The first woman to achieve Olympic gold in Dressage, Liselott Linsenhoff is the mother of Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, who is one of the owners of Totilas and stepmother to his current rider, Matthias Alexander Rath.

Watching this, would you think that Piaff stood just shy of 16 hands?  The performance, which was taped in Vienna in 1972, show the relaxation and maturity of both horse and rider (Piaff was 14 and Linsenhoff was 45 years old at the time).

The daughter of a German industrialist, Linsenhoff never feared financial insecurity if she didn’t make it to the top.  It’s clear she wanted her success to be acknowledged and that brought her to the Olympics.  But she wasn’t after success at any price.  In 1975, after she moved to Switzerland, the German authorities instituted proceedings to recover an unpaid tax liability of 30 million German marks.  Rather than subject herself to being judged on an international stage, she abandoned her plans to compete in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and retired.

What a shame that her daughter’s stepson doesn’t have the same freedom. After seeing this video, I can only imagine that he, too, thinks about how nice it would be to retire from the world stage, at least while riding Totilas:

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