European Paso Fino Championships 2013

Three years after the last European Championships for Paso Finos, this year’s Championships took place at the beginning of August. This year, for the first time, it was at the venue of the Schutterwald riding club.

A venue perfect for our Championships, not only because it is situated very attractively in the „Ortenau“, located between Offenburg and Strasbourg, but also because of its infrastructure.

Several riding arenas were available as well as a competition ring withinin the huge jumping arena, which because of its white sand and structure gave a feeling of riding at a beach. There was a fully equipped office in the Judge’s tower, which we used as the Show registration office and Show results office. The catering with its several boothes, a beer stand, a wine and cocktail stand, was set up right beside the riding ring and satisfied all tastes. Everything was comfortably illuminated with chains of lights. On one side of the show arena was space for stalls. Whoever had time and wanted to, took a refreshing bath in the neighbouring lake.

The preparations for the Championships began well ahead of the event. With the support of the Schutterwald Riding Club we beat the drum for our show. The Schutterwald Riding Club organised a press conference, to which we were invited together with the organisers of Baden Württembergischen Championships and the Western Riders. These two groups held their shows the two weekends before our Championships. The local press published several articles about Paso Finos and about our Championships. It was helpful that two of our PFAE members, Stefanie and Helmut Bross, live in Schutterwald and could inform the local press about our breed. The best advertisement for the Paso Fino Championships was our performance with 6 Paso Finos at the Horse Open Evening at the Schutterwald Centre, which took place during the Badenwürttembergische Championships two weeks before our Championships. Many of the 4500 spectators at this evening became interested in our breed and subsequently visited us during our show weekend.

The arriving show participants were guided by signs to the stall tents. For each horse there was already straw and the first bale of hay, so settling the horses in their stables was quick and easy. Thursday evening was a nice start to our show. Reiner Osswald, Chairman of the Schutterwald Riding Club welcomed the participants. The local bakery Armbruster sponsored oven fresh pretzels. The municipality Schutterwald sponsored a barrel of beer, which was tapped by Gerhard Mülle and Reiner Osswald. The Schutterwald Riding Club donated some free beverages.

Friday morning commenced with the Paso Fino for Pleasure trail ride, which was led by Helmut Bross on his Criollo mare. From Friday afternoon onwards the show classes were on the agenda. There were participants from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England and Ireland. In the evening the Judges German Higuera from the U.S. and Anna Eschner from Germany answered questions from the participants. The show ran absolutely smoothly. For the first time Meike and Florian Wolf were responsible for the Show Registration Office and Show Results Office and proved that spouses can work together with no problem.
The organisation team prepared everything in the run-up, so that no stumbling blocks occurred during the show. Many helpers contributed in the fore-ground and behind the scenes in the functions of music, announcements, etc. Ribbon girls and Ringstewards gave everything and also made sure the show arena was kept clean. Sabine Bodenhagen looked after the Tombola, which can be called a tradition already. Again many PFAE-members and external sponsors gave attractive prizes for the Tombola and the income for the PFAE was very good.
With regards to the team of the Schutterwald Riding Club: no matter what we wanted or needed - the whole team seemed to be waiting only for our sign and within shortest time they organised flowers, watered the arena, filled water tanks for horses and solved technical questions. Even a security service watched the showgrounds at night, so we didn’t have to worry about our horses. Seldom have we felt so heartly welcome at a show venue and at the same time so professionally supported.

On Saturday an evening event took place. We expected visitors from outside, but we did not expect so many of them! Many riders came together for the parade of participants in the arena. Under the romantic light of the summer evening sun they presented a big Barrida, led by Claudia Greb who was carrying the Colombian flag; followed by well filled fun classes. A costume class, in which it was really difficult to decide who was showing the most imaginative costume. A hot barrel-race class as well as the popular Copa de Champán. Even the Largo Race took place. Helmut Bross as the „local hero“ won the „Four-Beat-Class“, which encouraged a lot of spectators to bet. Everything was nicely presented by Sebastian Frisch. Sebastian, who had to leave the same evening for the Icelandic World Championships in Berlin, gave an unplugged performance of his official Icelandic World Championship song. It almost couldn’t have been more sentimental. Until late into the night we celebrated, talked and laughed.

During the three days of the Championships you could see good sportmanship with a wide range of classes. Unfortunately the number of participants was lower than in the Championship years before, but it was nice that it didn’t influence the good atmosphere of the show. Also the classes were qualitatively well filled and a pleasure to watch. The Judges‘ team Anna and German gave informative explanations about the classes and placements. This was positively received by visitors who are not so familiar with our breed. Both spectators and the Schutterwald Riding Club are very interested in having Paso Fino shows held at this venue in the future.
It is not an exaggeration to say that our Championship has been a really successful event and it would be nice if we could consider this venue for future Paso Fino events. At this point, once again, a hearty Thank You to all who were involved in this show: organisers, helpers, Schutterwald Riding Club and spectators. Of course not to forget the numerous sponsors, who with their financial support and donations of prizes contributed to keep the costs for the Association low. A Special thanks to all participants, some of whom really had to travel long distances in order to be there at the Championships.

Visit the PFAE Facebook page for many more photographs from the show.
Report written by Stefanie Bross-Bächle/Britta Mülle