Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What a Fino Weekend

Or part of a weekend I should say.

My friend J has been seizing the dream and applying to jobs all over the country.  She ended up being a finalist for a job in my state, so I did what any supportive friend does and told her that we should go barn shopping together.  So she lined up a few and we did the typical scouting out for boarding barn thing.

However, we also had attended a symposium in the past at a fancy Paso Fino barn and we had also wanted to ride one of them.  She went ahead and scheduled up some lessons and off we went.

I had a big (apparently big for a Paso Fino) grey gelding named Cris.  My friend had a very beautiful, more delicate black mare Jazmin. 

The instructor is big about working with the horse from the ground up.  Build a bond before getting in the saddle, lead the horse around the arena (and lead and lead) before mounting to work on extending and shortening the walk, and getting in synch with the horse there first.

We did eventually get into the saddle though.  Hurrah. 

The lesson I would summarize was a lot of equitation and body control influencing the horse's way of going.  I have such a mixed background in riding that I have finally reached a point where I realize that proper strength and equitation is actually there for a purpose.  My more recent dressage based lessons certainly came in handy in fino land.  My friend J has recently delved into the hunter world after doing the camp/western/reining thing, so it was a very different experience for her too.

Lots of opening and closing hip angle and breathing to compress and extend the gait.  The paso corto (the gait sort of equivalent to the trot, except it is lateral) can really get flying when asked.  Cris was perfectly responsive and a good judge of when I was doing things correctly.  Set him up and off we went.  It was enjoyable riding a horse where really my hands did very little work and the rest of my aids were the predominant force.  Something to strive for with the semi feral mare I think!  

Somehow I managed to get quite sweaty from the lesson which is a first for a lesson in cold October Wisconsin weather.  Cris was more than a little sweaty too, so we wandered around the arena for quite some time.

All in all, an enjoyable experience.  I am a big fan of new experiences across disciplines to try and widen my horizons.  The instructor (who hosts that symposium I mentioned) is also a fan of this.  That symposium we previously attended had Denny Emerson, Richard Shrake, Lynn Palm, and Gayle Lampe all working together to educate an audience and a rider across disciplines on ways to improve the riders and subsequently improve the horse.  Something that's right up my alley. 

It seems to easy a lot of times to say the horse needs fixing first, but the older I get, the less I am finding this is true. Hah, what nuggets of wisdom am I to find in the next few decades of riding horses! 


  1. How fun! Do the different gaits feel cool? I imagine they would!

  2. The gaits are pretty cool. I've ridden a few breeds of gaited horses (Icelandic, TWH, Rocky Mountain, gaited Arab) and they are all cool in different ways.

    The Paso Fino is pretty lateral and while gaited horses are supposed to be good for people with back injuries, it made mine a little sore, but then again I don't have a lower back injury, but a mid trunk one.

    But I would certainly try riding one again. I love different experiences.

  3. Oh wow, that's really cool! I've never ridden a gaited horse! Also have to agree that the more I go on in riding, the more I realize that problems almost always are the rider...well... at least they are in my case! Haha


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