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Paso Fino Breed Description

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Breed Organization

The Paso Fino Horse Association PFHA

Native Country

Other Names

Adult Height
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Adult Weight
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General Description

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.

Neck: Should be gracefully arched, medium in length and set on at an angle to allow high carriage, breaking at the poll. Throat latch should be refined and well-defined. Shoulders are sloping into the withers with great depth through the heart. Chest is moderate in width.
Withers: Defined but not pronounced and slope smoothly into the back. The midsection is moderate in length with a well-sprung rib cage. the topline should be proportionately shorter than the underline. The back should be b and muscled. The midsection should join the forehand and the hindquarters so as to give the horse a pleasing, proportioned appearance.
Hindquarters: The croup is slightly sloping with rounded hips, broad loins, and b hocks. The tail is carried gracefully when horse is in motion.
Legs: Straight with refined bones and broad, well defined tendons and broad, long fore-arms with shorter cannons. Thigh and gaskins are broad and muscled, but not exaggerated. Standing slightly under in the rear is typical. Pasterns are sloping and medium in length. Bones are straight, sound and flat, and joints are b and well defined. The hooves are well rounded, proportionate in size, and do not show excessive heel.
Mane, Tail and Forelock: Should be as long, full and luxurious as nature can provide. No artificial additions or alterations are allowed. A bridle path not exceeding 4" is acceptable.
Size: Ranges from 13 to 15.2 hands with 13.3 to 15 being the most typical. Weight ranges from 700 to 1100 lbs. Full size may not be attained until the fifth year.
Color: Every equine color can be found, with or without white markings. The disposition of the Paso Fino is marked by an extremely willing horse that truly seems to enjoy human companionship and strives to please. Spirited and responsive under tack; sensible and gentle at hand.
Movement: The Paso Fino is a four-beat lateral gait, the birthright of every Paso Fino. Newborn foals struggle to their feet and take their first faltering steps in gait.

The Paso Fino executes a natural evenly spaced four-beat lateral ambling gait, similar to many gaited horses. Both the Colombian and the Puerto Rican strains of the Paso Fino execute the lateral gait naturally, without the aid of training devices.

The Paso Fino's gaits are performed at varied levels of extension in stride. All four hooves travel close to the ground while in motion and are lifted equally in height as the horse covers ground. At whatever speed the horse travels, the smoothness of the gait ideally allows the rider to appear motionless with little up and down movement.

Paso Fino performing Classic FinoThe classic fino or paso fino is a collected gait with rapid footfalls that covers as little ground as possible. It requires a high degree of collection. This is a show gait reserved for competition. Walking, trotting, cantering or any detected break from the rapid evenly spaced sequence of steps is grounds for disqualification at any time during a fino event.

The paso corto is slightly more extended, and used during trail rides. The speed of this gait is comparable to the speed of a trot but is much smoother.

The paso largo is a fast, lateral, four-beat gait in which the horse can reach speeds equivalent to a canter or slow gallop. The paso largo is not just an increase in speed but also shows a distinct extension in stride. The paso largo can be extremely fast, up to 25-30 mph.

Only a few Paso Finos can perform a true classic fino, but the majority perform the other gaits with ease. The correctness of the gait is very important by today's standards, therefore horses with a very even four-beat gait are much preferred for professional breeding.

In Colombia, some related native horses perform a slightly different, unevenly timed diagonal four-beat gait, known as the trocha, which is similar to the fox trot, and very smooth. While some Paso Finos will perform the trocha, it is discouraged and considered a fault in the purebred Paso Fino. In Colombia the "trocha" has evolved, becoming a separate genealogical line. It is inherited in a manner similar to the lateral ambling gaits of the purebred Paso Fino. Trocha rivals in popularity with paso fino in Colombia, but crossbreeding is now avoided. Another Colombian breed performs what is known as trote y galope. The trote y galope horses perform an exaggerated diagonal two-beat trot and a very collected canter, but they do share some common heritage with the Paso Fino. Not as well known as Paso Fino, these variants are just beginning to be recognized in the United States.


The Paso Fino has a proud past and is one of the oldest native breeds of horse in the Western Hemisphere. In 1492, Columbus discovered a continent without horses. On his second voyage from Spain, he brought a select group of mares and stallions from the provinces of Andalusia and Cordela, and settled them at Santo Domingo. These horses were a mixture of Barb, Andalusian and Spanish Jennet. The Spanish Jennet not only possessed an extremely comfortable saddle gait, but also was able to pass the gait on to its offspring. The result of the blending of these horses was horses with an incredibly smooth gait, which would evolve into the Paso Fino breed.

These horses were the foundation stock for the remount stations of the Conquistadors. As Spanish settlers came to the New World, they brought more Spanish horses. During the nearly 500 years that Paso Fino Horses have been selectively bred and perfected in the Western Hemisphere, they have been called upon to perform a diverse role, first in the conquest of, and then in the exploration and development of the Americas.

There are more than 200,000 Paso Fino horses throughout Central and South America. CONFEPASO (Confederation of Paso Fino) a confederation of eight countries, Europe, United States, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Panama and Aruba was formed for the purpose of international competition. It has held three Mundial (World Cups) since 1993. The first in the Dominican Republic, the second in 1996 in Puerto Rico and the third Mundial hosted by Cali, Columbia in October of 1997. Plans are underway to host the fourth Mundial in the United States in 1999.


This is a lively horse that has a natural drive and willingness, known colloquially as "brio", and generally an amiable disposition.

The Paso Fino is a versatile horse, able to adapt to a variety of climates and purposes. They are now commonly found throughout the United States and Canada, and also in Puerto Rico, Columbia, and throughout South America. The Paso Fino demonstrates its remarkable versatility not just in the show ring, but on competitive trail and endurance rides, in dressage, rodeo, and working cattle.


Paso Finos are versatile and are used in many disciplines. They have horse shows for the breed only, but are also seen competing in all-breed disciplines such as trail riding and endurance competition, driving and gymkhana.


No specific breed issues found.

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