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Friday, June 17, 2011

Foot Photos: Totilas Used His Shoes at German Dressage Championships at Balve Today, Set New German High-Score Record

German rider Matthias Alexander Rath riding Totilas competes in the Grand Prix Dressage Competition at the German Championships in the western city of Balve June 17, 2011 REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)

New rider, new trainer, new stable, new vet, new farrier...Dressage World Champion Totilas seems to be putting it all together and, with luck, hit a new kind of stride.

Under new rider Matthias Rath, the horse who won all three gold medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games for the Netherlands is hoping to be crowned champion under a new flag this weekend at the German National Dressage Championships at Balve. In today's Grand Prix, the black stallion set a new high record for a German horse, with a score of 81.021.

Excitement is building for the musical freestyle portion of the championships, where the new music for Totilas will be heard in its entirety for the first time. It was composed/created/compiled by music producer and dj Paul Van Dyk and has been widely touted in the international music and entertainment news.

Hooves of German dressage horse Totilas are pictured during the Grand Prix Dressage Competition at the German Championships in the western city of Balve June 17, 2011  REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)
   
Luckily for us, Ina Fassbender was on hand to take these photos. Totilas's new farrier is Franz Helmke, who is also farrier to Isabell Werth. As previously reported, Totilas's shoes have been changed from the simple open-heeled shoes he wore under Dutch rider Edward Gal, finetuned for him by Dutch farrier Rob Renirie. The new left hind would be described as a lateral extension shoe. Totilas's heart-bar shoes are explained at length in a previous Hoof Blog post.


Hooves of German dressage horse Totilas are pictured during the Grand Prix Dressage Competition at the German Championships in the western city of Balve June 17, 2011  REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)
   
Totilas is now shod with heart bar shoes in front and a combination of lateral adjustments on the hinds. The right hind would be described perhaps as a thumb print heel with a kicked-out trailer on the lateral branch.


German rider Matthias Alexander Rath riding Totilas competes in the Grand Prix Dressage Competition at the German Championships in the western city of Balve June 17, 2011  REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)
   
It's easy to see why Grand-Prix level dressage horses often receive increased lateral adjustments in their shoes. The pirouette requires the horse to lower his haunches, elevate the front end, turn...and not move forward. The test will require the horse to do the pirouette both to the left and to the right, to demonstrate balance.

German rider Matthias Alexander Rath trains with dressage horse Totilas during in Kronberg near Frankfurt May 9, 2011. The owners relocated Totilas from another stable to Kronberg on Monday. REUTERS/Alex Domanski (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT EQUESTRIANISM)

In this Alex Domanski photo of Totilas schooling at home, you can see where his hind fetlocks are headed in the piaffe. Also, notice the equipment he wears: lined bellboots and wraps in front, but behind he is wearing a full-length wrap/boot combination, similar to the one-piece stretch-and-flex "spats" (my nickname for them) sold in the USA by the British company Equilibrium. The one-piece construction prevents the inevitable rubbing between a bell boot and a leg wrap or boot, which can pinch or irritate the pastern and heel bulbs on the hind leg. As with any leg gear used during training, these boots have to applied properly, however, or the horse will be annoyed.

Thanks to Alex Domanski and Ina Fassbinder for aiming their lenses at the hooves.

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