Northern Nevada Gaited Horse Club

Some high-steppin' horses were strutting their stuff at Saturday's all-gaited horse show at Fuji Park. A number of breeds, all noted for their exceptionally smooth gait, are used in these competitions. Which horse is best? That depends on whom you talk to.

Bay area resident Kimberly Hall, 19, loves the Peruvian Paso, a Spanish breed.

"They're so smooth, they're considered Rolls Royce of this sport," she said. "And Peruvian Pasos have a wonderful temperament. They're very willing to do whatever you want them to."

A student at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo Calif., Hall competes in Arizona and Oregon in addition to a number of California locales, including Santa Barbara and Monterey. She said she didn't take her horse with her to school her freshman year because she wanted to concentrate on studies. Her sophomore year, however, could be another matter.

"This is relaxation time for me and I love it," she said. "This is the only traveling I get to do and it's a lot of work, but it pays off. I meet some great people."

Active in the sport for 30 years, Roy Brown swears by the Missouri Fox Trotter, a breed that originated in his home town of Ava, Mo., population 3,000.

"The population of Ava doubles for the world competition, just after Labor Day. The breed has been around for centuries, but they weren't recognized until 1948, when 15 Ava residents started registering them," he said. "Now, there are about 70,000."

When judging, he looks for a good disposition, confirmation, and an easy ride.

This is the sixth annual competition at Fuji Park and is sponsored by the Northern Nevada Gaited Horse Club, a group of about 64 aficionados from Walker to Reno. Close to 70 horses will compete in this two-day event, according to Jean Harris, secretary of the organization.

"Our organization focuses primarily on trail rides, but this is our fund-raiser. We host this show once a year to show the public what these horses can do," she said. "It's a friendly, down-home competition that allows members to show off their horses and allows other participants to join in."


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