What a show Fuego XII and Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz gave the crowd for the Musical Freestyle.

As the evening unfolded it seemed that one after another the riders and horses gave better and better performances.  As Bob and I watched we agreed with the judging and placing of the entrants until we made it into the second round.  We just enjoyed a spectacular show.


I went to see Fuego XII, up close and personal, as I hope to breed Fiesta D to him next year.  I was also hoping to see Senor Cardenas personally; we have been corresponding via email.  Well our tickets placed us completely around the arena and across the entry lane from him.  I vowed to not have any disappointment over such a small item as I was there after all to see the performances of the world’s greatest horses and riders. 


I had been watching the show all week, at home, on FEITV.  Of course during the broadcast the warm-up area was often shown.  As I walked to my section of seats in "C", more or less located at F at the rail I noticed the most wonderful opportunity opening up to me.  We were at the warm-up arena and entry lane where everyone passed before and after their performance.  I was elated.  We checked the schedule and I made my plan, I was going to see my hero at 9:00pm, up close and personal after all.  With great seats after all. 


We were not disappointed.  I kept careful attention to the time. I met the Canadians seated next to me and the couple from Boston on the other side.  We chatted between performances.  At 9:00 I headed to the gate to see Fuego XII.


I watched him for 15 minutes while he warmed up and Juan Munoz Diaz talked to his team and coaches.  He walked right in front of me and stopped as they approached the entrance of the arena.

What a moment, and what a horse.


I ran to the stands and made it to a spot where the attendant allowed me to stand during the performance, not at my seat, but I was about at A and had a great view.


There was a little laughter to start, as Fuego was distracted to rub his leg, then we saw the performance of a life-time.


The music started in the classical Spanish style, as Fuego XII warmed up the crowd.  The music really set the mood, snapping castanets and strumming guitar in perhaps Malaguena, sorry I can’t remember yet, and the stunning beauty of the silver gray stallion was a site you could not take your eyes from.  The music changed tempo as the pace changed around the arena but they held your interest, perhaps better than others, because of the snappy tempo that matched Fuego's energetic pace.


When the Spanish music faded into mostly percussion the pair rocked the house with passage and pirouettes to the beat, they headed across the arena to strings and orchestral background then floated as the theme of "There's a Summer Place" showcased the effortless one tempi changes.  When Munoz Diaz dropped one gloved hand to his side while performing these changes the whole audience gave a cheer.  It was chilling, everyone shared the moment and the cheering continued as they wrapped one end of the arena and did it again.  At that moment Fuego XII and Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz had stolen the show.


The crowd was on their feet and the noise gave the star performer a startle, but for a moment.  I can't imagine the joy in the hearts of Munoz Diaz and Senor Cardenas and the whole of Spain for that matter.


I had wondered if the performance they were so happy with at the Grand Prix Special was going to leave Fuego XII a little tired for this show, I thought he had given all there was in him but, I was so wrong.  The team may have given 110% for that show but here they found their extra reserve.  It was truly all you could expect from each one of the pair, it was an unforgettable performance. 


The World knows Fuego XII and Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz.


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When ever I tell someone about my horses I like to say Pura Raza Espanola because they have the most important thing of all, they have registry in ANCCE. I am in favor of the standards of the ANCCE for the horse that belongs to Spain,
I am trying to understand your concern about the "grays" being penalized as you will recall the wonderful Blu Hors Matinee was gray.
I also have a Morgan horse, baroque but smaller, I wonder if the judges are more fond of the sweeping gaits of the taller horses. We can see the beauty of the art of dressage in various breeds, tall or short, long backed or not.
I was as proud as a parent, they (the crowd), without reservation, really liked what they were watching and by the cheers VOTED. We need more exposure to this breed of horse being ridden in such a classical style.

The PRE is the artist's horse, in more ways than one. Have you seen the book by Robert Vavre showcasing the horses and home of Senor Cardenas.

It may be that by more people falling in love with dressage and learning about the possibilities of developing all breeds by this classical method the judges will not be able to penalize a smaller horse.

We all can influence the changes needed to open this competition to all breeds in a fair manner.
Everyone on this discussion board obviously has some intelligent understanding of what real classical dressage should look like! BRAVO BRAVO!!!! Nice to support the Spanish Team who DESERVE IT.....but EVEN NICER that the team produced a horse like Fuego and showed the WORLD what REAL dressage is about! It isn't so much about nationalism.....it is about power with ease and correctness and with a huge smile on the HORSE'S face! I just watched the video again and cried. It was moving in every way imaginable! I just thought, "thank you, God, that you are helping dressage through that ride." I know the dressage world will not be able to ignore what happened. I just saw that NBC never even showed Fuego's ride. But we won't forget it and we won't let the world forget it!
Hi Margaret,
I so agree with you about seeing correctness and ease in this sport. I believe we are in the beginnings of the changes to modern dressage that will put an end to the over-corrected and misued methods.
If we have patience with our progress and study the classical lessons and raise the level of understanding of how dressage develops the horse we should be able to influence change.
Watching the ballet of the horse and expression in the movements is something to bring a person to tears. Consider that the communication is between a human and a horse via hands, legs and the seat with results that are fluid, graceful and appear to be seamless or effortless on the part of both.
i am hoping to find more world class dressage on the television in middle America. i wasn't able to get this without FEITV,
Now lets hope Fuego XII gets a much deserved vacation.

A pleasure to meet you both at the games

Hope to see you in the UK in 2012

Best the Boston couple :)
Alida & Hal
We had so much fun, Alida. "The Boston Couple"

I was hoping to find you on the other site you mentioned.
Yes, I think we can stay in contact so we can see each other at the next games.
Maybe we can get a huge group organized to go.

Your husband must have been frozen by the time you made it to your car. Hal was a trooper!

I hope to see your horses pictures here in the future. I would like you to post information about your favorite clinician, I forgot his name.

So happy to hear from you,
Karl Mikolka

You can look at his web site at Karlmikolka.com

He is a true professor of dressage :)

A day in a magic night
Kentucky moon keep on shinning
A miracle of a Little White
Kentucky moon keep on shinning

No black, no warm, just spanish blood
and never more a warmblood
Like five hundred years ago;
New land, new pasture, lets PRE go !

A new White Dream Horse
keep on shinning !
Keep on firing !
Firing over Equestrian World
Gracias, me gusta mucho esto,
This was a dream come true and the opportunity for the Pura Raza Espanola to
be center stage in front of the world.
I have been watching Fuego XII since 2007, his routine was constantly improving.
Some people dont know the history of the Spanish horse, the history of the
Spanish Riding School. the pride for the pure bloodlines of the horse that carries the name of
its country. Maybe after watching the Freestyle done with so much energy and with such a gentle touch they will want to learn more.

my instructor was telling me how well trained and willing was Fuego that he would do the one tempi changes without hands. just the movement of Munoz Diaz seat and leg aids gave enough cues for the movement. There was NO pulling or tugging or jerking the horse as I saw on the others. This was a horse in natural collection, light aids and with a willing and energetic response. They looked like they were dancing and haing so much fun.
How EXCITING!!!! Yes, the world is quaking, isn't it?! It is eager for the truth, eager to see real dressage once again. I feel so bad that warmbloods are not so well understood as they should be. They have real physical problems from their size....length especially. I don't think they can be trained truly classically and be able to show correctness when the pressure is so great in the judging to achieve what is impossible for their bodies. So they breed hotter and hotter animals in some attempt to keep up with this pressure. What control is left to them? They need another kind of understanding.....more freedom.....more natural like in the pasture. I think the only hope for so many is this freedom.....but they will never get this because the basic understanding is all wrong in the training we see. A few trainers understand this inner desire for the horse to be free and they reflect this in the riding but it is so rare.
I wish you all the best with your endeavor. We support you here 100%. The Andalusian, Lusitano and even Lipizzaner, when bred really well are beautiful examples to all of what natural motion we can have in a competitive world that stands up to the real test of what is correct. It is something so many can only dream of knowing. But the more we see of it the more we will understand what we have been missing all along.
Where will you be showing your horse? Can you give us any recent photos of your training sessions.
How did you develop your ideas and understanding of dressage? I've been reading the other comments and am interested.
I really like your attitude and approach. I don't have the years of experience in dressage that you have but was very lucky to have found my wonderful instructor, Ellin Daum, also on Barnmice.

We have (I follow, she leads) followed Jean Claude Racinet's teaching. A very interesting thing he once said -Americans don't appreciate their own breed, the Quarter Horse, he said his best horse was a mare QH with a wonderful work ethic and great motor.
I found that to be curious as they are usually built downhill, yet he was keen on that mare.

Ellin has us do lots of "counted walk" and I have learned lots from that. I had a horse (
Andalusian mare) actually hesitate with her foot up, waiting for my next motion from my seat as she was paying such close attention to movements. We also trot a lot and change the tempo just by changing our posting.

The most education is probably rider education in my case. I am now so much lighter with legs and hands and I know my horses appreciate that.

One of the horses at her school (same Andy mare) was able to feel the thumb and finger movement -just like the textbook said- and I called it "kitten tails" when I held the reins. I can't imagine holding 10 pounds of weight as resistance in my hands, that would be much more that my teacher asks for.

I read,but didn't understand Podhojsky, as a teenager. Now that Ellin has helped me I feel more appreciative of his writing.

I will be reading more of your articles.
I have just added the following from your website:

Classical dressage, according to statements of renown riders, trainers, clinicians and judges,
requires that the rider’s aids be unseen and that the horse appear to do the movements on its own. In other
words, the rider’s legs should not be thrashing against the side of the horse, nor swinging for tempi changes. In
other words, the rider’s body should be soft and still and not be a board being driven forward into the shoulders
of the horse. In other words, the rider should have not clenched hands/arms/shoulders and only soft contact with
the bit, not the heavy handed pulling seen today. Classical dressage requires the rider to place the horse into
the movement, then release the horse, allowing the horse to complete the movement unconstrained by the

Didn't we see this from Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz?? and with Fuego XII-

But think of the other rides and the scores given, even with the tug, push and poke from those riders, there seems to be some disconnect in what is being scored highly and how it is achieved. We have, it seems, lost the Art of Dressage when it becomes the Business of Dressage. Some else on Barnmice mentioned the trainers are rushing to get results. Those result just can't happen without the push, pull we see.

Well this is the same lesson I get from my instructor, take the time, give the horse the room to move forward and it will develop in time.


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