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April 17, 2013

Totilas Abuse Charges Dropped

On April 15, the Frankfurt, Germany, state attorney dropped all charges in the Totilas abuse case. The charges were originally filed last October by the German branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The charges were targeted at the horse’s owners, Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff and Paul Schockemöhle, trainer Klaus-Martin Rath and rider Matthias Rath. PETA had alleged that Totilas, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Gribaldi—Lominka, Glendale) ridden to 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.) team, individual and freestyle gold with Edward Gal before being sold to Schockemöhle and Linsenhoff, was abused since he was kept in isolation from other horses and submitted to rollkur during training. A group of six experts and animal welfare officer Dr. Madeleine Martin visited Totilas’ farm last December, seeking evidence of abuse.

In response to the charges being dropped, Klaus-Martin told Dressursport Deutschland: "The animal welfare officer quickly saw that neither the images nor the videos of any evidence came from here. And the criticism of the training, it is indeed more of a religious war. This debate being waged is not factual. But now we have the law on our side, and stating that this is absolutely not a case of cruelty to animals may be important for the entire equestrian sport."