Spanish Heart + Soul at the WEG Freestyle

By now you’ve probably caught wind of Edward Gal’s amazing ride on Moorlands Totilas with their record breaking 91.082 score in Dressage Freestyle at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, but unless you were one of the lucky 30,000 dressage fans in the stadium that night you may not have witnessed one of the most animated and showstopping performances of the sport. Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz rode his Spanish horse named Fuego (meaning Fire – aptly named I must tell you) to the absolute delight of everyone present. Did I say rode? More like danced. Strutted. Showed off. Hotdogged if you will. You need to see this:

What’s so fun about this ride is how much it reminds me of an actual warrior riding his worthy mount at a celebration. The others are more like royal dandies gamboling about with no sense of having been to nor ever getting close to a battlefield. I’m not making a judgment here – but as dressage itself is based on warrior training I’m just sayin’ this pair seemed more authentic to me.  Munoz-Diaz rode it different. Wonderfully so!

When he one hands down the center you know for certain he would be able to wield a sword. When his horse goes a little kooky as the crowd erupts in appreciation at the end of their seven plus minutes of accomplishment you get to appreciate just how much horse that dude was riding one handedly.

Unfortunately for the pair they rode on a night when technical marvels entered the riding ring so they placed out of the medals but at the top of many people’s own collection of golden moments from these games. I, for one, will never forget their display. Here’s another video of their ride – nicely edited. Oh, and one last thing – before Fuego entered the dressage test ring – he leaned down and tried to take a nice bite out of the decorative greenery surrounding the area. A horse is a horse is a horse is a horse. A light moment that proved the relaxed nature of these two as they set about preparing for one of the biggest performances of their lives. Me? I couldn’t eat before my ACTs or any finals – lol.

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5 Responses to “Spanish Heart + Soul at the WEG Freestyle”

  1. draftrider Says:

    I too was there and was one of those that boo’ed when his scores came up. I thought he was robbed of a medal!!! His performance and that of the horse were beautiful/graceful and flawless and they finished 5th. Riders that placed higher than this pair had mistakes in their rides and a few of the higher placed riders were obvious ‘jerk and kick’ rides. Very unpleasent to watch where this pair was magical. Its so disappointing when this kind of performance scores so poorly and the judges reward the jerky/kicky riders. The crowd clearly knew who had the best performance of the evening. I hope Mr Diaz finds out through outlets like this how appreciated his performance was, despite the scores… I also got to watch a few of his warmup’s throughout the week… and those of some of the other competitors. Mr. Diaz was soft and smooth and steady throughout his rides on this horse and in my mind stood out early…His countryman can be very proud of this pair….

  2. I was able to procure a ticket to the Dressage Freestyle at the very last minute, and it was some of the best money I’ve ever spent related to horses (and believe me, I’ve spent a LOT! LOL) I couldn’t agree more with the previous comments, watching Fuego was absolutely unforgettable. I’ve since tried to learn more about that horse and rider, and I learned that Fuego has been nicknamed “the white Totilas”. Perhaps, instead, the winning horse should be called “the black Fuego!” I’m certainly a member of his fan club now!

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