The Paso Fino
If you're looking for a horse that can do just about anything then the Paso Fino is for you. The Paso Fino has demonstrated its versatility all over the world from the trail to the show ring. He is used on competitive trail and endurance rides, in dressage work, rodeos, gymkana and even ranch work. This is all done with a gait that provides unparalleled comfort for the rider. With its unexcelled versatility and comfort the little horse with a big hear opens a wonderous new world for horse lovers.
A naturally stylish horse, the Paso Fino has a refined head, long proudly-carried neck and overall good saddle conformation. Mane, tail and foreloce are kept as long and full as possible. While not as large as some breeds, he car easily carry a large rider comfortable for an extended period of time. HIs leags and feet are exceptionally tough and many Paso Fino's need no shoes. All equine colors may be found including spotted.
A flashy, all-around intelligent mount, the Paso also gives the rider continuous comfort. His great spirit is evident by looking at him in the field or under saddle, buy his disposition allows even beginners to ride with ease.
One of the main things that sets the Paso Fino apart from other breeds is his gait, it is a natural 4 beat lateral gait, meaning no 2 feet ever hit the ground at the same time; both legs on the same side of the horse are in motion at the same time. Being totally natural, the Paso Fino gait needs no artificial devices to exhibit the style known to the breed. The gait does not exhibit the catapulting or exaggerated leg action of manmade gaits; the movements are smooth, rhythmic, purposeful, strait, balanced in flexion and synchronous front to rear which results in the unequalled comfort found in the Paso Fino.
There are 2 types of Paso Finos; The Colombian, which is known for it's great looks, sense of presence, well proportioned and having lots of Brio(spirit) great movements and are solid colors for the most part;and the Puerto Rican, which is known for it naturalness and smoothness, being somewhat smaller than the Colombian. These horses have more white markings without being spotted. Here in America you will find successful combinations of the two to produce Pinto Paso Finos.
The head should be refined and in good proportion to the body of the horse, neither extremely small nor large with the preferred profile being straight. Eyes are large and well-spaced, very expressive and alert, and should not show excessive white around the edges. Ears are comparatively short, set close and curved inward at the tips. The lips should be firm and the nostrils large and dilatable. Jaws are defined but not extreme. The impression should be of a well-shaped, alert, and intelligent face.
The neck is gracefully arched, medium in length and set on at an angle to allow high carriage, breaking at the poll. The throat latch should be refined and well-defined.
The shoulders are sloping into the withers with great depth through the heart. Chest is moderate in width. Withers are defined but not pronounced and slope smoothly into the back.
The midsection is moderate in length with a well-sprung rib cage. The top line should be proportionately shorter than the underline. The back should be strong and muscled. The midsection should join the forehand and the hindquarters so as to give the horse a pleasing, proportioned appearance.
The croup is slightly sloping with rounded hips, broad loins, and strong hocks. The tail is carried gracefully when the horse is in motion.
The legs are straight with refined bones and strong, well defined tendons and broad, long forearms with shorter cannons. The thigh and gaskin are strong and muscled but not exaggerated. Standing slightly under in the rear is acceptable. Pasterns are sloping and medium in length. Bones are straight, sound, and flat, and joints are strong and well defined. Hooves are well rounded, proportionate in size and do not show excessive heel.
The mane, tail, and forelock are as long, full, and luxurious as nature can provide. No artificial additions or alterations are allowed. A bridle path not exceeding 4" is acceptable. Paso Fino horses are generally 13 to 15.2 hands with weight ranging from 700 to 1100 pounds. Full size may not be attained until the fifth year.
The Paso Fino gait is a smooth, fourbeat lateral gait, with a footfall sequence similar to the walk, but faster.
Paso Fino: The slowest foreward-moving gait, but the footfalls come very quickly and in cadence. The faster a fino horse's footfalls are, with the least amount of space traveled, the more desireable the animal is, and the higher the price. The fino, however, is not recommended for pleasure and trail riding, because of it's slowness, and the energy it requires both for the rider to maintain the proper cues for it, and the horse to perform it.
Corto A relaxed, somewhat faster gait than the Fino, but it covers the ground with the same speed as that of a slow gait from a Racking horse. This gait is the ideal replacement for the rough, twobeat trot, as the horse can perform it effortlessly, and the rider can sit it with equal satisfaction.
Largo The most exciting gait of all for many paso riders. This gait can reach speeds of upwards of 30 miles per hour. It is an extended, faster version of the corto, but the gaits cadence and smoothness remains beyond reproach. This totally NATURAL-BORN gait can keep horse and rider neck and neck with the fast racker or a person in a pretty good canter, and what a blast to ride!
The canter is the same for the paso as most other horse breeds. Many people do not recommend cantering or galloping a paso fino until it is evident that he will perform his other gaits willingly and without much fuss, because the canter is somewhat easier to do than maintain a gait, even if it is natural, right from day one.
Many ask "What does a natural 4-beat gait mean?" This is what makes the Paso Fino unique and so different from other breeds. No 2 feet hit the ground at the same time. The movement should be consistent and symmetrical, producing a smooth ride and a musical sound to your ears. The step is as follows: right back-right front-left back-left front and again to the right back. This continuity of steps is the factor responsible for the smooth rie. A horse will sometimes relax and train by traveling in a trocha. This is a diagonal movement. It is still a 4-beat movement, the legs move from right back and left front, but the left front hits the ground slightly before the right rear making the sound effect different from the trot. It is also a smoother ride than the trot. During some stages of training a horse may tend to go diagonal in order to relax and therefore learn more. Another reason a horse may go diagonal and not gait when asked is because of a lack of suppleness and flexing. A horse that does not relax into other gait will mos tlikely tense up and eventually begin to pace. Another sign of not relaxing is the loss of even footfall and the increase in forward movement. A horse who can relax in trocha will actually perform a more pure and true gait when asked to gait.
With proud carriage, grace and elegance the Paso Fino reflects its Spanish heritage. Modern care and selective breeding have enhanced its beauty, refinement and well-proportioned conformation that conveys strength and power without extreme muscling.
The Paso Fino is a graceful and agile equine athlete that uses all four legs with precision and harmony. The Paso Finos easy spirit, natural gait and responsive attitude make it a rare and desireable equine partner.
The Paso Fino originated from Spain. The three breeds that contributed to today's Paso are the Andalusian, the Spanish Barb and the Spanish Jennet (where the gait came from) from the Iberian Peninsula.
From these three ancestral lines, the Paso Fino was produced and its appearance is first marked as a breed of horse that was brought to the new world on his second expedition in 1493 by Christopher Columbus.
These were the horses of the Conquistadors. Comfort and endurance was required due to the long distances covered by these explorers started a remote breeding program. These two characteristics remain in the Paso Fino and are well noted for. The Peruvian Paso came from these early mounts along with the Colombian Paso Fino, both bred to function the best in that country's geographic conditions, and so it goes with the Puerto Rican Paso Fino, and others which developed in the southern island areas around the Caribbean. In North America, the Paso Fino came with the Spaniards.
The recent history of the Paso Fino in the United States, starts with a few US Army personnel in Puerto Rico in the late 1950's who decided to import the Paso Fino to the US. Then they discovered the Colombian Paso Fino and importation and cross breeding began in the US.
The first registry that was started was called the American Paso Fino Association, and was comprised of all Pasos. In 1972 the first national association exclusively for the Paso Fino, called the Paso Fino Owners and Breeders Association, was started, and with the newly formed registry, in 1974, six stallions imported from Puerto Rico and Colombia were named as the Foundation Sires for the American Paso Fino. These stallions were Faeton LaCE (PR), Mar de Plata LaCE(COL), Hilachas(COL), Lucertio(DOM REP), El Pastor(COL), and Bolero LaCE(PR). This was done to help mare owners breed to exemplary Paso Fino stallions. These stallions were chosen to typify what was considered the best of the Paso Fino breed.
The direction of the breed of Paso Fino in the US was impacted tremendously in 1984, with the first presentation of a four year old colt, named CAPUCHINO. He went on to win the US Grand National Fino Championship in '84, '85, '86 and '87, a record that remains unbroken to the present. Because of his success, his father was then brought to the US, and it is this horse that is dominant in the winning bloodlines of today. His name was RESORTE CUATRO. It is his progeny that represent the majority of winners in the show ring at the present time.
Other phenomenal stallions of note in recent history were RESORTE III, (father of Resorte IV), BOCHICA, CONTRAPUNTO, and ANFITRION, Colombian Paso Finos, all of whom have progeny that are considered the best of the best, in bloodlines of the Paso Fino. These stallions are all deceased, but are represented by their offspring in the best of breeding stallions and brood mares alive today.
The growth and expansion of the Paso Fino in the US has continued and there are approximately 25,000 registered Paso Finos in the Paso Fino Horse Association registry records at the present time.
Yet another wonderful characteristic of the Paso Fino is there temperment. The Paso Fino is noted for a gentle and loving disposition and loves attention. There are exceptions of course, the majority of Paso Fino's are people horses. They strive to please and "love to be loved". Stallions will stand side by side with ease. The Paso Fino is an extremely willing horse that truly seems to enjoy human companionship and strives to please. It is spirited and responsive under tack while sensible and gentle at hand.
As with all animals if frightened will react with what horsemen call "flight or fight". They will respond by running or they will stand and fight.
The Paso Fino is "a cut above the rest" without a doubt. More alive, more affectionate, more willing, smarter, and without a doubt, a much more enjoyable companion and mount to ride.