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Old 12-06-2009, 02:07 PM  
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Paso Fino Horseshow--questons for Paso show people

Yesterday I went to my first "real" Paso Fino show. I had been to another one, but only got to see one class--which lasted 1 1/2 hours--but that's another story.

I have some questions about the show I saw yesterday. The classes were small, only 2 to 4 horses in each class. Most of the time, my friend and I agreed with the judges in their decisions. But sometimes riders were asked to leave the ring before the class ended. What was that all about? I only saw the slightest problems--such as one time the horse jigged a little when the riders were asked to walk. The rider got the horse walking in a matter of seconds, but he was asked to leave the ring. Another time, a horse that was doing a marvelous job, was asked to corto across the boards last. As the horse went across the boards in front of him, he sidled nervously a few steps, knowing he would be next. And he was asked to leave the ring. The worst was a woman riding in a class called Country Pleasure. She was the only person in the class. She did a very nice job with her horse. When it was time to "line up," instead of giving her the blue ribbon, they said she didn't qualify and told her to leave the ring. I was in the entranceway taking photographs, and as she left, she was fighting tears. I felt like killing the judges. Every other horse that happened to be the only one in the class got a blue ribbon. Her horse did nothing wrong. Why would they do that? I've ridden in piles and piles of hunter/jumper/English pleasure classes. I had never seen anything like it. I've made my share of mistakes and had my horses make their share of mistakes, but never been asked to leave the ring. The only time I've ever seen it in the horseshows I used to ride in, were if the horse was out of control or dangerous--rearing, bolting, slamming into other riders, wildly kicking out.

My next question is about color. I've noticed that most of the Paso Fino champion winners seem to be dark bay, black, or gray. There was a stunning liver chestnut Paso in several of the classes. He was like a little machine, carrying his head at a perfect angle, never wavering in his gaits, just flawless--with flawless conformation as well. Several times he was pinned under a gray or a black horse who held his head up rather high, minced at the walk, and was uneven at the corto. In the final championship class, he was absolutely perfect, but they gave him reserve rather than champion, and the one they awarded champion was a gray--who was very nice, but just not quite the pleasure (it was the pleasure championship) that the liver chestnut so obviously was. Is there a strong prejudice against chestnuts? I noticed there were only a handful of chestnuts at the show--one flax chestnut and one dun only.

I also noticed that in the classes where females rode, they were almost never placed over the men. In fact, now that I think of it, in only one instance was the female placed over a man, and she was riding that flawless liver chestnut. That horse never put a foot wrong in all the 5 or so classes I saw him in. He was obviously smoother than the rest of the horses. His rider never moved out of the saddle.

Were the judges seeing things that I couldn't see? I know nothing about showing Pasos, so I was just baffled.

When the riders were asked to largo, I saw almost no difference in speed. I had to use my imagination to think they were going any faster.

And last, what is the difference between Pleasure, Country Pleasure, and Performance? I noticed that the Pleasure classes did not fino, but I could see no real difference between Pleasure and Country Pleasure, except that the rider dismounted and remounted. What is the difference between Performance and Fino?

Hope I am not boring all the non Paso people on the forum. Hope someone can answer my questions. Here are some photos:

An adorable pony in the child's class. This boy was the only one in his class.

This horse wasn't in any classes--just for sale for $10,000. Nice, huh?

Gorgeous Performance Horse

Another lovely Performance horse
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Last edited by Knightrider : 12-06-2009 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:41 PM  
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Hmm. Your experience seems to be out of the ordinary. I've attended three PFHA sanctioned shows so far and participated in one and I have never seen a horse excused for anything other than misbehaving. Some of the things such as women never placing above the men, I think were just coincidences. I'm good friends with two women who actively show in the PFHA shows and even go to nationals and they've had good luck in their winnings and never mentioned anything like you mention.

One woman I am friends with say that the Bella Forma classes (the Paso Fino equivalent of Halter showing) can be quite political and horses placed upon who their handler is. HOWEVER, this happens in almost all breed associations so I wouldn't say that it is just the PFHA that has a little bit of corruption when it comes to judging. Also, after she told me this, I was watching some classes and the well known handlers weren't placing very well so I guess it just depends on the show region, the judges, and who you ask.

I have noticed the same thing about color. Not about chestnuts, as there are MANY champion chestnut Paso Finos (Capuchino and Nostradamus just to name two off the top of my head). However, the cream based (Palomino, Buckskin) horses are hardly ever shown in the Fino or Performance classes. I don't know if they place well or not but I cannot think of a single Fino or Performance champion Paso of those colors off the top of my head. However, the deal with pinto Paso Finos is that pinto Pasos come from a very VERY small gene pool and most of them cannot gait as well as horses from other bloodlines so therefore, they cannot be shown in Performance or Fino. Yes, there are quite a few Pleasure champion pinto Pasos but there has been zero Fino champion ones to my knowledge and only a couple of Performance champion pintos. The people who are hardcore into the breed do not want to take chances on breeding pinto Pasos and wind up getting a Pleasure foal so that's why there are very few pinto Pasos who have good lines outside of pinto lines.

The reason that the chestnut placed under the others could have been many reasons. I do not believe it was because of color.

The main differences between the classes are..
FINO CLASS - Extreme collection wanted here. The horse with the smallest "steps", slowest gait, and most even four beat gait wins.
PERFORMANCE CLASS - Medium collection wanted here. High knee action is wanted in this class more so than the two other class types.
PLEASURE CLASS - Very little to no collection wanted here. Reins should have slack. The horse should behave as a nice pleasurable trail mount and not be too high strung. The other classes want a more "hot" horse with brio.

This website tells about each class in more detail and about Country Pleasure: http://www.tvpfha.org/pasofino.html

Country Pleasure -- This class is judged 20% on Walk; 20% on Corto; 20% on Largo; 10% on appearance and way of going; and 20% on manners. It must demonstrate flawless manners.
Pleasure -- To be judged 25% on performance at a Paso Corto; 25% on performance at the Paso Largo; 10% performance at the walk; 40% on manners, conformation, attitude and a way of going. Refusal to back disqualifies the horse from placement.

Oh yes and I forgot, some horses have a faster largo than others. Most fino and performance bred Paso Finos do not have a fast largo. The show mare I have, there is almost a zero change between her corto and largo. That is one of the reasons I believe her previous owners said she would never go to nationals. The judges want to see some sort of a difference between the two speeds of the gait. Some Pasos have a fast largo and some don't. Just depends on the horse.

Last edited by desti : 12-06-2009 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:31 PM  
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Wow! Thanks so much for all your information. One more question I forgot--does it matter if they have shoes or not? Are there any special shoes they wear or are they supposed to be barefoot? Thanks again!
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:45 AM  
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No, there is no shoeing requirement or special type of shoes that Paso Finos wear. While some people shoe their Pasos for showing, most Paso Finos go barefoot. The breed is known for having strong hooves so most do not need them.

I don't know much about the Performance classes but I'd say most of the shoeing you will see takes place there to encourage the horses to pick up their feet higher with heavier shoes on the front.

Last edited by desti : 12-07-2009 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:56 AM  
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I will correct you Desti.....there is a shoeing requirement...

They must wear the same shoe all the way around if they are to wear them, they must sit at or around 50*, the angles of the toe, and they cannot exceed 3 1/2# in length....weighted shoes are prohibited, as are shoes with heels or caulks.....Most people show in a regular flat saddle plate type shoe.....
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:53 PM  
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What I meant by that there was no requirement is that there isn't anything stating your horse MUST be shod for a specific class. I didn't say that there weren't rules regarding shoe use.

Thanks for the correction about no weighted shoes though, I didn't know about that. (All my horses are barefoot and shown that way.)

Last edited by desti : 12-07-2009 at 05:02 PM.
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