Would you take a present of him?

Like many horse lovers all over the world, I’ve been watching with regret the steady decline of the original dressage ‘Wonder Horse’, Totilas.  A tiny bit of me (a VERY tiny bit.  The bit that gets overruled by the rest of me every time I see the double spur-jab at the start of the video below) does feel just a tincture of sympathy for Matthias Rath, though.  No matter what he ever does with this horse, he will always be compared unfavourably to Edward Gal.  I will never forget the tingling in my spine the very first time I saw his record-breaking freestyle with Totilas and I don’t think any performance by Rath will ever recreate my feeling of awe that day.

Like many others, I drooled over every Totilas video that was posted to YouTube.  Whenever I was with my Dressage Ireland friends, Totilas always came up in conversation as we discussed his paces, his elegance, his presence, his latest performance.  What got me, though, was the utter seamlessness of his downward transitions.  How could he go from extended canter to collected walk, just like that?

Anyway, one day, the obvious question came up.

“If someone offered you Totilas, what would you do?”

I think I shocked all present when I said, without hesitation, “I wouldn’t take him.  What would I do with a horse like that?”

My friend tried to convince me that I could learn from him, he could be a schoolmaster, but I knew damn well I would never be ably to ride one side of him and I stuck to my guns.  I was fifty years old – what the heck would I be doing on the world’s Wonder Horse?

Since Rath and Totilas made their comeback, I’ve been wondering how my fellow horse bloggers would feel about this same question, so I’m putting it out there :

Imagine you have an incredibly wealthy relative who has been viewing your horse-career with fondness and admiration.  He/she buys the world’s top horse in your favourite discipline and offers it to you – for YOU to ride and compete.

So for dressage, you’re being offered Valegro.  Sigh…

This is fantasy, so we can even go back in time to and you could have an Equestrian Legend.  Showjumpers, you’re being offered Milton.  Maybe American riders might prefer Gem Twist?

Eventing riders, you’re being offered Mark Todd’s Charisma.  Or the great Lenamore.  Or your favourite present-day eventer.

Western riders, you might be offered the horse that currently the NRHA Open Futurity champions, Not Ruf At All, or another horse that you think is the best ever (showing my ignorance here, but I’m smart enough not to make a total fool of myself by suggesting names in a discipline I know nothing about).

You’re into Endurance?  Pick your favourite star horse ever.  He’s yours.

Carriage driving is your thing?  You’re being offered the smartest four-in-hand team in the world.  Do you want them?

I’d love to hear what you all think.  Who is your favourite horse of all time, in your preferred discipline, and would you take a present of him?


Photo courtesy of Franz Venhaus via Flickr.com. Click on photo to view original.




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