USPRE pays tribute to Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz and Fuego XII for an exhilarating performance at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
Juan Manuel never doubted his potential achievements with Fuego and recalls a particularly lonely evening in a Dusseldorf Pizza parlor on Christmas eve. It was one of those few ” Why Am I Doing This ?…” moments – It was a cold German night, December 24th 2007 and three Spanish Grand Prix riders (Beatriz Ferrer-Salat, Jordi Domingo and Juan Manuel) had just stopped for a bite to eat on their way to Belgium to compete in the Mechelen Grand Prix. Each rider was weary from the long drive, in a foreign country away from their respective families and was forced to settle for a pizza since everything was closed. Despite minor distractions (such as German job offers and thoughts of other riders desirous to ride Fuego), Juan Manuel envisaged himself in the arena with Fuego at the Beijing Olympics and the World Equestrian Games. For the most part, they were pleasant and warm thoughts on this particularly cold German Christmas eve.
This vision, though, did not anticipate the spectacular performance and the ensuing overwhelming response of the American and international audience in Lexington. For this, Juan Manuel is immensely grateful to Fuego, D. Miguel Cardenas (owner) and thankful for the support of Jan Bemelmans, his team colleagues and the Spanish Equestrian Federation. His last freestyle of WEG 2010, which will be forever be recorded in the history of the Pure Spanish horse (PRE), was dedicated to and ridden for them.