He's not competed for eight months, so when Totilas made his return at the CDIO Hagen in Germany today (Saturday 28 April), the dressage fraternity was out en masse to see how he would fare. Despite this pressure, rider Matthias Rath produced a superb test to win.
Such was the interest in the pair that Matthias and the black stallion warmed up in a quieter working in area, but even so the crowd lined the arena to watch the pair prepare for their test.
It was standing room only as the pair went into the competition arena, but Matthias kept a cool head to score 83.809%, a personal best.
At the press conference, speaking via a translator, Matthias said he was able to relax and enjoy the test. "He is more in front of the leg now, submissive and we have got to know each other. He has been working very well through the winter," he said. "He gave me a great feel in the arena."
Matthias is now looking forward to debuting his new Freestyle test at tomorrow afternoon's Grand Prix Kur, with music by Michael Jackson.
Snapping at Matthias' heels was Britain's Laura Bechtolsheimer, who finished on 82.745% with Mistral Hojris.
"I'm very happy with how he went, and he gave an absolutely awesome performance," said Laura. "There was a mistake in the twos [two-time changes] which was annoying, but nine times out of 10 he gives me 100 percent and that gives me a lot of confidence."
Laura claimed it was something about 'the English water' that kept the 17-year-old performing so well.
In third place was Kristina Sprehe and Desperados II, the latest superstar to join the elite rank of horses capable of scoring more than 80% in a test.
In yesterday's Grand Prix qualifier, Charlotte Dujardin won on Valegro with 81.426%, with Isabell Werth in second and Anabel Balkenhol in third.
Charlotte's score was a personal best. "There was a couple of little things I know he can better on, but it's his first outdoor show of the year," she said after her winning test.
She praised the theme of the show, which is called Horses & Dreams Meets Great Britain. Union Flags are displayed everywhere around the showground, which was very fitting following the win by the talented British rider, who is now one of the very best in the world.
Horse & Country TV have been shadowing Charlotte throughout the three days in Hagen to discover what life is really like at an international competition, for the upcoming documentary 'Carl and Charlotte: Dressage Superstars'.