Today's bullfight is much as it was developed in the time of Romero.Normally 6 bulls and three matadors are required for an afternoons corrida.The three matadors dressed in their suit of lights (trajes de luces) enter the arena accompanied by their banderilleros and picadors and the strains of a traditional paso doble. The door to the totil, or bull pen, is opened and one of the bulls emerges.1st Stage - Tercio de Varas ("third of lances")The matador greets the bull with a series of manoeuvres, or passes, with a large cape; these passes are usually verónicas, the basic cape (capote) manoeuvre (named after the woman who held out a cloth to Christ on his way to the crucifixion). Contrary to popular believe bulls are actually colour blind and they go for the cape not because it is red but because it is moving.These manoeuvres test the bull by the matador and banderilleros with the required tanda ("series of passes") using the capote. During this phase the matadorobserves the bull’s behavior, how it charges and its ferocity.2nd Stage - Tercio de banderillas (“third of flags”)
Next, two picadores enter the arena armed with a long lance or varas and mounted on large heavily padded and blindfolded horses. When the bull attacks the horse the picador stabs just behind the morillo, a mound of muscle on the bull’s neck (normally three times).The manner in which the bull charges the horse also provides important clues to the matador regarding which side the bull prefers. If successful, the combination blood loss and the force exerted by the bull to lift the horse up with its neck and horns will strain the bull enough to cause it to hold its head lower during the following stages of the bullfight.This is a mandatory step in the corrida which makes the bull's charges less dangerous and more reliable, enabling the matador to perform.Then a trumpet blows and the banderilleros on foot move in to place their banderillas (brightly coloured barbed sticks) in the beast's shoulders to get it to lower it's head for the kill. After this a further trumpet sounds which signals the faena or final phase of the bullfight.