As far as dramatic entrances go, starting your Freestyle with a canter pirouette and moving immediately into tempi changes is a solid start.
Spain’s Jose Daniel Martin Dockx and the 13-year-old stallion Malagueno Lxxxiiii did precisely that in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Madrid on Saturday, the fourth leg of the 2023/2024 Western European League. Their show stopping start and seamless transitions between piaffe/passage earned the only over-80 mark on the day in the 13-horse field, a 80.870% from the judges.
Martin Dockx and his Andalusian mount finished ahead of Friday’s winners Matthias Alexander Rath (GER) and Destacado FRH score of 79.720. Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Elegance lined up in third on 78.425.
It was Malagueno’s fourth ever Freestyle and new personal best score.
“We made one in Aachen (GER), one in the Championship of Spain, and one last year in Sicab (Seville) and my expectation was that if I could be third like I was yesterday in the Grand Prix it would be great to be on the podium again. But today the Freestyle went really well so we are very, very happy and proud of the horse!” said the 49-year-old Spanish rider.
“The pirouettes, especially the one to the right was better, the relaxation was also a bit better, the changes felt more relaxed and I think all those things made a little bit of a difference between yesterday and today. I’m really very, very happy!”
Martin Dockx and Malagueno represented Spain at the 2022 FEI Dressage World Championship in Herning (DEN) and at the 2023 FEI Dressage European Championship in Riesenbeck (GER).
“I see such an improvement in him now. In the beginning the difficulty was that he was always too tense, he’s a very sensitive horse with a lot of power and he wants to give you all he has and sometimes he can’t control the power. Now he’s getting more relaxed and making it more easy for both of us!” Martin Dockx explained.
The Spanish Olympian is aiming Malagueno for the 2024 Olympic Games.
“I would love to get him to Paris, it’s a long way but this is the goal even though it will be very difficult. In Spain now we have a lot of horses with a lot of quality and in eight months a lot can happen, but I hope we can make this goal come true!”
Sweden’s Patrik Kittel sits atop the Western Europe League rankings with 68 points. France’s Morgan Barbançon is currently second on 54 points, with Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald in third place on 51 points.
With six qualifiers remaining, the 2023/24 Western Europe League next stops in London (GBR) December 13–15.