Paso Finos in Europe - An experience to remember
Sometimes it is great to reflect on some of the chances of a lifetime that come in our direction. I was recently asked to Judge in Germany for a horse show in Wemding, Germany. I arrived in Germany flying after an 8 hour flight and of course on a red eye. I got there around 11:30 am which meant I was up all night and with all the loss of sleep I could not have been more excited.
We drove from Frankfurt to Wemding which was about three hours away. We drove through the most beautiful countryside and I stopped with my driver Barbelin Van der Smissen, a wonderful person and I may add a bilingual enthusiast. We stopped for a wonderful lunch. Of course I went for Wiener schnitzel. I also ordered my first "vassa mit ice". Every other night I tried all the different types of beer. I would have had to stay a year in order to try all the different types of beer because one or two is my limit.
When I got to Wemding I was greeted by Meike Wolf and her husband Florian who helped me with all the hotel accommodations and my plans to get there and anything I needed she was right on top of everything. I stayed in a quaint hotel in the heart of the city which was landscaped by beautiful countryside. It was called Ambiente Wemding. Everything was at my feet in this small town of Wemding. As you can tell the experience was overwhelming me. Again I would like to mention this was the chance of a lifetime. I ran into phone troubles and plug problems but within Minutes Meike and Flo made my stay perfection.
I mentioned earlier that the horses were there to suit the owners. They had a soccer tournament between Paso Finos and Tennesee Walking horses. The riders on both teams were skilled. This made me proud to see the versatility of the horses in Europe. It was very competitive. They also had trail rides with the show and professional photographers taking photos. I felt the promotion of the Paso Fino was overwhelming. One of the things that were different was their rules and regulations. I felt the Paso Fino in Europe is there to suit the needs of all who own them.
One thing I found fascinating was ”meet the Judge” that they do the night before the show. I got to meet all of the people before we judged the horses. The group of people could not have been more gracious. The quality of the horses was excellent and there was a good attendance at the show. After the show we all went to a wonderful dinner party and many people asked questions of me and my questions and answers were answered with my new bilingual friend Barbelin.
I learned so much with this experience. I also think the exhibitors enjoyed the positive thoughts and also what I felt they needed to work on. I met so many wonderful people. After each class I explained my decisions to the crowd and an interpreter repeated what I said. It was done in a positive manner. All came out with what they needed to work on to better themselves. The people were so positive and craved anything they could learn about their wonderful horses.
Again I would like to thank the wonderful participants in the show for being such gracious hosts to me while I was there. Also I would like to make mention of the quality of horses that I was judging in Europe. I know that we were part of the start of this group in Germany with the different PFHA members that helped them begin and that many judges have already been in Europe. To all of the predecessors to myself you have guided the people in Europe well.
After the show Yvonne Bowen from the UK took me to Nuremburg where I was to rent a car. On the way we went to Dachau. I wanted to go to a concentration camp as I had a dear friend that was from Germany (Fred Ransenberg now deceased). He was in a camp many years ago. It was truly an experience I will never forget. I had a wonderful dinner with Yvonne and talked a lot about the mutual friends we had in the United States. I rented a car in Nuremburg and drove to Frankfurt where I went to The Städel Museum and had a wonderful day enjoying the art and famous sculptures. There is a lot of history in Germany and unbelievable architecture. The next day I went to the plaza. Great shopping! The chocolate that I brought back was incredible.
All in all, this was a great experience and if t the group in Germany should contact you to do their show it was a delightful experience. I would leave this saying that this was a tremendous experience. I would love to say I enjoyed the experience to the fullest and if you do get a chance to Judge at a show in Europe, jump at the chance. The group is growing and their knowledge is as well. One of the things that I must comment on is the enthusiasm of all exhibitors and the pride they all took in their wonderful Paso Fino Horses. I hope I get a chance to come back one day to relive the wonderful time I had. Remember that this group is growing and you will feel what I felt. The owners of their Paso Fino Horses in Europe were a breath of fresh air. Again thanks to all for having me in Germany to be a part of your Paso Fino Family.