Paso Fino Breed Standard
The Paso Fino horse reflects its Spanish heritage through its proud carriage, grace and elegance. 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 born with a gait unique to the Breed, and its attitude seems to transmit to the observer that this horse knows its gait is a very special gift that must be executed with style and pride! The gait, being totally natural, does not exhibit the catapulting or exaggerated leg action of manmade gaits; rather the movements are 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. With its definite but controlled spirit, natural gait and presence, and responsive attitude, the Paso Fino is indeed, a rare and desirable equine partner.

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 13 to 15.2 hands with 13.3 to 14.2 being the most typical size with weight ranging from 700 to 1100 pounds. Full size may not be attained until the fifth year.

Every equine color can be found, with or without white markings.

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.

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. Footfall is in the same sequence as a natural equine walk, i.e., left rear, left fore, right rear, right fore. Propulsion is primarily from the hind limbs and the horse's motion is absorbed in its back and loins, 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 croup.

Classic Fino - Forward speed is very slow, and the footfall is extremely rapid while the steps and extension are exceedingly short. To be executed fully collected.

Paso Corto - Forward speed is moderate, ground-covering but unhurried, executed with medium extension and stride. The degree of collection desired varies with class requirements.

Paso Largo - The fastest speed of the gait. The largo is executed with a longer extension and stride. Forward speed varies with the individual horse, since each horse should attain its top speed in harmony with its own natural stride and cadence. The degree of collection desired varies with class requirements.

The Paso Fino can execute other gaits natural to horses in addition to the Paso Fino gait; The Walk - Smooth, steady evenly-spaced four-beat gait; The Lope - True, three-beat gait, slow, cadenced, smooth, straight on both leads, with no tendency to mix gaits; The Canter - True, three-beat gait, straight on both leads, smooth and unhurried with no tendency to mix gaits.



BACK to List of Articles