June 26, 2011–Since 1972, the annual Paso Fino Horse Association (PFHA) Grand National Championship Show has showcased the breed?s finest show horses in the U.S. The week-long event brings together a crowd of more than 2500 people with 600 horses competing in over 130 classes for a purse of almost $100,000 in prize money.
The Memphis Agricenter International and Show Place Arena will be the 2011 venue for the PFHA Grand National Championship Show and Expo, which takes place this year from September 25 – October 1. Admission is FREE, and the public is welcome to attend.
Classes are scheduled from Sunday, September 25, through Saturday, October 1, from 8 am – 8 pm. Professionals and Amateur Owners vie for awards in the following major divisions: Bella Forma (conformation), Pleasure, Performance, and Fino. The Youth Division provides a variety of classes for riders ages 7 to 17. Specialty classes include the always-exciting Costume, Versatility, Trail, Driving, and Western Pleasure classes. As an added attraction, there are several classes for horses registered in the American Trote & Trocha Association, a registry for diagonal gaited Paso horses.
There is no better way to get to know the Paso Fino than to watch them perform, observe their unique gait, and feel the smoothness as you take your first ride. Bred for stamina, smooth gait, and beauty, ?Los Caballos de Paso Fino,? ?the horses with the fine walk? originated in Latin America and have become increasingly popular in the U.S. The Paso Fino is referred to as The Smoothest Riding Horse in the World, due to the even footfall of its natural four-beat gait, which is unique to the breed. The gait can be performed at three forward speeds, the Classic Fino, Paso Corto, and Paso Largo. Paso Fino horses are spirited animals with pleasing dispositions and an elegant presence. The PFHA holds the official registry of the breed and has nearly 5,000 members. The Grand National Show is the best way to experience the Paso Fino culture and get to know these fine animals.
This year, new activities have been added that will show off the versatility of the breed and bring participation from recreational riders as well as show riders.
Included this year is a Cowboy Mounted Shooting competition, a Horse Soccer Tournament, a trail obstacle challenge, and organized trail rides. These events supplement the already popular Not So Silent Auction, largo race, Trade Show, free clinics, and breed demonstrations. Youth activities will also be held, including the annual Youth Exhibitor party.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting Tournament
Competition will take place in the main arena from Monday, September 26 through Thursday, September 29 during the lunch break. The finale will be Friday, September 30.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting is an exciting, fast-growing sport in the equestrian world. In pointed competitions, all breeds of horses can participate, and riders are scored based on time and accuracy. At the PFHA Grand National Show, the competition will be the first of its kind in that only PFHA members riding registered Paso Fino horses will be allowed to participate. It will be a non-pointed competition, and PFHA and Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association rules will apply. Competitors will be expected to meet an acceptable level of riding and shooting prior to the competition. Clinics will be held to assist new shooters with their horses and make sure all competitors can exhibit safe firearm handling. In its inaugural year, we hope the competition will draw some additional excitement for the show and bring out some new faces! If you are interested in learning more about the sport, please visit www.cowboymountedshooting.com, or with further questions, email Rick Meyer at [email protected]
Horse Soccer Tournament
Clinics will take place Wednesday, September 28, with Team Tryouts on Thursday, September 29, and the Tournament on Friday, September 30. Times TBD.
A sport catching on in the Paso Fino realm is Horse Soccer. It’s a sport that at first seems impossible, but in reality makes tons of sense. Horses can play by themselves in the field and have been known to catch on with little or no prompting. It gives horses and riders the opportunity to have a little fun during training while at the same time teaches agility and coordination and enables a horse to be more versatile. The game goes like this?two teams with three horse-and-rider units on each team try to get their horses to kick a massive, bouncy soccer ball through a goal. At the PFHA Grand National Show, Southwest Horse Soccer Association director Glenn Davis will be leading clinics, and a tournament will cap off the event.
Obstacle Trail Challenge and Trail Ride
The Obstacle Trail Challenge will take place Saturday, October 1, at approximately 10am followed by a Bring Your Own Bag lunch and organized trail ride. A trail ride is also scheduled for Friday, September 30. Weather-permitting, a Full Moon Trail Ride may be an option. The 4,500 acres of Shelby Farms Park are the site for these trail rides. Miles of trails wind past several beautiful lakes, fishing ponds, horse stables, rolling meadows, and in and out of the forest. Located next to the Agricenter, this is the perfect setting for such an event. Trail ride details and sign up information will be available soon.
The Paso Fino Horse Association and its members would like to welcome equine enthusiasts as well as anyone that would be interested in seeing this magnificent horse in action. For up-to-date information, please visit our website, www.pfha.org, or visit the Paso Fino Horse Association Facebook page.
The Paso Fino Horse Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the Paso Fino breed and maintaining the official registry. Since 1972, the mission of the association has been to expand the versatility of this naturally gaited breed, and to provide opportunities for riders to experience the smoothest ride in the world.