With all the hoo-ha on the www about today’s ENORMOUS ANNOUNCEMENT I feel compelled to say something, even though I am too sad to want to.
Cees Visser and Paul Schockemoehle, you may be making financial hay from this transaction, but neither of you is making any friends today. I was asked a few days ago by EC’s Fearless Leader Akaash Maharaj if I thought that Totilas would still have been a super star had he fallen into the hands of another rider, instead of those of Edward Gal. I replied that without a doubt Totilas was an incredibly generous and physically gifted horse that would have risen to heights with someone else. I then added that I believed the partnership between Edward and Totilas was something very special – and not that I believe in magic, but if I did it would have been because I had been convinced by watching that partnership. To think that there was such a blossoming of a man and a horse (Edward was united with Totilas before Moorlands ever came along to foot the bills) and to now think it will exist no more, is beyond unfortunate, well past devastating, and on the way to wrist slashing.
Which one of us hasn’t enjoyed a moment on a horse that we knew we would be lucky to repeat in our lives? A moment where language had ceased, the human brain had calmed, the ego had melted away – and we were deeply within an experience of pure joy with an animal that could not register at the bottom end of an I.Q. test but was responding to the most subtle of physical signals? I am not given to hyperbole except of the ironic kind, and I am not a religious person; hell no. But watching Edward and Totilas live in Kentucky was probably as close as I’ll ever get to a religious experience. That it should come to an end because of the almighty dollar, or Euro, or whatever currency makes the amount paid sound most impressive, is something that could make a cynic of the most glass-half-full among us.
To separate Edward from Totilas at this moment in time is a travesty. I don’t care how much of a financial reward is extended to Edward. I’m sure it will never replace the feeling he must have had when he went from passage to piaffe, and back to passage, and knew that he would probably never ride another horse that gave so much, with such ease, to him.
To whomever is graced with the next ride on this pony carousel from the heavens, I wish you much luck. The world will be watching, and with not the most charitable eye. To Cees Visser and Paul Schockemoehle I say, enjoy your money. Because in the end, the money will be all you have. As the Beatles so melodically sang, money can’t buy you love.
This message has been approved by The Campaign to Keep Dressage From Becoming Show Jumping – where medals can be won with money in the absence of horsemanship.