Paso Fino’s choppy hooves echo from the Paso Fino’s green hills. The horse holds its rider calmly but firmly. Sombrero is humid from humid climate. Horses with beautiful gaits have felt at home on Colombian coffee plantations for 400 years; Her innate career has adapted to rough terrain and long work days.
But no wax palms grow here as in the opulent natural setting of Colombia: mountain pastures and deciduous forests stretch across what is now frigid Germany – more precisely: Morsbach-Arblingen. Richard Urey and his wife Nora have run a horse farm there since 2008, with the couple breeding the South American Paso Fino (“Good Walk”) breed of horses. This earned its name through its fourth walk, tölt.
From the United States to Oberberg
South American breeds of horses that were imported into South America by the Spanish conquistadors developed from their homeland in the 16th century. Used as working animals, they have adapted to the climate and landscape over time and have developed tortillas. Races such as Paso Peruano, common mainly in Peru and well suited for long rides, and Paso Fino prevailed. This species is native to Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean today.
In the workhorse basso fino, baso corto (translated: “a short step”), the horse lays down the hooves in four intermittent strokes one after the other, which means that there are hardly any up and down movements of the rider. So the tölt is especially easy on the back and practical in rough terrain.
Born in Peru, Richard Urey was raised on a horse farm and learned to handle built horses and breeding goals since childhood. After working in the United States, he ended up working as a horse trainer in Germany in the early 1990s, and in 2008 he and his wife, Nora, rented a farm in Morsbach: Paso Vino Zocht del Returno, based on an old Colombian breed they could start with.
Only about 1000 Paso Venus in Europe
Although Oberbergisches is only reminiscent of steep farmland trails or the highlands of the Andes with plenty of imagination, Orés feel right at home with their four-legged Colombian friends in Morsbach. The three horses initially grew to 25 to 30 mares, leatherbacks, stallions and ponies. The couple would like to create a specialized breed, which numbered only from 900 to 1,200 specimens in Europe, and already sells the animals all over Europe and Israel as well.
Friendly, attached to people, and willingness to learn, the Paso Fino is the perfect everyday horse and exhibits flexibility, agility and confidence underfoot, the two say. The quality of their breeding is that horses grow up in herds with several generations, they show a very sociable character. They will also be in the ring every day. “They don’t mind the Oberberg weather, our horses are rarely sick,” says Nora Ury. In Colombia, animals are part of the culture and patriotism: “Riding Paso Fino is a way of life.” Horses are used to perform dances and songs, and on Sundays the family gathers in the stable, and they ride in traditional clothes with a sombrero.
Oris keep their South American roots alive in Morsbach: the Paso Fino mines, which are usually ripped without part, are made in Peru. It is a dream for horse trainers to introduce the body and personality of Paso Fino and of course the take on showcasing a traditional breed while at the same time introducing South American culture to Oberburgers.
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