A group of top-level dressage horses in Florida have taken on a leading role in a music video by Daddy Yankee, the Puerto Rican singer known as the “King of Reggaetón”.
With his second hit single of the year, El Pony, Daddy Yankee’s equestrian foray joins recent mega-hits such as PSY’s Gangnam Style and Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road.
In El Pony, released late in April, Daddy Yankee adds a risqué equestrian element to his reggaeton vibe. Starring alongside bikini and chaps-clad dancers and a neon merry-go-round, four horses set the tone for the video from the opening bars, outfitted in bubble-gum pink and blue saddle pad/blankets, halters, and an equally florescent stable.
The horses travelled from their homes with Amy Speck-Kern and Katie Hoog at Excel Dressage and Stal Hoog in the Loxahatchee/Wellington area to the Miami studio for filming. In just a week on YouTube, the video had more than 12 million views.
Daddy Yankee, who was born Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez, said the inspiration for El Pony was famed Puerto Rican salsa singer Ismael Rivera, who released his version of El Caballito [little horse] in 1957. “Ismael Rivera inspired the concept behind this song, but I wanted to update it with this generation’s language and reggaeton style,” he said.
“It’s not the same genre, but it’s certainly the same theme that Ismael Rivera and Cortijo did. I wanted to reunite all my ideas and their legendary style and song into El Pony and that’s what we managed to accomplish.”
In the main stable shots, the four horses are from left to right: Espirit (San Dior x Olivi), Ferdi (Scandic x Olivi), Tageslicht (Leonidas x Twighlight x Troubador), and Zhivago (Obelisk x Fruling). All four horses are seasoned dressage competitors, with Zhivago recently competing at the Intermediare I and CDI Level.
Tageslicht, or Tag as he is known around the barn, is a Stal Hoog homebred, their first foal, and is appropriately from “the 305” originally, having been born on their farm in Homestead, Florida, just south of Miami. As the only grey, Tag can be seen in a solo moment in the video where a dancer appears to brush his neck while he scopes out the camera. Both Ferdi and Espirit are recent European imports who are being developed by Excel Dressage as FEI prospects.
‘It’s amazing where horses will take you,” said Amy Speck-Kern. “We’ve been all over the country, to Europe, and beyond but this was definitely a first. Such a fun experience and everyone was very respectful of the horses and getting them acclimated to the sounds, movements, and the stage itself.”
Speck-Kern, Hoog, and two others, Ed Speck-Kern and Ricky Sands, are actually holding the horses in the video, ducking down behind the blue stall doors. “It was quite the challenge to keep them still with the dancing and all the things to spook at,” Hoog said. “Ferdi kept trying to eat the fake tree, and Tag and Zhivago kept trying to groom each other, resulting in the need for multiple takes. But overall they did so well, it’s amazing what horses will do if you ask!”
Both Speck-Kern and Hoog currently import, breed, train, and show horses throughout the southeast and Europe, and Stal Hoog offers breedings to the father and son KWPN duo, Dark Pleasure and Its a Pleasure.