WE FEATURE THE UNIQUE PUERTO RICAN PASO FINO HORSES
WHAT IS A PASO FINO?
A Paso Fino is a gaited horse, but to leave the description at that is like saying the Pacific Ocean is water. Description of Paso Fino 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 streamline.
All colors are found except the Appaloosa pattern. The breed is noted for its agility, intelligence and hardiness.The Paso Fino originated in Puerto Rico and Colombia to then spread into many countries such as USA, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Canada and several European countries. For many generations the Paso Fino was a Latin breed. Breeders in these areas had no need for large horses, as they were not large of stature themselves. They did however have great pride in the appearance of their horses and execution of the gait, so they bred to enhance these characteristics. Paso Finos’ 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 a perfect four beat, neither lateral nor diagonal, with the footfall being left hind, left front, right hind and right front, the same as the natural walk. The gait is natural; it is not uncommon for newborn foals to be gaiting shortly after birth. Gait may be refined thorough training, but no artificial training equipment or special shoeing is used. Classic Fino is by far the most breathtaking to watch or experience. The horse is balanced and collected with rapid footfall and slow forward speed, displaying 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. Paso Corto is a ground covering gait which is ideal for pleasure, and trail riding. It is 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, 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 of 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. 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 gallop. 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. Most horses are 13 to 14 hands range, but for those to whom height is important we have tall ones too! The Paso Fino is a very people oriented horse, 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 tries so hard to please!!!