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  1. #1
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    Smile Totilas (A breeding perspective)

    Did anyone else read Scott's column on Totilas as a breeding stallion and representative of good breeding results?

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/...ation-breeders

    I hadn't caught it until today (it's from 2/28) and didn't see it out here.

    Really well written and true. No matter what else you might say or feel about Toto.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  2. #2
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    Great article...

    I'm not a dressage person (okay, I'm a dressage groom for a friend), but even I can appreciate the phenom that is Totilas. I doubt I'll ever see a horse like him again in my lifetime.



  3. #3
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    While I agree with some of the article, i. e. breeding for a sound mind, I'm not so sure I agree with everything else.......

    A lot of what Scott admires in Totilas is training, training and more training, something a breeder cannot control easily unless blessed with unlimited funds.

    Totilas as a youngster was not nearly as impressive as he is now, and that is why I attribute the positive developments to his training. The other factor is mileage.... Go to any of the bigger horse shows in Europe and you will find noise, umbrellas (large and small), lots of people that express their likes and dislikes of performances quite audibly, vendors, etc. etc. Most horses that grow up showing in that environment develop a blase attitude about it because it's just part of their lives.

    Going back to training... look at Voice, another stallion that is now ridden by Edward Gal. Before Edward got the ride, Voice was not exactly the kind of horse that made you go "WOW" .... but look at him now! Edward is a very gifted trainer and rider who can make a lot of horses look very good and, more importantly, can bring out the best in already talented ones.

    In summary, I think not only do we breeders need to look for ways to always improve our stock, but I also think that trainers/riders should strive to get better all the time.

    Just my opinion.....
    Siegi Belz
    www.stalleuropa.com
    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.



  4. #4
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    I agree Siegi, training is what makes a horse shine, but breeding did have a big part in creating a very rideable horse!
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  5. #5
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    I have always had huge respect for Scott- and this just enhances it. He is telling it how it is- and he has some damn fine studs at his place. Bravo, Scott, for giving people a reality check on all levels.
    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
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  6. #6
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    I'm with Seigi on this.
    Training.

    Granted, you must have something wonderful to train, but if the trainer focused on the wrong things at any time in the long process; this could have been a hard mouth, iron neck, horse with mediocre transitions, tension hampering his expression and making his gaits irregular, and a sour shut down mind.

    I don't agree that you 'breed for' a soft mouth and generous, calm mind, nor harmony with his rider's subtle cues, other than at a very basic level. Those are development foundation blocks that training can build into a wondrous cathedral or demolish to rubble.

    Scott has some good points, I think:
    "Successful breeding is not based on a formula, nor is it limited to a specific gene pool or popular trend. I love it when an individual like Totilas proves this."

    "His mechanics are well connected, and his naturally quick hind legs make the work easy for him. That effortless quality of performance becomes inherent to our breeding goals."


    If I am being completely honest, Totilas is not my ideal type of horse and I wouldn't be striving to reproduce his image through breeding.



  7. #7
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    If I am being completely honest, Totilas is not my ideal type of horse and I wouldn't be striving to reproduce his image through breeding.


    OK. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not exactly unbiased in this discussion, since I spent the mula and took the risk to breed to Totilas immediately. However, given the accomplishments of the horse as a dressage athlete, how would you describe your ideal dressage horse?



  8. #8
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    Maybe my post was not clear enough....

    I didn't say that training was the only thing important in the making of a dressage star - at least I didn't mean to. It's a combination of good breeding and then good training that makes a star in my opinion. Scott Hassler attributed a few too many things to good breeding only, and that's what prompted my post.

    And I agree with Shooting Star Farm - if Totilas isn't what you're looking for in a dressage horse, what is?
    Siegi Belz
    www.stalleuropa.com
    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.



  9. #9
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    D_Bald,

    Yes, we do breed for temperament. This is the one thing I find so wonderful about this horse. Yes, you can ruin a horse by taking advantage of a generous nature, but the top breeders do try to breed for that personality type. One that is easier for a pro to train and one that it easier for ammies (the biggest share of the horse market).

    He is a great representative of a stallion that could have made a great gelding (personality wise) for an ammie if his talent hadn't been enough to get him to the top and keep him as a stud prospect.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by siegi b. View Post
    And I agree with Shooting Star Farm - if Totilas isn't what you're looking for in a dressage horse, what is?
    I think that is the entire point, in all of the debates about Totilas. He is the game changer, and if you are attempting to breed, buy or exhibit International quality horses, and are not breeding/buying/owning horses who can exhibit the quality of his mind, his gaits, his balance, and overall performance- the ship just sailed- and YOU are not ON it

    And for those folks who are invested in any way- ownership, breeding programs, training, etc. in those other programs, well, they are just a tetch unhappy, just now.
    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
    www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
    http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/



  11. #11
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    We need to breed a few Ed Gals...

    I love Toto - but wonder if he'd have been the super star he is if he'd ended up with a different rider? It is a bit of the chicken or the egg question...



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by siegi b. View Post
    And I agree with Shooting Star Farm - if Totilas isn't what you're looking for in a dressage horse, what is?
    As someone who does NOT own a breeding program - I look for a horse who would be appropriate for me. I'd prefer a leaner type of horse, one who is going to most likely have more tendency toward lengthenings as the strength rather than collection.

    A horse who is SO GREAT at everything he does? Yeah, obviously that's incredible, never seen before, and you can't knock it. But the overall build Totilas has is the type on which I do poorly - so if I end up doing a custom breeding through a breeding facility, I won't be breeding for a horse like Totilas. For the temperament, and hoping for the same ability to both collect and extend? Sure. But I'm certainly not EG, and know Totilas would have been worth barely anything had I been the one riding him... so therefore why would I *want* a horse just like him? To me, it's not an insult toward Totilas - it's an acknowledgement of my humanity and (lack of) skills.


    That said, the article is from a breeding perspective, and I tend to think that means breeder, not ammy doing a one-time breeding... and while Totilas may not be the answer for all breeding programs, certainly he possesses most of what you want in your breeding program!
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

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  13. #13
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    Talking

    [Quote-DBaldStockings]I don't agree that you 'breed for' a soft mouth and generous, calm mind, nor harmony with his rider's subtle cues, other than at a very basic level. Those are development foundation blocks that training can build into a wondrous cathedral or demolish to rubble.[End quote]

    At any level, those are things that need to be bred for. If your mare is a brilliant, great moving, unrideable bitch, the last thing you want to do is breed her. I've been around long enough to know that these traits are heritable. The same with serious conformation flaws, they will come back to bite you in the sorry end.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  14. #14
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    TYPE, not conformation, TYPE. He is a well-conformed horse, just not my TYPE preference.

    http://www.superiorequinesires.com/s.../totilas.shtml

    There is a confo shot at the bottom. I prefer a rangier, less compact build.

    I was raised on Morgans, TBs, and Saddlebreds. Moorlands Totilas reminds me of the more thickset of those types, which is not my preference.

    A dog person could like Dobermann Pinscher type vs. Rottweiler type and neither is a badly conformed dog, just personal preference.


    Breeding for conformation, health, longevity, and temperament are vitally important. Type is the frosting on that particular cake.
    If you are a breeder, that is ALL you can do. What one makes of quality 'basic ingredients' depends on one's skillset, finances, and some good luck.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by merrygoround View Post
    [Quote-DBaldStockings]I don't agree that you 'breed for' a soft mouth and generous, calm mind, nor harmony with his rider's subtle cues, other than at a very basic level. Those are development foundation blocks that training can build into a wondrous cathedral or demolish to rubble.[End quote]

    At any level, those are things that need to be bred for. If your mare is a brilliant, great moving, unrideable bitch, the last thing you want to do is breed her. I've been around long enough to know that these traits are heritable. The same with serious conformation flaws, they will come back to bite you in the sorry end.
    Breeding from stock that demonstrates the qualities after training is NOT the same as breeding for 'a soft mouth'.

    And depending on why a mare is an unridable b---- I would be very likely to breed from her if the rest of her family was good natured and I knew there was mishandling involved. She would be a better choice than a faultily conformed horse that could not do the work long term.

    I do agree that temperament is an important heritable trait, but it is difficult to judge 'baseline at birth' if you only see the 8year old mature animal after so much interaction with the environment.
    Certainly Zebras and Mongolian wild horses are NOT temperamentally as easy to train as even resistant horses.

    You can cut the tails off 100 generations of mice -the tails will still be just as long on the 101st generation.

    If you select for shortest tails at birth for 100 generations, then the 101st will be measurably shorter -on average, anyway.
    Last edited by D_BaldStockings; Mar. 9, 2011 at 02:42 PM. Reason: typos



  16. #16
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    I happen to love Toto's type- but I prefer shorter backed, longer legged horses, with a mile of neck. In Toto's case, form an function unite for a brilliant outcome.

    I find, that the longer backed horses are just tougher to keep together, and produce a strong, yet elastic, back. The short backed guys- at least mine- can be tighter in the back, which is it's own issue, but my wheelhouse is working with that issue, so for me, I look for that particular body type.
    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
    www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
    http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/



  17. #17
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    In any top horse everything has to come together perfectly. Gal was the perfect rider for this horse. But there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that his inner qualities were in place when he was born. That is what makes Toto so special, he is the PERFECT blend of inner tranquility and electricity/athleticism. Those two traits are ideal but they are very hard to breed into the same horse.

    A trainer friend once said to me "we train talent" and that is what I believe in. Top horses are born and then it is up to us to manage them so that they live up to their inborn potential.



  18. #18
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    Enjoyed reading the article!

    I am an avid Toto fan. Like others have mentioned, it's hard to knock a horse who has done what he has done. He exactly the "type" of horse I like best. He does his job, and does it VERY well. I agree that Edward Gal does bring out the finest in the horse, and had Totilas been with some other rider, he most likely would not have become what he has become.

    I also agree that his temperament is another wonderful feature. YES, there is training to it, lots of training and exposure, but he DOES have a very good temperament. That is obvious. Sure he's been to lots of shows, heard the crowds clapping and cheering, etc... But so have the other Grand Prix horses. I could come up with 10 horses, easy, off the top of my head who have competed at the top levels, who have had tons of training, and obviously don't have such agreeable temperaments as Totilas does. Gribaldi, for example, looked to be quite a bit more difficult than his son, even under the same trainer.

    I agree with the poster that said we need more Edward Gals! Can we send one to my neck of the woods? A horse is only as good as his rider. There are lots of good horses out there, it's the top riders and trainers that I think we are lacking.
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  19. #19
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    Gribaldi, for example, looked to be quite a bit more difficult than his son, even under the same trainer.

    Gal has said Gribaldi was a more difficult type. The Vissers did great because they knew their mare and they knew the damline good enough to make that match (or they just lucked out, but I am guessing it was an educated decision).



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASB Stars View Post
    I happen to love Toto's type- but I prefer shorter backed, longer legged horses, with a mile of neck. In Toto's case, form an function unite for a brilliant outcome.
    First disclaimer, I've never seen Toto up close and personal - but a friend has, and says he is actually more a cobby type build, shorter legs in relation to his size, and of course, shorter in the body. Not the modern, long legged, lighter bodied horse that so many are breeding for today. And I'll admit, it is part of what I love about him (besides his obvious joy of showing off his ability)

    It is interesting that he was turned down for approval earlier in life - probably because he's not the "modern type" that the registries aim for now. The modern type is longer (rectangular), lighter, longer legs, etc - Toto is really not a modern type Warmblood.

    And also interesting - he doesn't have the longer, more rectangular body, so you would think the lateral work might be harder on him - yet his half passes flow so beautifully!

    In many ways, Toto is a contradiction - I'm really, really curious to see what his offspring are like - can he reproduce himself? If so, I am guessing his fees will go up We could look back and say "remember when his semen was such a bargain...
    Last edited by MysticOakRanch; Mar. 11, 2011 at 12:09 AM.



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