Today’s Horse Facts: The Paso Fino – Strives to Please his Master

Do you know what a Paso Fino horse is? All Pasos have their roots with the Paso from Peru, the American Mustang, and other descendants of Colonial Spanish Horses.

The Paso Fino: Strives to Please his Master

To see a picture of a Paso Fino, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paso_Fino

“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”

(Matthew 10:24 NIRV)

The Paso Fino (Paah´-so fee´ no) is a naturally-gaited horse bred by Spanish land owners in Puerto Rico and Colombia, South America, who wanted an obedient steed with endurance and a comfortable ride that would aim to please.  All Pasos have their roots with the Paso from Peru, the American Mustang, and other descendants of Colonial Spanish Horses. The Barb, Spanish Jennet, and Andalusian have also been interbred in the U. S. to produce the Paso Fino of today. But Pasos go back to the time of Christopher Columbus when it’s believed he brought some of the horses with him to the New World.

The Paso Fino is a gorgeous equine, standing an average of 13 to 15.2 hands but strong for his size. He weighs from 700 to 1000 pounds, although it might take a foal five years to reach his adult weight. He has a Roman-nosed head with beautiful large eyes, an arching neck, a short back with strong withers, and a thick mane and tail. He can come in any color or combination of colors, including white, pinto, and palomino.

The Paso Fino name means “fine step.” It’s a perfect title for a horse that’s prized for his smooth, natural, four-beat amble. This is a lively horse that has a pleasant disposition with the desire to please his master. The Paso Fino has three different dominant gaits, all dependent on how fast he’s moving. But in each gait, all four hooves travel close to the ground while he’s in motion. At whatever speed he travels, the smoothness of the gait ideally allows the rider to appear motionless with no bounce. And a smooth ride like that would please any rider. Horse enthusiasts consider the Paso Fino the smoothest ride in the horse world (although owners of Tennessee Walking Horses hotly debate that issue!)

The Paso Fino is a competitive trail horse with both speed and stamina. But he’s much more versatile than that. He often competes in western classes such as trail, barrel racing, versatility, and team penning, and is very popular for trail riding and endurance competitions, driving, and gymkhana. No matter what this spunky horse is doing, he’s got one goal in mind: to do the best he can for his master who is riding him in the ring or down the woodsy trail.

Speaking of doing the best for the master, have you ever thought about God as your Master? An old hymn entitled “Give of Your Best to the Master” reminds us that we do have a Lord who should be the King of our lives. Everything we say and do should focus on trying to please God.

A master is someone in charge…someone who has authority over someone else. Our wonderful God is the Master of the Universe; yet, he loves us and wants us to live for him every day to show Him how much we love Him.

Sadly, sometimes we decide to run our own lives. We think we know better than God and want to become our own boss. Going our own way away from God’s instructions (the Bible) always leads to trouble.

As a Christian young person, if you love Jesus with your whole heart, then strive to please Him in all you say and do. Be thankful God is your Master, who will always lead you down a path that only has the best in store for your life.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being the Master of my life. I pray that I’ll always let you lead me in the way that is pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of any “paths” in your life that might not be pleasing to God (examples: not reading your Bible, too much video game time, sassing your parents, being unkind to family or friends). Ask God to help you walk down the right path and always look to Him as your Master:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Ladies who ride Paso Finos in parades often wear the “traditional” Spanish garb: a fancy hat, long brightly-colored dresses with layers of ruffles, and high black boots.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am” (John 13:13).

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Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Norwegian Fjord

The Norwegian Fjord (Fēˈôrd) is one of the oldest and purest breeds of horses. It’s believed he has his roots in western Norway for more than 4,000 years.

The Norwegian Fjord: A Distinct Appearance!

To see a picture of this horse go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fjord_horse 

“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”

(Proverbs 20:11)

            The Norwegian Fjord (Fēˈôrd) is one of the oldest and purest breeds of horses. It’s believed he has his roots in western Norway for more than 4,000 years. History records the Vikings embracing him as early as 2000 B.C. In more modern times, Norwegian hill farmers used these horses, (often called ponies), as little draft animals for plowing and carriage driving. However, as with most horses of this caliber, the Fjord can be found in competition worldwide such as dressage, jumping, eventing, and competitive driving.

Although he’s considered a mini draft horse, the Fjord has smooth gaits, not high knee action like many draft horses. Because of his smooth ride and a pleasant temperament, he’s a popular riding horse. He’s great with children and special needs folks at Norwegian riding and therapeutic schools.

Fjords range in size from 13.2 to 14.2 hands and weigh between 900 and 1200 pounds when full-grown, but that’s not what gives them a distinct appearance. They’re all shades of dun (tan), mostly gray and buckskin. But yellow duns are very rare. The breed standards accept five different shades of dun, recognized in Norway since 1922. He can have no white markings except a small star on the forehead. In 1982, the Norwegian Fjord Horse Association made a rule that stallions of any age with any other white markings than a small white star cannot be accepted for breeding.

But now we get to the really distinct characteristics. Some Fjord horses have small brown spots on their heads or bodies. These “Njal marks” are named after one of the foundation sires of the Fjord breed, who had such markings. Many Fjords have zebra stripes on their withers and legs. The hooves are most often dark but can be a lighter brown color on light-colored horses. The feet sometimes have feathering, but that’s discouraged by Fjord breeders.

Next, Norwegian Fjord Horses have a black “dorsal” stripe that starts on the top of their heads (the forelock) then runs down through their manes and down the middle of their backs to their tails. Another unique characteristic is the Fjord’s mane. Because of the dorsal stripe, the hair at the roots of the mane is dark (usually black) but the outer hair is white. Fjord owners usually cut the mane very short so all the hair stands up straight. Sometimes it’s trimmed in a crescent shape to emphasize the horse’s graceful, curved neck.  Other times, the mane can be trimmed in different patterns to display the obvious dark stripe.

And that’s not all! The Fjord breed’s conformation differs from many other breeds, and you can instantly identify a Fjord when you see him. Besides his strong, arched neck, he has sturdy legs and a solid body with lots of muscles. He has large eyes and small ears, and with a flat forehead, his face then appears straight or slightly dished. In the winter, his coat resembles that of a teddy bear because it grows long and thick.

Do you agree that the Norwegian Fjord Horse has a distinct appearance, which makes him so easy to identify? How about you? Do you have a distinct appearance, which makes you easy to identify as a Christian?

Your appearance doesn’t necessarily mean the way you comb your hair or the way you dress, although your physical “appearance” should be modest and God-honoring. Instead, the word can refer to your demeanor or behavior.

How do you act when things don’t go your way? Are you stubborn? Do you throw tantrum fits? Are you bossy, especially to siblings or other family members?  Do you have friends, or do other kids avoid you?

If your answers to any of these questions indicate a problem with your behavior, today can be the time to ask God to help you change. God is willing and able to help you with any problem you have. If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit is inside of you, and He’s always ready to guide you to your best behavior. All you need to do is ask.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to have a distinct appearance (behavior) so that everyone around me knows I am a Christian. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think about your behavior over the last few days. Were there things you did that you’d like to change? Think hard about those things and ask God to help you change:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Fjord Horses have two-toned manes and tails. Lighter hairs are on the outside edges of the mane and edges of the tail, and darker colors are close to the skin.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way” (Psalm 101:2a).

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Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!

http://amzn.to/2nPbZ5q

 

Today’s Horse Facts: The North Swedish Horse – Not Enough Good Can Be Said About Him

The North Swedish Horse is a small, heavy horse originating from ____?___ You guessed it: Sweden. Equine enthusiasts consider him a coldblooded draft horse, but he can also be a harness racer if his build is lighter.

The North Swedish Horse: Not Enough Good Can Be Said About Him

To see a picture of this horse go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Swedish_Horse  

“To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God;

there is none other besides Him.”

(Deuteronomy 4:35 NKJV)

The North Swedish Horse is a small, heavy horse originating from ____?___ You guessed it: Sweden. Equine enthusiasts consider him a coldblooded draft horse, but he can also be a harness racer if his build is lighter. He also has an impressive energetic long trot, which makes him popular for that kind of racing. (In harness racing the horses race at a specific gait. They must trot or “pace” but can’t canter— run fast. One driver reins the two-wheeled cart called a sulky.)

The North Swedish Horse’s roots go back to his neighbor, the Norwegian Dølahest. (The Dølahest is a strong, reliable draft horse from Norway.) North Swedish Horses had been crossbred with other breeds until the 19th Century when the North Swedish Horse Breed Society created its standards for a more distinct body shape for the breed.  The society returned to the horse’s roots, using Dølahest stallions from Norway, and in the early 20th Century, the society also introduced tough performance tests for all breeding studs.

Today, the line of the North Swedish Horse is strictly controlled with breeding stallions that are all thoroughly tested. To qualify, a stud must have a pleasant character, must be strong enough to pull heavy loads, and must be able to breed. The horse’s legs and hooves are even examined by X-ray to test for strong legs.

Because the North Swedish Horse is so cooperative, he’s very easy to train. Although his build is compact and hardy yet light for a draft horse, his strength and stamina outweigh his “dumpy” look. He’s tough and spunky, but he’s also known to be cooperative and willing to work, so the Swedes use him for farming, forestry work, and recreational sports like pulling and hauling. Being born and raised in the harsh climate of Sweden, he’s known for good health and a long life.

With all the positive qualities of the North Swedish Horse, it seems as though we almost have a near-perfect equine that stands at 15.1 to 15.3 hands. The most common colors are solids: blackish brown, smoky, and yellowish black, but any solid color can be found. His dumpy body shape might remind you of an overweight pony with a big head, long ears, and a short, thick neck. His mane and tail wave thick and abundant in the wind. Yet, despite his plump build, he requires little feed and is a very active horse. A farmer might use his North Swedish Horse during the week for plowing but on Saturday enter him in an endurance race at the local fair. Besides this equine’s reputation for being a strong draft horse and racer, his easy-going manner makes him a favorite of children. Not enough good can be said about this horse loved by children and adults alike.

Have you ever heard the term “not enough good can be said about someone”? Has anyone ever said that about you?

Do you know we can say that about the wonderful God we love and worship? We can’t say enough good about God because He is perfect, and He’s the only God. Can you imagine never making a mistake or never doing the wrong thing? He made the vast universe, and He made us. Now Jesus is preparing a special place called Heaven for all those who believe in Him as their Savior. That’s how special our God is, and He’s worthy of our praise and adoration. Thank Him today for being the One and Only Perfect God who never makes a mistake.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being the one, true, perfect God, who loves me so much. Thank you, Jesus, for making a way for me to go to Heaven some day and be with you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of some things you notice in your life or in the Bible that show that our God is perfect and magnificent:

(SIDEBAR 1:)

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  The North Swedish Horse is one of very few coldblooded breeds used in harness racing.

(SIDEBAR 2:)

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “As for God, His way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him” (2 Samuel 22:31 NKJV).

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Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!

http://amzn.to/2nPbZ5q

Today’s Horse Facts: The Nez Perce (Nez Perz) – The Horse with an Attitude

The Nez Perce Horse is another breed with deep roots in the United States. This fascinating horse originated with the American native tribe of the Nez Perce.

The Nez Perce (Nez Perz): The Horse with an Attitude

To see a photo of this horse breed, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nez_Perce_Horse

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

(Philippians 4:8)

The Nez Perce Horse is another breed with deep roots in the United States. This fascinating horse originated with the American native tribe of the Nez Perce, who lived in Idaho and are still recognized by the federal government as authentic Native Americans living in the Pacific Northwest today.

In 1805, when Lewis and Clark made their way through the Bitterroot Mountains into Nez Perce territory in eastern Idaho, they noticed the natives riding strong, magnificent horses. At that time the breed of horse was called the Cordoba, which resembled a breed imported from Spain. The natives rode the Cordobas into battle because the breed had exceptional war skills.

Over almost the next two hundred years, many native tribes and their horses disappeared in America. But not so with the Nez Perce. Surviving through time, those natives took special pride in their horses. In 1938, they started to breed their horses with the Appaloosa, and a beautiful spotted or blanketed horse emerged. In 1995, the Nez Perce Horse Registry (NPHR) program began in Lapwai, Idaho, cross-breeding their Appaloosas with the Akhal-Teke, the stunning “shiny” horse from Central Asia. The United States Department of Health and Human Services financed the program and worked with the Nez Perce tribe and a nonprofit group called the First Nations Development Institute, which promotes such businesses.

Thus, a new breed of horse now roams the Nez Perce reservation. Today’s Nez Perce breed is tall and muscular with the amazing colors of black, golden, metallic, and palomino. He can also be buckskin and dark bay with a spotted blanket or patchy coat. This new crossbreed resembles the magnificent equines the Nez Perce warriors rode in the past, and the Native Americans couldn’t be prouder!

It’s been reported that the Nez Perce say their horse has an “attitude.” But the attitude refers more to the excellence of the breed than the way the horse behaves. The Native Americans have done their best to follow the lead of their ancestors and to carry on tribe’s tradition and legacy. Their horse’s conformation is longer and leaner than other stock horses in the western U.S., with narrower shoulders, a longer back, and narrow hindquarters. They’re often gaited, with a fast and smooth running walk, and they’re great for endurance races, long trail rides, and jumping.

With such excellent characteristics, you might say the Nez Perce Horse has a very good attitude! How about you?

Has anyone ever said that you have an attitude?  Attitudes can be good or bad. An attitude can help shape your personality. People might say you are either pleasant or grumpy all the time. What should a Christian young person’s attitude be?

The Bible tells us that Christians should always be cheerful and thankful for Jesus. If you love the Lord and want to please Him, then you have the best attitude you could have. If you sometimes have a sour attitude, then ask God to help you be kind and considerate, and He will.

PRAYER: Dear God, I want to have the best attitude so I’ll be a good testimony for you in front of others. Please help me to be pleasant and helpful. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of a few things that might cause you to have a bad attitude. Then write on a piece of paper what you might do to change that attitude.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  In 1995, the Nez Perce natives acquired four Akhal-Teke stallions and two mares from the country of Turkmenistan to start the Nez Perce Horse Registry and crossbreed with their Appaloosa-type horses.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 NIRV).

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