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Brief history and description of the Paso Fino

The Paso Fino Gait

The Paso Fino is born with a natural, evenly spaced, four beat lateral gait. Each foot contacts the ground independently at equal time intervals, with the same impact and cadence. This results in a rapid unbroken rhythm that provides the ultimate in smooth and comfortable rides.

The Paso Fino can move forward at three distinct degrees of extension, but all with the same cadence and order of footfall.

· Classic Fino ·

The footfall is extremely rapid while the steps and extension are exceedingly short. A spectacular gait for the show ring. The horse should move in a rhythmical and harmonious way. Only a small minority of horses are capable of Classic Fino.

· Paso Corto ·
The normal medium ground covering gait of the Paso fino. Comparable in speed to a working trot, executed with medium extension and stride. Very comfortable to ride, a well conditioned horse can maintain a corto for several hours.
· Paso Largo ·
The fastest ground covering gait, executed with a longer extension and stride, without losing cadence and balance. maximum forward speed varies with the individual horse.

The breed known today as the Paso Fino, is the result of five hundred years of selective breeding in its home countries of, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Venezuela, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, and since the 1940's the USA.

The Spanish conquistadors brought with them to the new world, Andalucians, Spanish Barbs, and the now extinct smooth gaited Spanish Jennet. They valued the beauty, stamina, nobility, and smooth natural gait, of the horses that developed from combining the best of these breeds.

The Paso Fino ranges between 13 HH and 15 HH, with tremendous strength and stamina. Possessing a completely natural smooth gait, capable of carrying a heavy rider and all their kit over rugged terrain. As they were bred to do in the mountains of Central and South America. Combining a proud and graceful carriage, with a willing and highly responsive nature. The Paso Fino wants to please its owner. Calm in hand, responsive under saddle.


The Paso Fino is shown in the following three main classes.

Classic Fino Class

This class is judged primarily on the execution of the classic fino gait. Horses will be assessed as they follow the rail, working in both directions, including reverses and halts, cross the sounding board, and performing exercises such as figure eights and serpentines. At all times the horse must exhibit a smooth, balanced, animated and exciting even four beat classic fino gait, executed with brilliance and style.

To be judged:

Performance Class

This class is judged on the execution of the paso corto, paso largo, and collected walk. Additional tests such as serpentines may be required by the judges. The performance Paso Fino exhibits a highly animated action, with a high level of pride, style, elegance and enthusiasm. They will demonstrate a higher action than horses in the other show classes, with an equally high level of spirit. The largo should also be demonstrably faster than the corto, while maintaining balance and harmony. The walk should demonstrate collection, style, and brilliance, without sacrificing cadence, rhythm or animation.

To be judged:

Special attention shall be afforded to brilliance, form, smoothness, and rhythmic consistency.

Pleasure Class

This class is also judged on the execution of the paso corto and paso largo, but with a flat walk. additional tests such as, dismount and remount, may be required by the judges. The riders style of dismount and remount is not important, and mounting blocks may be used if necessary. Rather emphasis is placed on the horses willingness to stand quietly during the test. The pleasure horse exhibits a lower action than the performance horse, and a more biddable nature. None the less the horse should still perform with brilliance, harmony and style. Transitions between the gaits should be smooth, with the horse displaying no signs of resistance. At the line up the horse will be required to back. Refusal to back will disqualify the horse from placement.

To be judged

Regardless of the modality ( Fino, Performance, Pleasure ), the horse should be presented in the show ring performing at 100% of its capability, fully balanced, and working in harmony with its rider.

The Paso Fino

Paso Finos will also flat walk, trot, canter, and gallop just like other breeds of horse. They are a tremendously versatile breed, spectacular in the show ring, one of the best endurance breeds, a great hacking and leisure horse, also highly talented in the western disciplines of cutting and barrel bending due to its agility and strength.

A great show, leisure or competitive breed. Why not get in touch with us, and come and "ride the glide" as they say in the US.