Totilas debuts with Matthias Alexander Rath at the Schockemoehle Stallion Show

Matthias Roth and Totilas
Matthias Alexander Roth and Totilas

It’s hard to imagine how much pressure Matthias Alexander Rath felt when he rode the great Totilas for the first time in public (keep in mind this is a stallion show, not a competition). He’s only that the ride since WEG and the “newness” of the partnership shows. Obviously Rath is a talented and sensitive rider  — it’s a very respectable performance — but there are a few bobbles in the ride that show their partnership is still under development. Rath most likely uses his aids differently than Edward Gal and that will be confusing for Totilas. The errors are corrected immediately (and tactfully); they will likely not occur over time.

It must be terribly difficult to take over the ride on a horse that has been so “tuned” to a particular rider, especially when the horse has been trained to the highest levels. Each of us brings our own idiosyncrasies to the way we ride. In the case of a top rider like Edward Gal, his individual technique may be invisible to us, but crystal clear to his horses.

Some people have commented that it seems that Rath is riding Totilas longer in the neck. This would mean that Totilas would need to develop a new way of carrying himself and using his muscles differently.

Conventional wisdom says that it takes about a year for a horse and rider at this level to forge a partnership. It will be fun to see how Rath and Totilas progress over the coming months.

4 thoughts on “Totilas debuts with Matthias Alexander Rath at the Schockemoehle Stallion Show

  1. It was a nice ride, but I’m not yet impressed with Roth as Totilas’ rider. They obviously still have some kinks to work out, and several times he had to use very obvious cues to have Totilas respond. It will be interesting to see how they work together in the future.

  2. Hmm, I am not very impressed either. Rath looks like he’s holding Totilas back the whole time. Totilas looks pretty strung out, like his hindquarters are completely disengaged and not supporting him. I think Gal did a better job of keeping the energy flowing and keeping Totilas’ hindquarters underneath himself. Hopefully Rath will be able to work through some of these issues.

  3. I thought the bobbles could have been rider error/communication, sure, but also the horse is probably not in 100% show condition…he’s had a change in farriers, I would expect, and a change in bedding, a change in the arena footing where he schools, a change in saddles (Liz would know all about that!) and I thought I saw a very different type of noseband when he was being tacked up. Plus any changes in feed, joint or feed supplements, the way his legs are wrapped, etc. and who knows what he’s on to get him through the breeding season. It’s all different and he has to adjust. He looked a little uncoordinated, for him. I didn’t like to see his tail going, I don’t remember him doing that. I thought they were very brave and that they aced it, in a sort of off-Broadway preview/vignette sort of way. Opening night will be quite different, I am sure!

    Oh! And they are doing it again this Sunday so we can watch all over again.

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