by Fran Jurga | 7 June 2009 | The Jurga Report
On Saturday, June 6th, Anky Van Grunsven's long reign as the national champion of dressage in The Netherlands came to an end. It ended not because she and her Olympic champion Salinero failed at the national championships at Brabant. Quite to the contrary, they were their usual selves, technically perfectionist, and scored an astounding rack of 9s, to total 84 on the freestyle on the final of the three days of competition.
Can you imagine scoring an 84...and losing?
Their problem was the exquisitely tailored Edward Gal on the Dutch stallion Moorlands Totilas. As tightly wrapped as was Salinero, Totilas was equally unwrapped. He moved like a horse with tendons not of steel but of true elastic. A horse reminescent of Blue Horse Matine at WEG 2006, Totilas is a nine-year-old Dutch stallion by Gribaldi who may be ready to take on the world. He will surely be aimed at the European Championships this summer and perhaps at the WEG in Kentucky in 2010.
The judges unanimously scored Totilas higher than Salinero, with an ending score of 86.7 on the freestyle, which Gal rode wearing a new buff-colored coat with contrast piping to enhance the horse's coloring. Dressage coats are traditionally dark colors and the light color with contrast piping really helps embolden the dark horse's frame.
One of the most interesting facets of this horse is what his rider calls his relaxed attitude, which certainly shows. Gal told Claartje van Andel of Dressagedirect.com that the horse progressively relaxed through the test in the huge indoor stadium, unlike other horses in the competition, and that "He enters the ring all sweaty, during the test relaxes and departs from it all dry! It's not as if it doesn't take any effort".
Anky was gracious in defeat, and complimentary of her competition. She will be back; this was only Salinero's second show since Hong Kong last August. Click here for all the scores.
Edward Gal posted this video of his new freestyle with Totilas on his web site, which has English pages where you can learn more about him and his horses.