See this guy?
This is Centauro.
He is an 11 year old Paso Fino stallion.
He. Is. Perfection.
I had been excited about this shoot for some time. I’ve known K and Centauro for a handful of years now, thanks to the fun forums at AmericanPasoFinos.com. I joined as a senior in high school, and was pleased to find a group of locals that had lots of info for me. It wasn’t until 2011 or so that I finally met K and the others in person for the first time…and it was one of the best rides I’ve ever had! The sunburn I got that day was pretty epic too! There is nothing like gaiting at mach ten side by side down a trail, talking and laughing like you’re just moseying along.
It’s not often I get to play with a critter of this caliber, either. Centauro is well bred, well built, well trained, and well socialized. He has fire (known as “brio”), but is usually very level headed and controllable. He’s everything a Paso Fino should be and then some. I’ve never met a stallion that I truly “forgot” was a stallion for a few minutes. I’m very much aware of the critters that have all their parts. They’re usually not the most trustworthy horses. However, Centauro was puffed up and animated when he needed to be, and was a sweet, snuggly puppy dog otherwise. K left him with me when she scurried inside to change outfits, and he happily stood for forehead rubs and nose kisses. I knew he was awesome, but I didn’t realize just how awesome until I got to spend some quality time with him!
K is pretty awesome herself. We had a blast, even though she spent half the time reiterating just how much she abhorred getting her picture taken. I empathized with her: I like being BEHIND the camera, not in front of it! Thankfully, she completely adores her stud muffin, so whenever she paid attention to Centauro and not to me, it was very obvious who held the key to her heart!
It was a fun, high energy shoot with a pretty lady and a flashy pony…and I was more than thrilled with that in itself. I had borrowed a friend’s higher quality lens and was having a blast getting to use it. Obviously, the results aren’t perfect, but it was operator error more than anything else. I was very content to scurry home and pour over the images at the end of the shoot.
That wasn’t the case. I looked up from my camera to screen to see K offering C’s reins to me so I could take him for a spin.
Externally, I went and got my paddock boots without much fanfare.
Internally, I was all AIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! *FALLS OVER*
Okay. I get a little bit overexcited. So sue me.
The second I settled in the (waaaaaay too small for me but I didn’t give a rat’s ass) saddle and Centauro immediately gaited off. Oooooh my lord, there is nothing — NOTHING — like sitting on a well trained Paso Fino. All I had to do was think, and Centauro did what I wanted. I had no tension on the reins, and he settled himself into a nice little relaxed frame. I felt like I was riding a much bigger horse, not a 14.1 hand Paso Fino, and my back, which had been a source of serious discomfort for almost two weeks, wasn’t a thought in my mind. I about burst with glee. It’s impossible NOT to when you’re gliding along on an absolutely gorgeous Paso Fino! K got some pictures and video (most of which I am giggling like a fool on top of the bemused stallion). I wasn’t up there for very long, but it was long enough to remind me what riding really could be…and oh, how I miss REALLY riding!
It also cemented in my little pea brain that there isn’t anything else I want. I’m very grateful for everyone who is forwarding me TWHs and Fox Trotters, racking horses and Standardbreds…but I have made the decision to stick with the spicy, sassy Spanish bred gaited horses. I know I’m not going to end up with a horse like Centauro (not unless a money tree grows or I win the lottery!), but that is what I want. Walkers and Fox Trotters have a wonderful place in this world, and I loved every inch of Image from his soft, kissable nose to the tip of his long black tail. I would have loved him even if I hadn’t ever gotten a good gait out of him. However, this is a fresh start…and I’m not playing games here. I’m actually not the world’s biggest TWH fan — I’m not super fond of the running walk, and while Image was definitely an atypical Walker (which is probably why I found him so squeezable!), I find the breed phenotype unappealing for the most part. They’re great, great horses…just not my cup of tea! Pasos and Peruvians are the stockier, baroque type that I drool over regularly with fun, bold, brave attitudes and a gait that doesn’t mess with my back 🙂
I ain’t settling for anything less than everything…and big thanks to K and Centauro for giving me a reason to stick to my guns, no matter how bad my pony lust gets!