Lucy and Ricky. Simon and Garfunkel. Willie and Waylon. Linguine and clam sauce. Hepburn and Tracy. Minneapolis and St. Paul. Wine and cheese. Belushi and Ackroyd.
Some things come in pairs.
Like Klimke and Allerich. Millar and Big Ben. Smith and Zenyatta. Prado and Barbaro. Palm and Rugged Lark. Secretariat and Penny.
We’ll always have Roy Rogers and Trigger. Wilbur and Mister Ed. I’m sure you have your own list of great pairs. And now I’ll add Edward Gal and Totilas.
Some things in life come in pairs. And work in pairs. Like stirrups and spurs and boots and socks. You’re always looking for the other one. One won’t work without the other.
Is it the same with horses? Can a great horse be passed from one trainer to another and still perform world-beating tests and freestyles? I guess we’re going to find out.
The Jurga Report is the last journalism outlet on the planet to lodge an opinion about the sale two weeks ago of the world-beater dressage stallion Moorlands Totilas. After mesmerizing audiences and judges at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky at the end of September, where he won three gold medals for the Netherlands for and with his longtime rider Edward Gal, Totilas was sold to German horse dealer Paul Schockemohle.
The impact of that sale is far-reaching. On the most superficial level, it affects the high-flying Dutch dressage team, who finally flew right over their longtime German rivals, after years of being in the Germans’ shadow except for Anky Van Grunsven’s persistent poking at the gold medal podium. Even without Anky, the Dutch soared, thanks to the huge scores contributed by Totilas and Gal.
Even though those in the know acknowledged that the Kentucky freestyle performance of Gal and Totilas was not their best-ever effort, it didn’t matter. Totilas was adored. People showed up to see him. He’s a star. The Dutch team and crew confided to me that they were a bit concerned. That some people were a bit out of control, they wanted to touch him, they wanted a piece of him–what might they do for a souvenir of him?
I shuddered. But there I was, at the warmup ring each day, watching Edward school him, trying to figure him out–just like everyone else. My photos of him aren’t very good, in the classic sense, because his ears flop around. He’s relaxed.
All I figured out was that he was the anti-Salinero. Anky’s great but high-strung horse had to be caught on the fly as he left the cheers and applause of the arena like he was shot out of a connon. Totilas stuck his nose out and looked around at the crowd in exactly the same gesture and neck motion as the laid-back Quarter horses over at the reining arena. He walked toward the ramp, flat-footed.
Totilas was sold while I was driving home from Kentucky. I was late to the party, journalistically-speaking. I starting reading the Dutch and German press, finding great headlines like the “Suicide Seat” that waited for whatever German rider might attempt to ride Totilas. I joined the Facebook page of the dear, desperate Dutch fans who tried to save Totilas. I read denial after denial of riders across Europe who absolutely are not planning to even try to replace Edward Gal on this horse.
So, maybe some things are still sacred. Soon we will find out if Paul Schockemohle believes they are.