the horse with the fine walk, has come to be known simply as Paso Fino. A breed that is five centuries in the making, was influenced by the Andalusian, Spanish Barb from North Africa, and the (now extinct)smooth-gaited Spanish Jennet and brought to the "New World" by Spanish Conquistadors. The breeding of these foundation horses resulted in what would become the foundation stock for the remount stations of the Conquistadors. Centuries of selective breeding throughout Latin America and the Caribbean produced strains of the "Caballo de Criollo" (native horse), among them, the Paso Fino as bred in Puerto Rico and Colombia, and later, in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Venezuela.
Americans began importing Paso Finos from Puerto Rico in the mid-1940s, after servicemen stationed in Puerto Rico discovered the fascinating smooth gaited horses on the island. Upon their return home a number of servicemen brought horses home for the own use, and with the idea of establishing breeding farms in the USA. Two decades later, many Paso Fino horses began to be imported from Colombia.
The Paso Fino Gait
The gait is natural and normally exhibited from birth. It is an evenly-spaced four-beat lateral gait with each foot contacting the ground independently with equal cadence and impact resulting in unequaled smoothness and comfort for the rider.
The Paso Fino gait is performed at three forward speeds and with varying degrees of collection. In all speeds of the gait, the rider should appear virtually motionless in the saddle, and there should be no perceptible up and down motion of the horse's croupe.
Classic Fino - Full collection, with very slow forward speed. The footfall is extremely rapid with little forward motion.
Paso Corto - Forward speed is moderate, with full to moderate collection. Steps are ground-covering but unhurried, executed with medium extension and stride.
Paso Largo - The fastest speed of the gait, executed with a longer extension and stride, and moderate to minimal collection. Forward speed and extention varies with natural ability and athleticism of individual horses, since each horse should attain its top speed, with it's own stride and cadence while maintaining accurate footfall.
Along with the unique gait, the Paso Fino transmits style, beauty and brio - a sense royal breeding and attitude conveys to the observer that this horse knows senses it is indeed a rare and special breed and that it's gait must be executed with pride! The gait is smooth, rhythmic, purposeful, straight, balanced in flexion and synchronous front to rear, it's movements graceful and fluid.
The Paso Fino in North America has evolved in to a breed that excels in almost every aspect of equine activities, from the collected, rapid footfall athletic accomplishments of the traditional show horse, to the trails and adventures enjoyed by the recreational riding horse. Paso Finos can be found competing in timed events, reining arena, open shows and on endurance and competative trail rides.
No matter your interest, you can probably find a Paso Fino that suits your requirements.
With the evolution of the breed in North America, and the blending of the multiple strains of Paso Fino, other modalities (gaits) can now be found in the USA just as they are found in their native countries.
The Paso Colombiano includes the Paso Fino gait, Trocha, and Trot Y Galope
Puerto Rico claims that "Paso Fino" is the gait of the Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino. The racing Paso Fino is know as the andadura horse in Puerto Rico, and is gaining recognition and popularity at a very fast rate.
The primary association in North America (PFHA) recognizes only the Paso Fino gait, however other modalities may be shown and registered in other organizations in the USA, such as the ATTA, the Grand Prix and IPHF Association.