We lost a great horseman this week, Fritz Floto 1924 - 2012
At the age of 88 years Fritz Floto passed away on June 19, 2012 at his farm near Fergus, Ontario. "The word Hanoverian and the name Fritz Floto are synonymous in North America", well described this old school horseman in the Canadian magazine Horse Sport in September, 1992. Fritz Floto was the pioneer of Hanoverian breeding in Canada and had much influence on the development of the Hanoverian breed in the US. For his merits he was awarded the Golden Badge of Honour of the Hannoveraner Verband in 1980. The Chamber of Agriculture Hannover awarded him with a Golden Medal in recognition of his achievements in building up and promoting the Hanoverian breed in North America, and from the German Equestrian Federation he received the Gustav Rau Plaque. Mr. Floto was also a lifetime member of the Hanoverian Breeders' Club of Eastern Canada.
Fritz Floto was born at Gut Gaedebehn in Mecklenburg in 1924 the son of a family with a long tradition in horse breeding. He experienced the horrors of World War II in a cavalry regiment and with the artillery in Russia, where he was wounded several times. In 1952 Fritz Floto emigrated to Canada. He and his wife Erica settled down in the Guelph area in Ontario and started a dairy farm. The couple had two sons. He sold his cattle in 1968 and accepted employment at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph.
In 1961 he bought two mares, Windrose by Weiler and Fernanda by Fernjaeger as well as the stallion Weimar by Firnis all of which had been imported to Calgary a short time before. With these horses he laid the foundation of Hanoverian breeding in Canada. In close cooperation with the German Hannoveraner Verband and the Lower Saxony state stud at Celle he imported further stallions in the following years such as Denar by Duft, Waidmann by Waidmannsdank xx, Ansturm by Adlerfarn II, Equuleus by Eindruck II, Sandsturm by Sendbote, Lepanto by Leibwächer, and lastly Welfenschatz by Walhall.
As a judge and its branding representative Fritz Floto was for many decades a pillar for the Hannoveraner Verband in Eastern Canada. He was an honorary member of the American Hanoverian Society and a long standing member of the AHS Mare and Stallion Committee. The Hannoveraner Verband in Germany and Hanoverian breeders all over North America mourn the passing of a great horseman who was always open to discuss the issues with breeding and raising Hanoverians.
How sad to hear that Fritz has left us. I had quite a few dealings with him in the '80s, 90's and '00s when I was President and on the Board of the Canadian Sport Horse Association, which he was gracious enough to support in addition to the Hanoverian organizations.
Fritz was always delightfully outspoken, and even though sometimes one did not entirely agree with his opinions, it was always worth while listening closely to him, as often there were pearls of wisdom hidden within the arguments.
Jos, you described Fritz very well. His twinkling eye, wisdom and irreverence were very much hallmarks. His influence extended well beyond the Hanoverian breed. In addition to his life-long learning he had an "instinct" or feel for horses and people that was pretty sharp.