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Paso Fino

The Smoothest Riding Horse in the World

Bunker III, in the pasture

Bunker III, in the pasture

© Cheri Prill

 

Introduction

True to their name, Paso Finos are the horse with the fine step! Their Spanish heritage can be seen through the proud attitude, style, and elegance of their movements. Paso Fino horses are known for being gentle on the ground, but full of energy, drive, and stamina when ridden. The Paso Fino performs a gait unique to the breed that is quick, smooth, and totally natural!  

Papillion del Juncal ridden with traditional show tack and rider in show costume. Riders wear chaps called zamarros which are popular at shows in Colombia & Puerto Rico

Papillion del Juncal ridden with traditional show tack and rider in show costume. Riders wear chaps called zamarros which are popular at shows in Colombia & Puerto Rico

© Cheri Prill

 

History

The Paso Fino is the oldest true native breed in the Western Hemisphere. Known to be hardy and smooth-riding for long hours of exploring, the Paso Fino's ancestors were first brought to America with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage from Spain. Paso Fino horses were bred for almost 500 years in Puerto Rico and Colombia before U.S. servicemen discovered them in the 1940's and brought the Paso Fino to the U.S.

 

Breed Standards

Cafeto del Juncal, wearing a red & black bridle called a "jaquima"

Cafeto del Juncal, wearing a red & black bridle called a "jaquima"

© Cheri Prill

Looks and Style

Paso Finos are bred to have good balance. Their legs aren't too long, nor is their body too heavy. Their hooves are hardy and rarely need shoes. They come in every equine color, including pinto, palomino, and even cream or buckskin. Paso Fino horses are usually 13 to 15 hands tall and always have a long, flowing mane and tail, kept in perfect condition.

 

Picaflor de La Sierra

Picaflor de La Sierra

© Cheri Prill

Smooth Ride

Horses can be trained to perform different gaits for show and competition, but the Paso Fino is born with this ability! Many people with bad backs or knees aren't able to ride any other breed, because no other breed is so smooth!

 

Paso Fino Stallion ridden in costume

Paso Fino Stallion ridden in costume

© Cheri Prill

The Paso Fino can walk and canter like other breeds, but they prefer to gait. Their gait has three speeds called the Classic Fino, Paso Corto, and Paso Largo. The Classic Fino is very rapid but covers little ground, almost like running in place. This gait is used only for show and is the most difficult to perform. At shows, the horses gait over the ‘fino board' with microphones underneath so the judges can hear how fast their feet are moving. The Paso Corto gait is the most natural gait, with speed similar to a trot. The fastest gait is the Paso Largo. In this gait, the horse extends its legs out, similar to a canter or slow gallop, and can reach speeds up to thirty miles per hour.

Legacy de Besilu ridden by David Castro

Legacy de Besilu ridden by David Castro

© Cheri Prill

 

General Impression: Smooth, natural gait that is unique to the breed. Movement is balanced and in-sync.
Size: 13 to 15.2 hands with 13.3 to 14.2 being the most typical size. Weight is 700 to 1000 pounds. Full size may not be attained until the fifth year.
Color: Every equine color can be found, with or without white markings.
Disposition: 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.
Mane, Tail, and Forelock: They are as long, full, and luxurious as nature can provide. No artificial additions are allowed.
Head: Well-shaped, alert, and intelligent face. The head is refined and in proportion to the body, with a defined, but not extreme jaw, and large, expressive eyes.
Neck: Gracefully arched, medium in length, and allowing for a high carriage.
Forehand: Shoulders slope into the withers with great depth through the hearth.
Midsection: The top line should be proportionately shorter than the underline. The back is strong and muscled.
Hindquarters: The croup is slightly sloping with rounded loins, broad hips, and strong hocks. The tail is carried gracefully when in motion.
Legs: Straight with refined bones, strong, well-defined tendons, and broad, long forearms with shorter cannons. The thigh and gaskin are strong and muscled but not exaggerated. Pasterns are sloping and medium in length.

Verdugo de La Nacion galloping in the pasture

Verdugo de La Nacion galloping in the pasture

© Cheri Prill

The Breed Today

These horses are known for being extremely gentle at hand, yet their ‘brio,' or spirit, shows when worked under saddle. Because they are smaller in size, have balanced proportion, and such quick footwork, they are very versatile. They are used in the show ring, for endurance and trail competitions, Cowboy Mounted Shooting, parades, drill teams, driving, team-penning, and so much more.

Conprometido de Diana, ridden bareback on the beach

Conprometido de Diana, ridden bareback on the beach

© Cheri Prill

 

Additional Information

For additional information contact:

    Paso Fino Horse Association
    4047 Iron Works Parkway, Suite 1
    Lexington, KY 40511
    (859) 825-6000
    www.pfha.org

 

Rockero de Fantasy, at liberty

Rockero de Fantasy, at liberty

© Cheri Prill

 

Verdugo de La Nacion standing in woods

Verdugo de La Nacion standing in woods

© Cheri Prill

 

Verdugo de La Nacion, standing by trees covered in Spanish Moss in Ocala, FL

Verdugo de La Nacion, standing by trees covered in Spanish Moss in Ocala, FL

© Cheri Prill

 

Zorro, playing on Miami Beach

Zorro, playing on Miami Beach

© Cheri Prill

 

Conprometido de Diana in the pasture

Conprometido de Diana in the pasture

© Cheri Prill

 

JLM's Jaranero at liberty

JLM's Jaranero at liberty

© Cheri Prill

 

Regalo de La Isla

Regalo de La Isla

© Cheri Prill

 

El Oculto de La Serrania on the beach in Luquillo, Puerto Rico

El Oculto de La Serrania on the beach in Luquillo, Puerto Rico

© Cheri Prill

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