2010, 06:59 AM
Horses get injured regardless of how talented they are, how well they are trained, how well they are looked after.

One thing is for sure, if Totilas does become injured for ANY reason, people have already decided what the reason will be. :cool:

BTW , just as an aside, I wonder how long those sideways leapin, joint torquin bullfightin horses last?

caddym
Mar. 23, 2010, 07:19 AM
Great post eggon

dray
Mar. 23, 2010, 07:34 AM
The horses tell us when they are "done" and ready to retire. I think that perhaps Jan might have insight into the situation that I sure don't have because I'm not in that circle. I do wish the best for al ong and happy life for Totilas and it does seem like Gal has a pretty good track record. I don't think any top rider has to hang on to a horse who is physically declining due to age or other conditions because there are always great new horses coming up in need of great riders. At least, that is the view form my rose colored glasses.
"PollyAnna"

siegi b.
Mar. 23, 2010, 08:27 AM
I agree with Yankeelawyer that 8 to 10 years of doing well at the highest level of any horse sport is stretching it. I also think that if Jan Brinks really made that statement then my opinion of him just dropped a few notches.

Totilas represents the next generation of dressage horses, like it or not. He and Edward Gal have single-handedly managed to take the sport of dressage to a higher level and I admire them for that.

(... and I couldn't help but notice that the post where somebody stated that Salinero can now boast of over 8 years at the top level of his sport was largely ingored.... Guess it doesn't fit in with all those "expert" predictions of doom and gloom for Anky's horses? :))

Mike Matson
Mar. 23, 2010, 09:05 AM
BTW , just as an aside, I wonder how long those sideways leapin, joint torquin bullfightin horses last?


I'll be looking forward to your thread on that. :cool:

Mike Matson
Mar. 23, 2010, 09:06 AM
I also think that if Jan Brinks really made that statement then my opinion of him just dropped a few notches.


He did.

merrygoround
Mar. 23, 2010, 09:46 AM
You may want to listen to Edward Gal during his "Master's Class video", he at one point put the mare into an extravagant trot, which he called I believe something like"his show ring trot". Not something to use everyday, just something to pull out of his pocket to get those points.

As far as the comment goes about the direction EG is going. He has a horse that moves like that!!!!!!!!!!!

Nojacketrequired
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:13 AM
He and Edward Gal have single-handedly managed to take the sport of dressage to a higher level

At least in the front end.

NJR

ShannonLee
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:21 AM
Satchmo has now been going at least 7 years, as I saw him at Jumping Amsterdam in 2003 doing the GP. And he looked pretty darned good at the Masters. I think to stay sound both mind and body for that length of time the horse has to find the actual movements fairly easy to do ( in other words have a natural talent for the GP), they need good conformation, and then they need great horse management (both when riding and in the stable). It is certainly possible, and I think Totilas has all three in his favour.

carolprudm
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:33 AM
At least in the front end.

NJR
:lol:

alicen
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:33 AM
So who says he has to last for 8 years? The next Olympics are in 2 years. Maybe he'll be retired to stud after the games.

snoopy
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:38 AM
At least in the front end.

NJR



you beat me to it.

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:53 AM
This horse has already made it to the top.

So, if he becomes a lawn ornamant on some million dollar lawn, well, then he was a bright star that quickly burned in my book.

Sour grapes to say much else if you ask me.

Lovely boy, and yes as a poster said before, if he goes lame, the jury has spoken.

CR Gorge Girl
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:55 AM
At least in the front end.

NJR

:yes:

TouchstoneAcres
Mar. 23, 2010, 12:06 PM
I believe you can find those "rare" ones at the SRS. :yes:

You beat me to it, Mike. But those horses have better conformation for the job and better training so they can last. Flame suit on!

TouchstoneAcres
Mar. 23, 2010, 12:08 PM
Horses get injured regardless of how talented they are, how well they are trained, how well they are looked after.

One thing is for sure, if Totilas does become injured for ANY reason, people have already decided what the reason will be. :cool:

BTW , just as an aside, I wonder how long those sideways leapin, joint torquin bullfightin horses last?

Longer than the bull:)

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 23, 2010, 12:12 PM
You beat me to it, Mike. But those horses have better conformation for the job and better training so they can last. Flame suit on!

LoL

This gets more and more interesting.

Mike should start a thread: Bullfighting in the Olympics, with horses that have no movement because THEY will last for 10 years, along with the SRS NEVER SAY DIE!

Now I see where this agenda is going, lol, but it makes no sense!

ASB Stars
Mar. 23, 2010, 12:30 PM
I loved the combination Brink and Briar, for all of these years. However, Brink maybe sensing that his best years are...behind him...and most of these top dressage horses actually do make it past the 8-10 year mark- if they have done two games, they have probably been at this awhile. :yes: However, this kind of flambouyant movement doesn't ensure breakdown, either. Horses who were successful, but not quite as "over the top" have also gone by the wayside. Brentina and Rocher come to mind.

I expect the folks who have to compete against this horse to get a little teensy weensy bit cranky. But this is assinine. We'll see where the horse is, and how things go.

After all, Seattle Slew wasn't going to stay sound either, was he?

rebecca yount
Mar. 23, 2010, 12:43 PM
I really don't think the SRS horses and Totilas are exactly doing the same thing...

Competition is a lot different that what the SRS stallions do. And they are really very different kinds of movers. And the stallions specialize in what they are best at--plus the exhibition isn't as rigorous as a GP test. I also think the quality of what they do has gone WAY down since it became more commercialized so they can make money to survive.

So are you saying that a horse like Totilas shouldn't be asked for the best he can do? Or that he shouldn't be competed, just ridden in exhibitions?

esdressage
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:05 PM
There are exceptional horses who do exceptional things, and I don't know if it's possible to say that Totilas won't be able to hold up. I'm quite surprised that Jan Brink made that statement, actually.

We've all seen horses (obviously not at the level of Totilas, but this is for example's sake) hold up into their twilight years, competing and working, with nary a lame step. Then you have gorgeous, well put together horses who are lame practically from the get-go, though there's no explanation why! I wouldn't be surprised at all if Totilas wowed us with his longevity just as much as he wows us with his performances… or not… the point is you just never know. I really don't think his incredible movement is going to be the singular deciding factor.

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:29 PM
Well, it does seem like the rk'd horses last longer than the juiced ones... I'm just sayin.'

onehorseowner
Mar. 23, 2010, 02:12 PM
I think the statement is being taken a little bit out of context. What Jan Brink said is right, and therefor top Grand Prix dressage horses are rarely asked to move the same in training as they are asked to move in the ring.

Training at home consists out of a lot of LDR and gymnastic work to train the horse to be able to give a spectacular performance in the ring. I think I've heard Gal say in several interviews that he doesn't make his horses move at home the way they move in the ring. At least it makes sense.

I think Jan Brink knows that too. I think he meant "IF" you make a horse move like that all the time, then it won't last.

And besides, Briar was quit the expressive mover in the ring himself!

bort84
Mar. 23, 2010, 02:15 PM
The only argument that I've read on here that seems like a mild possibility is the idea that more talented horses are able to be trained to GP more quickly and, therefore, perform at a more strenuous level for a longer period of time.

However, the other side to that argument is that the more talented horses have an easier time doing this work and shouldn't break down sooner (all things being equal) and might even have less tendency to get sour since the work is easier for them. I tend to think a horse like Totilas could stay sounder longer because of his ability if managed properly. I have no personal experience with Edward Gal, but my assumption for this particular discussion would be that he has a pretty good handle on the management of his athletes at this point.

Anyway, I agree with Siegi that Totilas is a dressage horse of the future whether people like it or not. His athletic ability and freedom of movement just make so many parts of dressage easier for him. In my experience, horses that are more talented tend to have a slight advantage in the soundness department (again, all things being equal - conformation, management, etc).

I also can't compare him to Matine (relating to being injury prone) because I always thought the work looked difficult and rather mechanical for her. I know many people disagree with me, but I think Totilas is in an entirely different realm.

Just like GP jumpers don't school over 5' fences every single day, I doubt EG drills Totilas on his "show" piaffe, passage, extended trot, pirouettes, etc on a day to day basis.

egontoast
Mar. 23, 2010, 07:06 PM
I don't think Totilas' strengths have anything to do with front end extravagance so I'm always surprised when people focus on this.

It's like the old days when BTV supposedly cancelled out everything else.

What about the rest? What about the piaffe, the passage, the transitions in and out , the walk, the relaxation, etc etc.

So None of this counts because he has an extravagant shoulder?

I guess the judges are stupid then and ought to read Coth more often.

Sandy M
Mar. 23, 2010, 07:24 PM
Longer than the bull:)

I wonder, since bull-fighting on horseback is the sport of Portugal more than Spain, and in Portugal, the don't kill the bull (at least not in the ring! Surely, not ALL the bulls go to stud...but that's another story).

opel
Mar. 23, 2010, 07:28 PM
Agreed Egon. How is it that every other grand prix horse is allowed to have strengths and weaknesses. Totilas must be perfect though, in every respect, or it's an indictment on his training and his quality. So, the horse doesn't engage as well in the extensions as would be optimal. His other attributes shine. Especially (for me) the relaxation he shows while performing such incredible, expressive work.

Parrotnutz
Mar. 23, 2010, 07:41 PM
I don't think Totilas' strengths have anything to do with front end extravagance so I'm always surprised when people focus on this.

It's like the old days when BTV supposedly cancelled out everything else.

What about the rest? What about the piaffe, the passage, the transitions in and out , the walk, the relaxation, etc etc.

So None of this counts because he has an extravagant shoulder?

I guess the judges are stupid then and ought to read Coth more often.


EGON....thanks for making me spit my diet coke on the screen! I was thinking the same thing....how did those judges score him like that when some on COTH know better????

I *think* there is an expression that goes....Class Shows....some are showing rather low....or is that just the front end action?

Come on people....

Eireamon
Mar. 23, 2010, 09:02 PM
ASB Stars Jan and Briars years are behind them as Briar was retired last year.
I always loved the combination. They were not the flashiest but it was clear that Jan loves the horse and they had a great time.

Jan does not slip in my estimation because of this comment. It has surely been taken out of context. (maybe i have rose coloured glasses on but I don't care0 There is way too much reporting out of context that makes people look bad.

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 23, 2010, 09:16 PM
Tell that to some of the Arab people showing park, and THEY DO have weighted shoes and at some barns horrible training devices.

You'd like to say that that ruins a horse and then they'll learn but Ive seen some of them show until they are 18, going strong, tension, high front end, and yet sound as all get out!:no:

Small boned, flinging their legs like a crazy horse lol, and then passing the most rigorous vet checks known to man.

And Totilas is not under any undue stress, look at his expression, so I would say anybody's guess is as good as hers.

ANYBODY'S!

ASB Stars
Mar. 23, 2010, 09:18 PM
Thanks- I was aware that Briar had been retired, and that Brink had shown him the last year as kind of a grand farewell. Believe it or not. :lol:

I think that if this comment was not taken out of context, it is definitely either out of step, or fraught with jealousy.

My opinion.

mickeydoodle
Mar. 23, 2010, 10:42 PM
I certainly respect J. Brink as a rider and trainer, and he and Briar had much success in competition. However, I saw them at the last two World Cup competitions in Las Vegas, and I must say that Briar's hind legs were often way, way out behind him, especially in the medium and extended trots. Often the passage was also out behind, with a dropped back. My opinion.

GreekDressageQueen
Mar. 24, 2010, 12:07 AM
Thinking about Uphoff's Rembrandt. Lovely horse; he moved so light and forward and CORRECT. He was at GP for years. His rival Gigolo was also at GP for years. I think that's testament to good care, good breeding, and good training. Let's see how far Totilas will go, but he will likely retire early anyhow since he is also a breeding stallion. Let's hope he doesn't get hurt going at the dummy with those spider legs of his!

alicen
Mar. 24, 2010, 05:38 AM
Errr (raises hand timidly), can any one provide the context of Brink's statement?

siegi b.
Mar. 24, 2010, 09:39 AM
alicen - you'd have to ask Mike that question.... Mr. Matson likes to stir the pot on occasion and that's why I questioned Jan Brinks' statement earlier.

Mike Matson
Mar. 24, 2010, 10:32 AM
"Pot stirrer" reporting in as directed by sb, one of our resident "herders". ;)

The quote from the article is essentially it and was written by the USDF Connection editor. She was in attendance at the symposium.

5WhiteSocks
Mar. 24, 2010, 11:01 AM
Errr (raises hand timidly), can any one provide the context of Brink's statement?

According to his wife, he never said that <period>

But don't forget that his wife is a lawyer <lol>

egontoast
Mar. 24, 2010, 12:59 PM
Lawyer/model!

Source please?

allison finch
Mar. 24, 2010, 01:24 PM
BTW , just as an aside, I wonder how long those sideways leapin, joint torquin bullfightin horses last?

Not very long as they more often die by being gored. If they get slow or sloppy, they get gone.