Totilas' Owners being Sued by PETA

Matthias Alexander Rath and Totilas
And The Totilas saga continues...

The German branch of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has filed a complaint stating that Totilas is "being treated unethically and in violation of German animal welfare laws". More specifically the horse is being ridden using forced hyperflexion (rollkur) and is kept stabled for 22 hours a day in constant isolation from other horses.

The complaint has been filed against Paul Schockmohle and Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, Totilas's owners and Matthias Alexander Rath, his current rider.

It is well known that Totilas is regularly ridden using the controversial method of rollkur (examples can be seen in my previous posts here) which essentially means his chin is forced to touch his chest for extended periods of time. It causes bone deformities, psychological problems, musculature problems, balance problems as well as breathing problems. Rath claims he only does it for short periods of time and he is forced to ride this way as it is the way Totilas was ridden previously by Edward Gal.

Germany is quite strict in regards to animal rights (and rightly so!) and have even passed a law that makes it illegal to trim horses' whiskers as it robs them of one of their senses. So surely rollkur is something that should be addressed and those who use it should be punished severely!

Rath reveled to a German television programme that Totilas is kept in a stable for 22 hours a day, and only taken out for exercise. PETA think this is unacceptable and state that horses like to live in herds and to walk for at least 16 hours a day - "A two hour training session cannot replace this".

I cannot agree with this more. I agree that sometimes 16 hour turnout is impossible but I have a huge problem with horses being kept in 24/7 or only out for an hour a day. Horses need time to be horses, groom each other, roll and just do horsey things - yep its a pain in the arse when they come in covered in mud but a mentally healthy horse is a physically healthy horse! Just look at Carl Hester's horses who are turned out everyday - they look fab and are at the top of their game ... he has it spot on!

Rath makes no secret that Totilas does not get any social contact with other horses or  having time in a field. He is occasionally brought out for in hand walking in a halter. The more I hear about how he is kept the more I feel sorry for him, it's hardly a superstar lifestyle for such a superstar horse.

The German prosecuting office will decide whether further investigations are warranted to determine if the owners and rider have violated Germany's animal welfare laws.

This is one case I'll be following really closely. Here's hoping some justice can be done for Totilas and that they set an example to those that think rollkur is a perfectly acceptable training method! 

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