Edward Gal

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Edward Gal
Totilas.jpg
Edward Gal with Totilas
Medal record
Competitor for  Netherlands
Equestrian
Olympic Games
Bronze 2012 London Team dressage
World Championships
Gold 2010 Lexington Team dressage
Gold 2010 Lexington Special dressage
Gold 2010 Lexington Freestyle dressage
Silver 2006 Aachen Team Dressage
European Championships
Gold 2009 Windsor Team dressage
Gold 2009 Windsor Freestyle dressage
Silver 2005 Hagen Team dressage
Silver 2009 Windsor Special dressage
Silver 2013 Herning Team dressage
Bronze 2011 Rotterdam Team dressage

Edward Gal (born 4 March 1970 in Rheden) is a Dutch dressage rider.[1] He and his most recent mount, the stallion Moorlands Totilas (nicknamed "Toto"), were triple gold medalists at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games,[2][3] becoming the first horse-rider partnership ever to sweep the three available dressage gold medals at a single FEI World Games.[2] Going into the 2010 Games, they had amassed multiple world-record scores in international competition, leading one American journalist to call them "rock stars in the horse world".[4]

Career[edit]

Gal began his equestrian career as a jumper at age 14, beginning with ponies and graduating to larger horses at age 20. However, when he discovered his horse did not like jumping, he switched to dressage. While enjoying solid success in national and international competition, he did not become a truly dominant rider until he began competing with Totilas in 2008. Gal would later say that he and his team understood that Toto was a special horse after their first Grand Prix competition.[4]

Since then, Gal has replaced his countrywoman Anky van Grunsven as the dominant rider on the world dressage circuit. In July 2009, he and Toto broke van Grunsven's world record score in Grand Prix Freestyle[5] with an 89.50% mark at Hickstead, England, and shortly thereafter followed it up with another record score of 90.75% in the same discipline at that year's European Championships.[6] In December 2009, at the fourth leg of the 2009–10 FEI World Cup Dressage series at Olympia in London, they extended their record in GP Freestyle to 92.30%, more than 10 points above the second-place finisher.[6] While not setting a world record, they easily won that season's FEI World Cup final in GP Freestyle at home in the Netherlands, winning by more than 7 points with a score better than their first world record.[7] The pair also have a world-record score in the Grand Prix Special discipline to their credit, having recorded 86.460% at Aachen in July 2010.[2][5]

Gal and Totilas were installed as the overwhelming favorites in the 2010 FEI World Games in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, their first competition outside Europe. Klaus Röser, head of the German dressage team that has long dominated the discipline, said about Gal, "That we can beat Edward; I don't think so, I don't believe so. We have to be realistic."[4] Röser's assessment proved correct, with Gal and Toto first leading the Dutch team to gold in the team competition, and then easily winning gold in Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle.[2][3]

In a piece in The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky that ran before the 2010 Games, dressage trainer Susan Posner pointed out that Toto was only in his second year in dressage despite being 10 years old, and said that his success illustrated how capable Gal was as a rider.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Gal is in a long-term relationship with teammate Hans Peter Minderhoud. Gal has been interviewed in several Dutch media outlets about his homosexuality and his relationship with Minderhoud.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Edward Gal, Dutch dressage rider". horseandhound.co.uk. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Gal and Totilas Win the Special in Style – Can They Make It a Hat-Trick of Gold?" (Press release). International Federation for Equestrian Sports. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Gal and Totilas Make It a Golden Hat-Trick on a Night to Remember" (Press release). International Federation for Equestrian Sports. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Cengel, Katya (26 September 2010). "Dutch pair setting pace for dressage competition at World Equestrian Games". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 30 November 2011. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ a b "Search Centre: Results by Competitor". International Federation for Equestrian Sports. Retrieved 30 September 2010.  Search fields: Competitor = Gal, Administering NF (National Federation) = NED (Netherlands), Gender=Male
  6. ^ a b "Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas Set New Dressage World Record" (Press release). International Federation for Equestrian Sports. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Cuckson, Pippa (27 March 2010). "Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas win FEI World Cup dressage final". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud, One Track Minds". Eurodressage.com. 10 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2012.