The Versatile Paso Fino!
History of the Paso Fino

History Of The Paso Fino. The Paso Fino's journey to the Americas began more than 500 years ago with the importation of Andalusians, Spanish Barbs from North Africa, and smooth-gaited Jennets (now extinct as a breed) to the "New World" by Spanish Conquistadors. Bred for their stamina, smooth gait and beauty, "Los Caballos de Paso Fino" (the horses with the fine walk) served as the foundation stock for remount stations of the Conquistadors. Centuries of selective breeding by those who colonized the Caribbean and Latin America produced variations of the "Caballo de Criollo", among them the Paso Fino that flourished initially in Puerto Rico and Colombia, and later, in many other Latin American countries - primarily Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Venezuela. Descendents of the Conquistadors' horses are believed to have spread into North America after the Spanish soldiers forayed for a brief time into this territory. The modern-day mustang has traces of his Spanish forebears. The Nez Perce Indian tribe, renowned for their expert horsemanship and sophisticated knowledge of breeding spotted horses, may have mixed some Spanish stock into their famous Appaloosas, whose name is derived from the Palouse River region of the Nez Perce's tribal homeland in Oregon.

Awareness of the Paso Fino as we know it today didn't spread outside Latin America until after WWII, when American servicemen came into contact with the stunning Paso Fino horse while stationed in Puerto Rico. Americans began importing Paso Finos from Puerto Rico in the mid-1940s. Two decades later, many Paso Fino horses began to be imported from Colombia. For a while, there was some contention as to which country produced the "true" Paso Fino. Though there are still some self-professed "purists" who advocate for one of the other country, the American Paso Fino - true to our "melting pot" tradition - is often a blend of the best of Puerto Ricans and Colombian bloodlines.
Paso Fino Show Horses
The Unique Gait 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 that 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 from front to rear, resulting in an 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 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. Gait is performed at three forward speeds (Classic Fino, Paso Corto, Paso Largo) 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 croupe.

The Paso Fino is capable of executing other gaits that are natural to horses, including the relaxed walk and lope or canter. In PFHA/USEF - sponsored shows, Paso Finos compete in Western classes, Trail and Versatility, as well as Costume and Pleasure Driving. Paso Finos are also being seen in cow penning, trail riding, and endurance competitions and are winning ribbons!
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