The Georgia Paso Fino Horse Association hosted our third Paso Fino Horse Association Trail Horse Test and Clinic November 5-6, 2022, at beautiful Brandreth Farms in Talking Rock, Georgia. The overwhelming popularity of this program keeps our members and others demanding a return to the program year after year. This year we are very grateful for having been awarded a generous PFHA Grant to support this great, recreational rider program and to offset costs making it affordable for our largest number of participants ever.
Our Clinician and Judge for the event was Robin Ratliff and the Marshall was Cindy Griffeth. This dynamic duo generously donated their time and expertise to make this THT full of learning, improving skills and some just plain fun, too. Thirteen horse and rider teams including 11 Paso Finos, one Quarter Horse and one Saddlebred made up the group. There were also several auditors in attendance representing a variety of breeds. We had some participants new to the program and several returning to go to the next Trail Horse Level. Some of the riders from last year’s THT had met new trail riding buddies at the clinic and spent this year meeting up on area trails and practicing THT skills for this year. GPFHA also hosted an Obstacle Play Day that many of our members attended to improve their skills. Some of the participants took their THT knowledge to the show ring at Regional and National Shows.
Two full days of learning and testing resulted in four horses earning their Junior status, one horse earned both Junior and Senior levels, three horses were awarded Senior status and one horse graduated to the Master Level.
We received many positive post-event survey comments. Some of the thoughts repeatedly expressed were appreciation for the positive learning environment, enjoying the challenge of new skills, and improving horsemanship and partnership with their horses. We advertised the event widely on social media both before the event and with photos and shared experiences after the event. This has resulted in many participants and new folks from many breeds already asking when the next THT will offered.
Thanks goes to our many volunteers who helped to make this event possible. Thanks again to PFHA for continuing support of this and other Recreational Rider Programs. Much appreciation also goes to the other Master Judges, Rick Schaffer, Vickie McQuinn and Nola Haupert-Keill who gave their time to review the Master Level tests by video and to work with Virginia Foster and the National Recreational Rider Committee to maintain the standards and consider ways to continue improving the Trail Horse Test Program.