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The Paso Fino
Don't Forget to BOOKMARK!
A Paso Fino is a gaited horse, but to leave the description at that  is like saying the Pacific Ocean is water. Gaited horses come in  many varieties, but none surpass the quality and  smoothness of gait experienced with the Paso Fino breed. The Paso Fino exhibits this  quality  from birth, with foals only hours old performing the perfect four beat rhythm the breed is noted  for. Paso Fino horses come in all sizes, shapes and colors. They can be found as tall as 16  hands  for those to whom height is important and as small as 13 for those  to whom it is not.  The body styles vary from stocky to streamlined.  All colors are found except the Appaloosa pattern. The breed is noted for it's agility,  intelligence and hardiness.

They come from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Columbia and Venezuela as the original countries. For many generations the Paso Fino was a Latin breed.  Breeders in these areas had no need for large horses, as the native peoples were not large of stature themselves. They did however have great pride in the appearance of their horses and execution of gait so they breed to enhance these characteristics. The Paso Fino became a horse that carried itself with much pride, or "brios" and the unique short strided, rapid footfall of the classic Fino or Fino Fino became prized in their native lands.

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Resorte IV, Bochica and Contrapunto
in compentition in 1983, 
three of the most famous Paso Fino Stallions of their time!

Paso Fino walk, gait and canter. The Paso Fino gait is performed at three speeds with the level of collection varying , the  speeds are Classic Fino, Paso Corto, and Paso Largo  The horses perform the gait in three styles, the Classic Fino, Performance and the Pleasure style. The gait is perfect four beat neither lateral nor diagonal. with the footfall being left hind, left front, right hind right front,  the same as the natural walk.    The gait is a natural, it is not uncommon for newborn foals to be gaiting shortly after birth. Gait may be refined through training, but no artificial training equipment or special shoeing is used  . 

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Classic Fino is by far the most breath taking to watch or experience. The horse is  balanced and collected with rapid footfall and slow forward speed, demonstration a rapid, steady, and unbroken rhythm. Their feet are moving faster than you can drum your leg with your hands, and they are moving forward at a speed slower than your normal walking speed. The Classic Fino (or FINO FINO) has extremely short rapid footfall, sounds like the rapid roll of a drum, with VERY slow forward speed.  The horses perform in complete collection, with upright carriage and neck breaking at the poll to allow the head to be held almost on the vertical.  Only a small percentage of the Paso Fino can perform this gait.  To perform it well requires natural ability and an athlete, the horse must be supple, balanced and in great physical form to be able to sustain the Classic Fino. The Dons of the countries of origin found it a point of pride to own and ride the BEST of these Classic Fino Stallions.  These men often weighed 200 to 400 lbs., and the horses would carry them for hours as they surveyed their lands.  The Paso Fino became a breed with much heart and endurance and a natural gait which was passed on from one generation to the next.

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Hillaches, one of the foundation sires of the American Paso Fino

Paso Corto  Paso Corto is a ground covering gait which is ideal for pleasure, and trail riding. About the speed of a trot or rack or running walk. The Corto moves forward at about the speed of the trot in non-gaiting breeds, collection is mild and extension varies within the two styles (Pleasure and Performance). Performance horses tend to perform a slower Corto, with a shorter stride and more rapid footfall. Hock action and rear end drive and execution being prized in this style of Paso Fino (The Performance Paso). The Pleasure Paso Fino tends to have a faster, more relaxed Corto.  Less execution is expected, but no loss of smoothness or gait footfall pattern. Most Classic Fino horses are also capable of performing a Corto, and when they do it is in the style of the Performance Paso.

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Multiple Top Ten Sire for the American Paso Fino

Paso Largo can achieve speeds up to 22 miles per hour. As fast as the canter in many horses and equal in speed to the speed rack. The Largo is the speed form of the gait, with speeds equivalent to that of a canter or in some cases a gallop.. Both Performance and Pleasure styles of Paso Fino perform the Largo with once again hock action and rear end drive and execution being stronger in the Performance Paso. The Largo is not JUST a change of speed; there MUST be obvious extension of stride from the horses Corto as well as the speed change.

They can do a normal flat walk, a collected walk and of course can canter and gallup.

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Amateur Owner 3 year old 
Pleasure Schooling Colt

Paso Fino has increased in size as they have become more common in the USA. Whether it is from improved nutrition, or selective breeding, the horses of the USA tend to be larger than their imported counterparts. Horses can be found in the 15 hand range quite often with individuals reaching 16 hands on occasion. The breed still had the horses of less stature, they are still the most common in the breed, but for those to whom height is important we have tall ones too! 

Paso Fino are very people oriented horses, one of the things that draws people to the breed is their willingness to try to do anything their rider asks of them. (If they understand what it is being asked!)  These horses make you look good! They are so smart that almost anyone can train them if they understand how to train kindly. Paso owners often state they have NEVER had another breed that learns so fast, and try's so hard to please.


Paso Fino Breed Standard

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