We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Cardinal Couple


-E-Po headed to Olympics

-that's our boy...

-Goodbye ESPN, hello Fox? 

Walz campers chasing after Erin Andrews
to the Fox Sports Network. (Photo by Jenny O Bryan)
UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE swimmer Eszter Povazsay (whom we will refer to as E-Po for the rest of her time at UofL) has been name to the Hungary Olympic swimming team. 

This is huge. 

Competing in a once every four year worldwide sporting conclave. Going against the very best, with a chance to stand on the platform, have a medal hug around your shoulders and hear your national anthem if you have the gold around your neck. 

Think about that. How would you react? Tears? A big, goofy grin? Or head bowed and fist in the air like the sprinters did in 1968 in Mexico City?

She's one of four Cards from the swimming teams that is going to be in the summer games...Joao De Luca, Carlos Almeida and Pedro Oliveira from the men's team also swimming in London. 

She won the BIG EAST Championship this year in the 100-backstroke. 

How great would it be to see a UofL Cardinal standing on the winners stand? Get 'em  E-Po. Bring the gold back to the Ville. Or Hungary.

Have any UofL athletes ever won a gold medal? If so, who were they an what event was it in? 

Think you know the answer? Leave it in the comments section or e-mail it to us at:


If we've told you once, we've told you 1000 times...Brian Hernandez, Jr. is the most underrated, best performing jockey at Churchill Downs over the last several years.

We went to night racing Friday, a scorcher of a late afternoon still at 5:30 p.m. when we arrived. Fortunately, there are areas at Churchill where the air is cold, the seats are comfy and we headed there immediately. With us was Tommy Boy, our Director of Wagering and Nonsense at CARDINAL COUPLE. 

Talking nonsense with Tommy Boy
Churchill Downs had 11 races last night. Brian rode in nine of them. He won three of them and came in second five times. If you had put $2 across the board (win, place and show) on Brian in each race he rode in, your total outlay would have been $54 dollars. Your return on investment would have been $196.

I got a little more heavily invested in him than $6 per race. Thank you, Brian.

Not bad, eh?

Two days to go before the live meet ends. Both post times are 6:30 p.m. 

Dave, Dan, Sonja and Tommy Boy
The "What was I thinking?" award of the meet has to go to jockey Shane Sellers for his performance in the ninth race last night. Ahead by five lengths in the stretch and looking seemingly uncatchable...Sellers decides to go with a right handed whip. The horse responds by crashing thru the temporary rail on the turf course and did not finish the race. 

Wouldn't want to have explained that brilliant strategic
move to the owners and trainer. He gets a "Gibbs slap" to the back of the head from all of us. 


Erin Andrews has left ESPN. The word is that Fox Sports is after her. 

ESPN, you blew this one. They claim they made " an
aggressive offer" to keep her. They should have offered to rename the network "Erin Sports Predominantly Network". 

Things change. WE realize that. But letting the "face" of sideline reporters get away from you and most likely end up at your rival...well, it's like giving Mickey Mantle an automatic walk so you can pitch to Roger Maris. 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Friday Cardinal Couple -- Stars galore at Cardinal Elite Camp Clinic


-Action, competition and talent the order of the day in Cardinal Arena on Thursday.

It may have reached the 100 degree mark in Louisville Thursday afternoon, but it wasn't as nearly as hot as the all-star group of players on display at the Jeff Walz Cardinal Elite Camp Clinic in Cardinal Arena. 

Despite having hip surgery Wednesday, Asia Taylor was
on hand to run the score clock. 
Talented high school girls basketball players from all over the nation were on hand for the four hour event. One didn't have to look too far to see the best and the brightest in action. Whether it was Mercedes Russell banging under the paint, Makayla Epps lofting that sweet mid-range jumper, Rebecca Greenwell taking one to the hoop with skill and grace or Erica Moore making head-shaking play after brilliant play...the stars were out early Thursday afternoon before an appreciative crowd of around 150.

A brief hydration break before another drill
After a brief overview of NCAA rules, regulations and guidelines by assistant WBB coach Cam Newbauer for the campers, Teena Murray took over and took the players through a series of dynamic stretching exercises. Also there to lead and spur them on was the UofL WBB squad..the vocal encouragement from Mo, Sara, Sherrone and the rest of the Lady Cards filling the gym. 

The campers then separated into four smaller groups 
Working on the mid-range jumper
for skills practice on essentials such as jump shots, transition basketball, layups, 5 player weaves and trans-post passing. Almost two hours went by as the Cardinal coaches, players and camp staff worked with the groups on shooting, defense, rebounding and breakdown moves according to position. 

When 3:00 p.m. rolled around, it was time for the first of two thirty-minute scrimmages. The players were divided into two red and two white squads and competed for fifteen minutes against each squad of the opposite jersey color. 

This is where it got really fun and competitive. 

UofL WBB Freshman Megan Deines takes in the action
With so much talent and skill level competing, it's really hard to pick out who performed the best...but the four members of the CARDINAL COUPLE staff present were sold on the efforts of Makayla Epps (Marion County), Katie Collier (Webb School), Raven Merriweather (Sacred Heart), Maci Morris (Bell County) Jasmine Lumpkin (Joliet) and Lauren White (Edwardsville) as "ones to watch" when it came to guard play. Also keep an eye out down the road for 6th grader Casey Collins (Katie's younger sister) who went toe-to-toe with the bigger, older guards and never backed down. 

CARDINAL COUPLE's Jenny O'Bryan will have a future article about who she thought was impressive and her thoughts on the afternoon. Don't miss it! 

Front liners that impressed would have to include the names of #1 ranked 2013 recruit Mercedes Russell (Springfield), Erica Moore (Mount Vernon), Nora Kiesler (Assumption), Logan Powell (Marion County) and Taylor Robinson (Ladue Horton Watkins). 

Then...there was Becca Greenwell. The senior-to-be at Owensboro Catholic showed no ill effects from her knee surgery. A quick crossover move, silky-smooth jumper and all-over-the-court awareness made her my personal choice as MVP of the first round of scrimmages. Some players just "have it". She's one of them. 

CARDINAL COUPLE'S Sonja and Sandy react to the
aggressive post play.  
After the scrimmage, the groups broke up into guards and forward/centers. These drills were fun to watch...Coach "Sam" had her guards doing a lot of push ups whenever I looked at that end of the court...I was concentrating on the battles that the bigs were displaying underneath the basket.

One to watch in future years is 6'6" center Nancy Mulkey out of Texas. Still a bit thin and just a freshman, but goes to the hoop with aggression and has a nice outside shot. Keep an eye on Logan and Kendyl Powell out of Marion County, too. Definitely not afraid to mix it up underneath and both hit the boards well.

Stretching it out the Teena Murray way...
Free throws and 3-point drills followed before the second and final 30-minute scrimmage of the afternoon. I dedicated this one to Mercedes Russell watching, who Louisville really wants to land.

I can see why. 

A.J. flashes that beautiful smile before going out to
teach the campers. (Take it easy on Jude, A.J!)
She positions well on the offensive sets and her height and agility allows her easy access to close in shots and put-backs. Teamed with Epps and Morris, they played with the precision of a squad that had been together for years. One writers dream: To see these three in Cardinal Red and Black against Big East opponents. Epps has a "lights out" jumper and Morris runs the point with the skill of a college senior. 

It was fun to watch these three compete against Becca Greenwell's squad for 15 minutes. You could tell that neither squad wanted to lose this scrimmage. Add Greenwell to this writer's wish-list to see in a Cardinal jersey. Her skill set is light-years beyond her age.

Free throws: a very important factor in any game
It was also good to see the Lady Cards out there working with the campers and teaching. Sara Hammond is a natural coach and it was fun watching her work the sidelines during the scrimmages. All the Cards seemed to be enjoying themselves and after the scrimmage they engaged the campers in conversation and a lot of laughter and fun filled the court. Mo Reid is brimming with confidence and authority this summer...can't help but think she's on the cusp of a sensational season. All of the Lady Cards went out of their way to encourage, teach, demonstrate and reinforce the things that are essential and important on the court. You can tell this bunch really likes each other and brief, casual chats with Cortnee Walton and Megan Deines indicated that they are fitting in just fine with the group and enjoying being Lady Cards. Although freshmen aren't allowed to work camps, they both seemed to enjoy watching the action and are ready to join in next year. 

Nora Kiesler (middle left) is a rising star for Assumption.
The four hours seemed to fly by. 

As Sonja and I walked to the car in the blazing heat after the camp, we talked about the massive amounts of talent we had just witnessed. A short chat with Rebecca Greenwell after the camp confirmed that she had a great time and that Louisville is still among the top schools she is looking at. Mercedes Russell grinned broadly when asked about the camp and saw it as a "great afternoon of fun and learning." Makayla Epps thought she had an "OK" camp and assured us that the ice wrapped around her knee was nothing to worry about...just a standard post-practice procedure. 

We had a wonderful time with the CARDINAL COUPLE staff writers in attendance Thursday afternoon and enjoyed meeting the CARDINAL COUPLE readers who came up to us and introduced themselves as the afternoon went on. If anyone had a better time at the camp than us, it was probably the actual participants...who got in a great four-hour workout Thursday afternoon in Cardinal Arena. 

Our thanks and appreciation to the coaches, staff and players who were gracious, entertaining and so much fun to watch and be around. 

This is Cardinal basketball, ladies and gentlemen...and you will not find a better product, philosophy and way of doing things out our book.   

--Paul Sykes


Raise Your Free Hand If You Think You Can Ride A Bull


-The Commish recalls Chad Ochocinco's bull ride.

-Walz Elite Skills Camp today

-Vote for Angel!

( The "Commish" Mark reviews a historic bull ride in today's CARDINAL COUPLE. Now that Chad Ochocinco is in Miami, FL....we can only surmise that Dolphin riding is next for him...) 

Do you think you have what it takes to ride a Bull? Some may say, "It's not that tough". Or "What is the big deal?"  One may think any one can do it and that being a Bull Rider is easy.  As a matter of fact a famous Professional Football player thought that. He was being a little too disrespectful to the sport and was challenged to put up or shut up.  Who was this famous athlete?  It was none other than Chad Ochocinco  (Cincinnati Bengal/New England Patriots now Miami Dolphins wide receiver).  The PBR challenged him with this offer: the 2011 Built Ford Tough Series PBR event scheduled at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.... he got on a bull the PBR would give him $10,000.
If he rode the bull for the required eight seconds, the PBR would give him a new Ford F-150 truck and allow him to permanently rename the bull anything he wanted.
If he didn't show, the PBR would rename the bull "#58 No Show Cinco." (The number is the reverse of Ochocinco's jersey No. 85.)
It all started May 4, 2011.  He posted on his twitter account that he was headed for a showdown with PBR top rider Valdiron Oliveria at the BFTS Event in Duluth, GA.:
Ochocinco tweeted:
"Valdiron de Oliveira vs. Lil Taco May 13th-14th Duluth,GA. Who coming to watch the longest 8 seconds of my life?"
Sean Gleason, the Chief Operating Officer of the PBR then tweeted:
"that's the deal. Show up and get on the bull u get 10K, ride him for 8 secs and its a brand new F150 from @teampbr @fordtrucks."
Ochocinco responded:
"if I stay on for 8 seconds FORD will give me an F-150? I challenge your best bull and i'll give the truck to 1 of my followers."
Gleason also had this to say about the offer:
"The Ford F-150 we're offering will be there, we hope (Ochocinco) is too,"  "He's a gifted athlete, but bull riding is a much different sport and climbing on the back of a bull in the chutes takes a little more than Twitter confidence, let alone calling for the gate (to open).
"We admire Ochocinco's interest in the sport. If he actually gets on and nods his head (to open the gate), he'll find out that two-a-days in the summer heat are nothing compared to the eight seconds faced by PBR bull riders week in and week out."
Before his ride he had a day of training by co-founder of the PBR retired Nine Time World Champion Rodeo Cowboy Ty Murray. He tried giving him a crash course in the basics of Bull Riding. Ocho also had to sign a waiver releasing the PBR of all liability and that he knew Bull Riding was a dangerous sport.
Before his ride, Ochocinco tweeted:
"The real question is not how long I can last on the bull, but how long the bull can last with me riding him"

The Bull he was given to ride was a Bull named DEJA BLU. He is co-owned by none other than Ex-Los Angeles Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda.  As a matter of fact the Bull is named after him.  Lasorda is friends with the stock contractor Tom Teague who originally owned the Bull.  Teague felt the bull had a touch of blue in him and decided to name him after Tommy Lasorda.  DEJA BLU as a play on the words "Dodger Blue".  (Teague sold DEJA BLU to another Stock Contractor--Jeff Robinson.  Lasorda still is part owner.)  Since then, DEJA BLU  has had a slight name change. Instead of DEJA BLU The Bull is now known as DEJA BLUE EMU.. (Blue-Emu is a pain relief product containing Emu Oil and is a sponsor of the PBR.)
DEJA BLU EMU is one of the top rated Bulls in the PBR with an average Bull rating/score for the past 5 years of 44.004.  The average score received by the 16 riders that successfully rode him is 88.52 points.  That is a very good average score. This Bull was no Gimmee.
How did Ochocinco do? Did he get on DEJA BLU or was he a "no show"? Who won this historic battle of Man vs. Beast?  Well, it sure wasn't Chad Ochocinco. He did show and got on the Bull's back. He actually nodded his head---the gate flew open---and down Ochocinco went in 1.5 seconds.
Afterwards Ochocinco had a new found respect for the Bull riders of the PBR.  He was quoted as saying,"The sport doesn't get enough credit – the guys who do this week in and week out … should be the highest-paid athletes in sports."  And "It was fun--I can cross bull riding off my bucket list."
As promised Ochocinco did receive the $10,000 for showing up and getting on the bull. Afterwards he pledged to give the $10,000 he won to FEED THE CHILDREN. Several sponsors then  stepped up, including Ford, and gave  that F-150 away in a contest among Ochocinco's Twitter followers.
Here is the video of Ochocinco's ride:
And here are some video thoughts of the Bull Riders before Ocho's ride and Ocho's thoughts afterwards:

Me and Bill on the way to Prospect Beverage Shop.
I would venture to say Cardinal Couple Co-Owner & senile Senior Columnist Paulie Sykes being a farm boy at heart would have done much better than Ocho. That is because Paulie had plenty of experience riding four legged "beasts" in his youth.  Namely goats down at the Drunken Amish Farm in Goshen, KY.  Paulie was known as "THE GOAT RIDER" and has numerous trophies from the many Saturday Night Goat Riding Competitions he participated in. The best Goat he ever rode?  Bill the Goat of course. Rode him for 98 points June 5,1971.

Here is some grainy video footage of that historic ride. 

Goats are effective short-term methods of transportation.
( Editor note: No goats were harmed in the filming or participation of the video. Bill has since retired from competitive goat riding but has been known to sneak up behind "The Commish" and send him scurrying down the sacred halls of CARDINAL COUPLE Worldwide headquarters with a succession of head butts .) 


Just a reminder that the Elite Skills Camp is today at Cardinal Arena on the UofL campus from 1-5 p.m. Get out and watch these talented young ladies in action and show some love for Mercedes Russell and the rest of the participants.  

A stellar group of high school stars will be going through the camp. They deserve and have earned our respect. How many coaches besides Jeff Walz would open this event to the fan base? 

This is a chance to see the #1 recruit for 2013 and show her that UofL WBB fans represent all year long. 

See you there!


Cardinal great Angel McCoughtry is one of five WNBA players up for an ESPY...the annual award the four-letter network gives out to the best and brightest in the world of sports. 

She's doubt. The talented Ms. McCoughtry leas the WNBA in points per game (22.6) and steals (3.55). 

Also nominated Diana Taurasi, Seimone Augustus, Tina Charles an Tamika Catchings. Two Huskies, a Volunteer and a bayou bengal Tiger. 

Go vote for Angel at:

Vote for Angel!

(There are over 30 categories to choose from. A lot of them I had no idea on who to pick. There is a "next" button, fortunately. Angel's category is about halfway through the selections. )

Commish Mark

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Shoni, Mercedes, Kelsey, oh my!


-Ms. Shoni goes to Washington

-Why don't you rent a billboard? (Hey, they did!) 

-Kelsey Mitchell: A name you need to know.

-Walz Elite Skills Camp Thursday. Be there! 

(Jenny O gets the spin for today's CARDINAL COUPLE. As usual, she brings us the best and brightest about CARDINAL womens hoops. Rumors that she's wire-tapped the WBB coaches phones and sleeps on a cot in front of the WBB offices are entirely false. Here's Jenny!) 

It’s the offseason for Louisville Women’s Basketball but you would never know it by the goings on this past week.  Shoni gets invited to the White House, a billboard goes up in Springfield and at least one special guest was on campus last week. 

Shoni Schimmel at the White House in Celebration of Title IX! 
Shoni was one of five panelists at a White House event discussing Title IX and the opportunities it has provided to female athletes.   Shoni was in extraordinary company as she shared her experience as a female athlete who has benefited from Title IX.  Shoni shared the stage with Billie Jean King, former tennis great and founder of Women’s Sports Foundation, Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights with the Department of Justice, Amy Mullins, a double amputee who was a track and field standout at Georgetown University and Laurel Ritchie, Director of the WNBA. 

Attached is a video of the day.  For those of you who do not want to watch this lengthy video, Shoni is introduced around minute 27-29, and she speaks around minute 38 and again around the 49th minute. Link below.

Shoni at White House

Congratulations to Shoni for continuing to represent the University of Louisville as well as her family and hometown folks in Mission, Oregon.  Well done, Shoni!


According to a tweet from a reporter out of Oregon, the University of Louisville has installed a billboard in Springfield, Oregon.   I have asked this reporter for a picture of the billboard, but to date, I have yet to receive/or hear what the billboard says.  Fans on opponents' message boards are crying foul, stating that:
“Promotional materials designed to solicit the enrollment of a prospective student-athlete” are prohibited by NCAA by-laws. 

Given that we do not yet know what the billboard states, it is hard to declare it a NCAA violation.  While Springfield, Oregon is the hometown of 2013 recruit Mercedes Russell, Oregon is the home state of 3 people affiliated with Louisville Basketball.  Not only do Shoni and Jude Schimmel hail from Oregon, so too does Coach Norman. 

Whatever the case may be regarding this billboard I am sure the University has researched and knows the rules as it pertains to NCAA standards.   So long as it is  legal by NCAA standards, I think it is brilliant marketing.  We Louisville fans know that the Schimmels have helped to create a huge following of Louisville basketball throughout the Pacific Northwest, and all over the country.  Why not market to that population?  Seems like a no brainer to me.    If any reader has a picture of this billboard, we would love to see it!   

( Editor note: Courier-Journal sports writer Jody Demling commented in an article that he was supposed to receive a photo of this bulletin board. CARDINAL COUPLE e-mailed Jody and asked to see it. Demling has not responded. )

A link below to read more about the billboard:

UofL Billboard


Finally, it has come to my attention that Coach Walz was hosting several “special guests” on campus last week.   Thanks to social media I was able to track down at least one of the special guests,  Hoopgurlz ranked #1 in the class of 2014, Kelsey Mitchell.   Mitchell is a 5-7 guard out of Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Hoopgurlz evaluators describe her play as “consistent and explosive…scoring off penetration, pull ups and the three”.   Cardinal fans, this will be a name to watch over the course of the next year.    Just an hour + up I-71, perhaps Mitchell will make the trek back down tomorrow and attend the elite skills camp.  No confirmation on that, but, one can not help but wonder.  


Speaking of the camp, tomorrow is the big day!  Camp runs from 1-5:00 at Cardinal Arena.  As we have been stating for weeks, Mercedes Russell is a confirmed attendee at the camp.  Makayla Epps, 2013 verbal from Marion Co., will also be in attendance.  We are getting mixed reports on whether Becca Greenwell # 6 ranked recruit 2013 and Louisville prospect will be in attendance.  Certainly we hope to see her there.  Multiple players mentioned several weeks ago about in-state talent will be in attendance, specifically Maci Morris, 2015, who also holds an offer from Louisville.  I am adding Kelsey Mitchell to my wish list to be in attendance tomorrow, and it does not seem so far fetched that she would be. 

Cardinal faithful, hope to see you tomorrow at Cardinal Arena.  I can hardly wait!!

 Another outstanding column from Jenny today! We hope to see plenty of CARDINAL COUPLE readers at Cardinal Arena tomorrow for the skills camp.

WE sent several of the staff chimps down to campus to see if the event could be moved to the KFC-YUM! Center but they weren't successful. They did come back with a bunch of autographed Steve Kragthorpe pictures, though...and napkins from the University Club. 

Can't wait to see the credit card charges on this excursion...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Cardinal Couple -- Burke to play for USA


-Burke on USA team

-Volleyball Schedule released

-Dirt Bowl rises from the dust

-Olympics around the corner

-Paso Fino: A different type of horse competition

(Sandy Walker brings us today's CARDINAL COUPLE. WE feel pretty lucky here at CARDINAL COUPLE to have writers who have knowledge on the entire realm of the sporting world. Sandy is one of those and we know you'll enjoy today's topics!) 

Becky Burke Named to USA Four Nations Invitational Squad

B.B. representing
She will be a member of the USA team that will play in the Four Nations Invitational, June 26 – July 11, starting in Yancheng, China.  The US squad will be playing three Olympic national teams from China, Russia and Great Britain who are preparing to playing the 2012 London Olympic Games.   This non-federation team is the first to participate in a FIBA Olympic tune-up event.  Team members also include Katie Bussey, Montana State; Dawn Evans, James Madison; Ashley Corrall, USC; Jence Rhoads, Vanderbilt; Brittany Carter, Memphis; Briana Gilbreath, USC; Amanda Johnson, Oregon; Kristina Santiago, Cal Poly; Cierra Bravard, Florida State; Becca Tobin, Arizona State; and Kali Bennett of Arizona State.  The China trip can be followed at


Volleyball Releases the 2012 Schedule for a new article about these years’ team and schedule. The biggest news is that most of the games will now be played at the YUM arena rather than the Cardinal area which fortunately was outgrown due to the growth of popularity and attendance. The complete schedule can be found at The first event will be an Alumnae Match set for Saturday August 18, 2012 at the Cardinal Arena at 6:00 with the first regular season match at the YUM Center scheduled for Friday August 24, 2012 at 7:30 PM.  See you there!

Cards ready to rock the BIG EAST again
Season tickets are now on sale with 15-match plans beginning at less than $6 per match for all the exciting action at the KFC Yum! Fans can purchase tickets online at  


Dust from the Dirt Bowl Rises Again

"Think we could get a team together, Andy?"
Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton and local community leader Neal Robertson have been working for months to bring back the Dirt Bowl to Louisville.   After an absence of several years local officials are planning to revive its 42nd year of competition for not only men’s teams but also women and children whose entries will be at a reduced entry rate of $50.00.  The competition will begin June 30 and continue on July 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 and August 4, 5, 11 with the championship game held on August 12.   You can join by calling 664-0780 or make your way down to Shawnee Park and watch the games or participate in an associated job fair for no charge.


Olympics and Women’s Participation

Qatar and the lower peninsula of Michigan.
Are they the same thing? 
Be still my beating heart – for the first time, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei will let its female athletes compete in the Olympics!   How mighty big of their governments to allow such a thing as it is quite a risk for other women of their country to see women actually competing in anything.  As women in the US continue to fight to gain recognition and equality in the 40 year anniversary of Title IX, these women are fighting just to be able to compete for the first time which should really come as no surprise from a country such as Saudi Arabia where women are still banned from driving, voting or holding public office (which changes in 2015). Of course maybe that isn’t such a big deal since they also cannot marry, leave the country, go to school or open bank accounts without permission from a male guardian. 

Title IX. 40 years old and getting stronger.
Talk about backward thinking – perhaps the real issue is not being backward but instead being fearful of the women’s success both in athletics and in life.  The prior objection from their governments was due to women being barred from participating in front of men that makes me wonder if Timmy, the CARDINAL COUPLE intern or Bill the Goat, could attend?  Banning women's participation in national competitive sports is reported to reflect the "predominant conservative view” that opening sports to women and girls will lead to immorality: “steps of the devil”.  These governments should be careful because once the genie is out of the bottle; she can never be put back in again.  40 years for Title IX has overcome what has been centuries of discrimination for these women but before we get too smug I will remind you that in the year which my grandmother was born – women in the US could not vote and girls/women my age grew up wearing “pennies” (and not like the ones available online today) to identify opposite teams rather than uniforms.  Hang in there women and every other oppressed group – change comes slow – but with exposure comes public pressure where the indefensible does cause change to happen.


Horses - About the Paso Fino Horse

"Hey, no sitting down on the job!"
After all of the great information about Thoroughbred’s and Bull Riding, I thought it only right to give some exposure to versatile Paso Fino horse (horse with the fine gait) which competes throughout the world (including Kentucky) in not only show competitions but in just about every other modality including competitive trail or pleasure rides.  These horses have brought myself and many others as much joy, pride and confidence as many of the other sporting activities from which I have participated. 

While reflecting its Spanish heritage through its proud carriage, grace and elegance horses of this breed have:

*Won the North American Wind Rider Challenge Championship.
*Competed in 100 mile endurance rides.
*Won competitive trail rides.
*Won USEF/PFHA sponsored regional, national, and international shows.
*Won drill team competitions.
*Been ridden hours on the trail without rider fatigue. No posting required. Just sit back and enjoy the smoothest ride ever.
*Shown the brilliance of the breed in parades and demonstrations.
*Been that perfect equine partner for the youth rider.
*Been trained to drive.
*Worked cattle.

Beauty, power, speed and agility.
The Paso Fino is often billed as “The smoothest riding horse in the world”  as it has a well-proportioned conformation and strength with power without extreme muscling. 

Even from birth shows its natural refined 4 beat lateral gait which well suits those of us with physical difficulties either through age related changes or injury.   This breed is growing in popularity with the ancient history of the Paso Fino  fast becoming the future of show and pleasure horses throughout the world.   The Paso Fino is a recognized breed of United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) with such adability that they also compete in Western classes (Trail and Versatility), as well as costume and Pleasure Driving.   Paso Fino horses compete in endurance rides, including the 100 mile rides, sponsored by the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) and the competitive trail rides sponsored by the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC).   They compete in team penning events, drill team competitions, and are always the crowd pleaser at parades.

Grinnin' and ridin'! 
They continue to grow in popularity, as one by one, converts are won over through a single riding experience.   Folks who test ride a Paso Fino horse quickly display the infamous "Paso Grin".   “The Paso Fino is born with a gait unique to the breed, which is smooth, rhythmic, purposeful, straight, balanced in flexion and synchronous front to rear, resulting in unequalled comfort and smoothness for the rider.   The Paso Fino is a graceful, agile and supple equine athlete that uses all four legs with precision and harmony.   The gait of the Paso Fino horse is totally natural and normally exhibited from birth.   It is an evenly-spaced four-beat lateral gait with each foot contacting the ground independently in a regular sequence at precise intervals creating a rapid, unbroken rhythm.   Executed perfectly, the four hoof beats are absolutely even in both cadence and impact, resulting in unequaled smoothness and comfort for the rider. 

The Paso Fino is capable of executing other gaits that are natural to horses, including the relaxed walk, the canter and the gallop but I could never figure out why anyone would want to teach such a smooth riding horse to perform the gaits of others but, to each their own.

"Conquistador" was also a song by
Procol Harem in the sixties. 
The History of the Paso Fino --  The Paso Fino horse’s journey to the Americas began more than 500 years ago with the importation of Andalusians, Spanish Barbs from North Africa, and smooth gaited Spanish Jennets (now extinct as a breed) to the "New World" by Spanish Conquistadors.   Bred for their stamina, smooth gait and beauty, "Los Caballos de Paso Fino" – the horses with the fine walk – served as the foundation stock for remount stations of the Conquistadors. Centuries of selective breeding by those who colonized the Caribbean and Latin America produced variations of the "Caballo de Criollo," among them the Paso Fino that flourished initially in Puerto Rico and Colombia, and later, in many other Latin American countries (primarily Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Venezuela).   Descendents of the Conquistadors’ horses are believed to have spread into North America after the Spanish soldiers forayed for a brief time into this territory.  Awareness of the Paso Fino as we know it today didn’t spread outside Latin America until after WWII, when American servicemen came into contact with the stunning Paso Fino horse while stationed in Puerto Rico.   Americans began importing Paso Fino horses from Puerto Rico in the mid-1940s.   Two decades later, many Paso Fino horses began to be imported from Colombia.  

Lots to see and do at the Horse Park!
The National and Kentucky Paso Fino Horse Association is proud to have their home at the Kentucky Horse Park, where over 850,000 horse lovers from all over the world visit each year. Those visitors are able to daily see the Paso Fino on display. The Horse Park and our Kentucky Paso Fino Horse Association are working with love for not only the Paso Fino, but also in the promotion of all horses and their future in America. The Kentucky Paso Fino Horse Association continues to build new membership with an enthusiastic team of individuals who primarily reside in the Kentuckiana region. Our members actively participate in the day to day as well as show, trail and clinic activities of not only our association, but also regularly help to expand the awareness of our breed through their mixed breed activities.

The Kentucky Region members are a group with diverse experience and knowledge of the special abilities of our breed, and welcome former and new Paso Fino enthusiasts. They include active breeders, show riders, trainers, judges, regional association representatives, trail and endurance riders, as well as participants in local gaited horse shows such as those held in Bardstown, Meade County, Hart County, and the Bardstown Gaited Horse Association. You are encouraged to participate with others in the preparations and attendance of our annual regional show, basic horsemanship clinics, demonstrations at local businesses, and trail rides. We welcome one and all to the beautiful bluegrass of Kentucky

Shelbyville is just 30 minutes from Downtown
This year the Kentucky Classic 2012 is being held once again at the Shelbyville, Kentucky Shelbyville Fairgrounds on July 20-22, 2012.   The fairgrounds address for your GPS is 1513 Midland Tr. Shelbyville, KY with class’s schedules and details available at the website.   I invite you to come out for a great weekend of horses where the admission and social atmosphere of any horse event is free.

For its 40th anniversary and for the first time in many years, the Paso Fino Horse Association Grand National Show will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park October 7-14, 2012 where information can be found at .  Please come out and enjoy the event where your admission to the park includes entry to the show and also to support a breed that has made a choice to invest in Kentucky by moving its national home office and grand national show to the great state of KY.

As you can tell, much of this information came from others and is reprinted with permission from the Kentucky Paso Fino Horse Association  or has been provided by the National Paso Fino Horse Association.

Sandy W.