Dressage star Totilas is causing controversy even in death, with his previous owners fighting in court over the rights to market his frozen semen.

German sport horse supremo Paul Schockemöhle this week obtained an injunction to stop Totilas’s Dutch former owner Kees Visser selling semen which had been stored for over a decade. The Oldenburg regional court in Germany recently ruled that the sole distributor is Paul Schockemöhle Hengsthaltung GmbH.

But Visser announced yesterday that he will appeal, arguing that the Oldenburg court does not have jurisdiction in the matter. Schockemöhle is understood to be willing to take the issue through the Dutch courts if necessary.

Visser sent shockwaves through the dressage world at the end of 2010 when selling the recording-breaking world champion to Schockemöhle, after multiple medal successes with rider Edward Gal. The black stallion never found the same form with new rider Matthias Rath and retired from competition in 2015. Totilas died in December 2020 at age 20 from complications arising from colic.

Schockemöhle alleged that Visser handed over 400 straws at the time of sale, and it was agreed that the few straws retained by Visser would be used on his own mares only. So after a hiatus of 11 years, in early February Schockemöhle was surprised to see Totilas sperm being offered for sale in Holland by Holstud, where Totilas had been stationed when still owned by Visser.

The stud’s website says that a “considerable amount” of semen had been collected in 2010 and is still of “pristine quality“ having been under Holstud’s careful supervision in the interim. Because of its high value, Holstud decided to make it available though ICSI fertilization, which involves the sperm being injected directly into the egg, making optimum use of the straws. The fee is €3,750 (CAN$5,560.)

Totilas’s son Total Recall set a record at the foal auction in Vechta in 2012, selling for €200,000 euro. In Germany alone, Totilas has 28 licensed sons.