Are his steps uneven or is he lame? Emotions were high after the Grand Prix of Matthias Rath and Totilas in the team rating of the European Championships in Aachen. The different opinions also showed in the judges’ results: Three judges (from Danmark, the USA and Great Britain) saw the black stallion in first place, while German Katrina Wüst and French Jean-Michel Roudier saw the rider from Hessen in 11th and 12th place. After the performance Matthias Rath cheered, he felt he had delivered a good performance. “I don’t know how one can get the impression of 72 percent,” Rath shook his head, seemingly bewildered. “He hesitated once during the rein back and two of the one-time changes were a little bit on the short side – but to receive a 5? What do the judges do if some horse doesn’t jump the changes at all?”
The whistles from the audience at the beginning of the performance were difficult to assess: were they for the controversial trot that only received scores of 4 or 5 by some judges – or because the live scoring did not work (or was switched off) during Rath’s performance? “I was surprised by the whistles,” so the rider said, “but after some time I just stopped listening.”
However, Matthias Rath left the great show jumping arena with a good feeling and everybody around him was also content. “They are not all amateur,” the second place winner of the European Championships 2011 said. Matthias Alexander Rath was not angry with the judges. “This is part of our sport. In the first place I just think it is a pity for the team. Now Kristina has to give her everything.” Not to compete in the special is not an option for Rath: “Of course I will compete. One doesn’t simply give up only because some people have a different opinion.”
German national coach Monica Theodorescu showed a more reserved reaction: “I was far away. The judges are much closer to the performances and might have seen something they didn’t like. We now talk about those who awarded too little points but maybe those who gave 80 percent will also have to justify their choice in the end.” Theodorescu was not able to discern a scandal. “That’s nonsense. However, at such a level such differences are not supposed to happen.” The question if she were able to see that Totilas did not move evenly the coach answered with: “No, I was too far away for that, I couldn’t see it. I felt the performance was close to 80 percent – but as I already said that was just a feeling, I was far away. During warm up he was still good.”
Now the pressure for last German rider Kristina Sprehe with Desperados is even greater. Currently in the lead is Hans Peter Minderhoud with Glock’s Johnson TN (77, 586 percent).