True to their name, Paso Finos are the horse with the fine step! The breed’s Spanish heritage can be seen in their proud attitude, style, and elegance. Paso Fino horses are known for being calm at hand, but full of energy, drive, and stamina under saddle. Their gait is unique, quick, extremely smooth, and totally natural!
Gaits of the Paso Fino
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 is 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.
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, 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 – Full collection, with very slow forward speed. The footfall is extremely rapid while the steps and extension are exceedingly short.
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 varies with the individual horse, since each horse should attain its top speed in harmony with its own natural stride and cadence.
The Paso Fino is capable of executing other gaits that are natural to horses, including the relaxed walk and lope or canter, and is known for its versatility. In Paso Fino Horse Association/United States Equestrian Federation (PFHA/USEF) sponsored shows, Paso Finos compete in Western classes (Trail and Versatility), as well as costume and Pleasure Driving. Paso Finos are also seen in parades, drill team competitions, cow penning, trail riding, and endurance competitions and are winning ribbons.
The Paso Fino Horse… The Smoothest Riding Horse in the World!
Adorned with the title “Smoothest Riding Horse in the World,” Paso Fino horses are increasingly gaining the attention of American horse lovers. Full of energy, drive, stamina, yet gentle on the ground, the Paso Fino may very well be America’s best kept secret. Bred for good physical balance, the Paso Fino is quick, sure-footed, and very athletic. The Paso Fino movement is completely unique to the breed and although it may be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before—don’t write this breed off until you have ridden one.
The athleticism and versatility of the Paso Fino is continually being explored by those who dare to put them to the test. Many stories tell of events in which this breed has surpassed others. Paso Fino horses have:
- Won the North American Wind Rider Challenge Championship.
- Competed in 100 mile one-day and 100 mile three-day Endurance Competitions.
- Won Competitive Trail Rides.
- Won Drill Team competitions.
- Been ridden hours on the trail without rider fatigue. No posting required. Just sit back and enjoy the smoothest ride ever.
- Shown the brilliance of the breed in parades and demonstrations.
- Been that perfect equine partner for the youth rider.
- Been trained to drive.
- Worked cattle.
- Won over the crowd at equine expos and events during breed demonstrations.
- Won Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions.
- Won Horse Soccer tournaments.
- Won Regional, National, and International Show Grand Championships.
Smooth and Versatile
One of the most unique attributes of the Paso Fino breed is its natural gait. Horses can be trained to perform different gaits for show and competition, but the fact that these sought-after gaits are performed naturally and perfectly by the Paso Fino sets it apart. Many people who have a hard time mounting or riding a horse due to age, and those who have had back injuries, knee injuries, or have been told, “You won’t be able to ride again,” find themselves able to ride a Paso Fino when no other horse will do. It’s even been said that the ride is as good as going to the chiropractor!
Appearance and Conformation
The Paso Fino has a refined head with a straight profile in good proportion and alert, intelligent eyes that do not show excessive white. The neck is strong and supportive with a high carriage that smoothly slopes into the back. Legs are strong and well-defined with shorter cannons and longer forearms. The Paso Fino should be well-proportioned, conveying strength and power without extreme muscling. Hooves are durable and rarely shod. They can be registered in any equine color, with or without white markings. These horses are often defined by their long, flowing mane and tail, and Paso Fino breeders take great care to keep them in naturally perfect condition.