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The natural brilliance in the horse’s athleticism and gaits buoyed the pair into a competitive position, but the overall freestyle was wrought with errors, lacking harmony and impulsion, and showed almost no artistic interpretation or coordination with the music. In contrast, Steffen Peters and Akiko Yamazaki’s Ravel


performed a brilliant freestyle, with an enormously high degree of difficulty and an unprecedented level of harmony and relaxation for contemporary dressage, let alone upper level, international dressage. Their transitions were cleanly marked and effortlessly executed. The choreography and interpretation of their new Avatar-based score were near genius. At the end of their test, the crowd went wild. Their score was posted, and the crowd booed loudly. Peters scored an impressive 82%, but it wasn’t enough to top Totilas and Rath at an undeserved 82.825%. At the prize-giving ceremony, again, the members of the crowd went wild for Peters and Ravel—clearly demonstrating their opinion on who should have won. Would the outcome have been different if Akiko


Yamazaki had pulled out for an interview after Paul Schockemöhle? Who knows? Have dressage judges been so star-struck by Totilas and the amount of money spent on him that they are biased? Again, who knows?


What I do know is that as sure as the Germans would like to be winners of the gold medal in 2012, much of the dressage-watching world recognizes that Totilas and Rath have ridden a wave that is showing signs of breaking. The top six horses in the Aachen Freestyle scored 82.825, 82., 81.775, 79.825, 79.700 and 78.725. Gone are the days when scoring 70 or above makes a horse and rider internationally competitive. There are now multiple horse and rider combinations capable of scoring over 80%. So, in keeping with our opening motif, the screen now


shifts back to the title, COMPETITIVE DRESSAGE 2012. We begin a montage of characters: Totilas and Rath, Peters and Ravel, Cornelissen and Parzival, Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris, Isabel Werth and about ten Grand Prix horses. Unknown territory lies ahead. I’m not going to say that Totilas is Darth Vader and Ravel Luke Skywalker— I know Contango is Ravel’s father, but I am going to say that there are multiple episodes ahead of us, and I, for one, will be glued to my screen.


Scot Tolman has been breeding


Dutch Warmbloods for over 20 years at Shooting Star Farm in Southwestern New Hampshire. Read more of Scot’s writing at shootingstarfarm.com.


FAUST CA


2005 handsome gray gelding sired by Fuerst Gotthard X Broadway Romance (Bordeaux).


Faust is a multi-talented individual suited for a variety of disciplines. He has been


shown successfully in dressage, performs clean flying lead changes and loves to jump. Additional potential as an equitation mount, hunter-jumper, and three-day eventer. For more information please view our website at www.crossenarabians.com or call to schedule an appointment.


66 September/October 2011


Crossen Arabians & Warmbloods Tom and Susan Crossen 860-742-6486


www.CrossenArabians.com


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