Horse of the Week
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Paso Fino in waterMaple Leaf's Pianola

Pia is a 12 year-old Paso Fino mare owned by Camilla Willings of Fina Vista Farm. I had a wonderful afternoon photographing her nephews and horses playing in the lake.

This is what Camilla says of this horse:

"Pia was my first of many Paso Fino horses. I purchased her as a 3 year old - she was very skinny and wild and had virtually no handling. I bought her out of pity and trained her myself, spending months just hanging out together, playing tag and buddying up to her. Pia was a very shy and scared girl. She was a challenging horse to train, prone to freezing up and refusing to move forward. We've had some interesting discussions in the woods! Eventually she learned that riding could be fun... especially those that ended up in her favourite place - the lake. She loves water!

Pia has proved herself to be one of the greatest joys in my life. Over the years she has given hundreds of pony rides to kids - many first time experiences for these young children. She is always perfectly behaved with the wee ones on her back, despite the fact that she has enough brio (translated as spirit and animation) to be a fun ride for an experienced adult.

She has done some showing, but she made it very clear to me that it was not her cup of tea. Her "weakness" is being claustrophobic and the trailering, show stalls and indoor arenas did not suit her. I finally understood that her special gift was giving wonderful rides to all kinds of people at home. I promised her years ago at her last show, a long way from home, that this is all she'd have to do - and she does that so well, who could ask for anything more?

Right now she is starting her new role as the riding horse of my young boys, aged 2 and 3, as well as continuing to be the catch-all-ride for everyone around the farm. She is also just confirmed pregnant with a cremello Paso stallion, Sundown Hechicero de Silencio, guaranteeing us a palomino foal for 2008. This will be her third foal, and trusting all goes well, it will be more gifts from Pia to us.

We've all heard of green horses? Well Pia to me is one of those golden horses... worth her weight in gold that is... the epitome of a keeper. I am always grateful for her kind heart, her mischievous personality, her vocal expressiveness, her feisty moments and her special gentleness with children. Her face is one of my very favourite things to look at... especially those lovely, kind eyes. Everyone deserves a little Pia in their lives - we are truly blessed to have her in ours."

Video clip of Pia and Mercenario in the water with the boys

Video of Pia as the summer camp riding horse for kids at Paso Fino Niagara

Congratulations to Pia for being our July 9th Horse of the Week!

Paso Fino swimming
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