Paso Finos in Canada
(written for a Paso Fino Magazine in Columbia) Have you ever wondered whether people know about the Paso Fino up in Canada? The answer is "Yes!". Paso Fino horses have been in Canada at least in a small way for over 30 years, but it was about 10 years ago that a group of owners and breeders got together and formed a formal association. Today, it is known as the Central Canada Paso Fino Horse Association and usually has about 60 members and many more horses. Canada is such a big country, so no single organization could feasibly put on events for all its citizens. Most of our members are located in the central province of Ontario. CCPFHA is an official region of the PFHA (headquarters in Florida) and is dedicated to promoting this beautiful breed of horse in Canada. Our goal is to unite current owners and enthusiasts to share knowledge and have fun!
Many of the well-known bloodlines of Paso Finos are represented here, both in breeding stock and recreational riding horses, including: El Classico de Plebeyo, Capuchino, Vitral, Petrolero del Juncal, Ponderoso Coloso, Jaranero, Prometido de Selecta, Temblor de Terremoto, Mandato de la Luisa, Profeta de Besilu, etc. Most of the riders and owners in Ontario are primarily pleasure and trail riders. For this reason, the quieter, gentler pasos with smooth gaits and pleasure-minded dispositions are the most sought after. Some of our members do show beyond the borders, including 3 members who have repeatedly taken their horses to the Grand Nationals in the United States. Denise Boorman, Richard Roy and Camilla Willings have participated in various years with their horses and have always placed in the ribbons, making the Canadian presence, though very small, quite successful.
Each year our region likes to host a variety of activities that will serve the wants and needs of our members. We have at least one training clinic a year, and have had professional Paso Fino trainers from various parts of the states, including Sharon Londono, Carlos Tobon, Cindy Griffeth, Mary Rizo-Patron, Antoine Purifie and Larry Whitesell. We would welcome a visit/clinic from any Colombian trainers or judges that may find themselves in our Country.
As most of our members are pleasure/trail riders, we always host several trail rides each year. Ontario has some lovely parks that we can ride in with well laid out trails. A highlight for many members is a 3-day trail ride in the beautiful Dufferin Forest, where there are paddocks for the horses and cabins and meals for the riders.
Though we do not have enough paso fino owners who want the expense of a PFHA pointed show, we do put on at least one unpointed show a year. Sometimes these shows are open to other gaited breeds, including Rocky Mountain Horses, Icelandics and other breeds.
We will be bringing a certified judge from the US for one of our shows this year and are actually planning for a pointed show in 2010. We have had pointed shows in the past, but not for a few years. Classes at our shows include Classic Fino, Performance and Pleasure, as well as other fun classes including barrel racing, pole-bending, trail, champagne class, and more. This year we will have shows in July and August. We also have several towns that include gaited horse classes in their fall fair shows, so there is about 6-8 shows in Ontario a year in which people can show their Paso Finos.
In addition, we have a few meetings a year to update our members on activities and plan events. We also have a banquet at Christmas time where we invite a speaker and also hand out high point awards and have a slide show of photos from events throughout the year.
On a personal level, I fell in love with the Paso Fino breed from the moment I first rode one, about 11 years ago. I bought my first paso finos that year, including a bay gelding who was a son of Hilachas, who was trained, and a chestnut mare by El Resorte de Antioqueno, who I trained myself. As many of you probably know, Paso Finos are highly addictive and I found myself obsessed with these wonderful horses. Over the last 10 years I started breeding, raising and training Paso Finos exclusively, and I usually have 14-16 Pasos on the farm. I breed only one or two a year, and then I buy youngsters from the United States to train and sell as well. I have found an ever-increasing interest in the breed here in Canada and cannot raise enough Pasos to meet the demands of people looking to own one. I have also introduced several friends to the breed (and of course they fell in love with them, too) and now I board six Pasos for my friends on the farm. This is a wonderful thing, because I have lots of great people to ride with, and we are all on Paso Finos! Currently I keep a few of my favourite mares (including the El Resorte de Antioqueno daughter, who is also the riding horse of my four year-old son), and I also stand two stallions. My first stallion, Mercenario deLa Libertad is a beautiful bay Fino son of El Classico de Plebeyo out of Carinosa Dos de Porfino, a Candelazo daughter. Mercenario is the greatest horse I think I will ever own and we have had many wonderful adventures together, including placing 3 times in Fino at Nationals, riding in parades, doing a steeplechase, demos, cattle work, competing in trail (3rd national champion, 2002), and hundreds of hours on the trail.
My second stallion is just turning 4 years old this summer. Destino del Cardenal is a gorgeous all black Pleasure/Performance son of Mandato de La Luisa out of a Capuchino daughter. I got to show him at Nationals, in 2008, where he earned a 4th and a 5th in his classes. My farm is called Fina Vista Farm and I invite anyone from Colombia that is visiting Canada to come to our place and ride with us! See our website at: www.finavistafarm.ca.
Also, if you would like any more information on the region, Central Canada PFHA, please visit that website as well: www.centralcanadapfha.com. You will find a list of events there, as well as lots of pictures from previous events and see Paso Finos being enjoyed all the way up north in Canada!
Thank you very much Colombia for everything you have done to develop the wonderful Paso Fino horse and for sharing it with the rest of the world. We love them!
© 2009 Central Canada Paso Fino Horse Association, Inc.