History / Origins
In the year 1493 when Christoph Columbus traveled to the New World for the second time he brought with him breeding stock of the Barb and Andalusian horses as well as the Spanish Genet (extinct). These horses along with many more that were brought over later formed the genetic foundation and helped develop the Paso Fino horse as we know it today.
The topography of the south american continent, the climate and surrounding helped developing the laterally gaited hispano american horse. Rides lasting for days through the rough and uneven countryside, along narrow rocky pathways developed and refined the rhythm of the gait. Over 400 years of development time (1500 until 1900) and a high quality breeding program with sturdy, willing and well gaited animals shaped the surefooted, balanced and extremely talented Paso Fino horse of today.
At first mostly used for traveling and as pack animals, these comfortable and untiring horses soon turned into indispensable mounts of the farm owners for overseeing the land and to help with the cattle. They were very proud of their beautiful horses which they also liked to show and display.
Only starting in the 19th century the horses were presented at national shows and events and later competed against each other in regards of beauty, speed and stamina.
The Paso Fino
The Paso Fino reflects his Spanish heritage: An elegant, proud and graceful appearance. Through selective breeding the original beauty, refinement and the well-proportioned conformation of his ancestors were greatly improved. He is delicate, versatile, easy to ride and athletic without being extremely bulky, he gives the impression of vigor and power. His high yet always controllable temperament, his natural four-beat gait and his alert, reacting and wiling nature, his distinct „Brio“ (eager willingness combined with vigorous commitment and expressive presentation, easy to ride) make the Paso Fino horse an outstanding and sought after trail and pleasure horse.
An elegant and well-proportioned horse
The head of the Paso Fino horse is delicate, shapely and refined with a well formed, expressive and intelligent face: large eyes, a flat forehead, small ears, a delicate muzzle with big nostrils and well defined cheeks emphasize the attentive expression of the Paso Fino. The neck is well arched, of moderate length and set high with a well defined throat latch area and long and thick mane and forelock. It slopes down into a slanting shoulder and medium wide chest with a smooth transition into the back. The back is of short or medium length, strong, well muscled and leads to a gently sloping croup with a low set tail. The typical tail carriage of the Paso Fino: He holds the tail downwards or like a flag. The correct, refined extremities are slender, strong with clearly defined bones and tendons, with small, hard and well shaped hooves.
Besides its traditional area of Colombia and Puerto Rico the USA are the largest breeder of Paso Fino horses. The breed is known there since 1971 and is gaining more popularity every day. The number of Paso Fino horses in Switzerland has been continuously increasing since 1975.
The main characteristics of the Paso Fino horse are his natural lateral four-beat gait, the Paso, his affectionate nature, his willingness to learn and his intelligence. Thanks to these remarkable traits along with his noble appearance the Paso Fino is not only the ideal trail and pleasure horse but also suitable for competitions and shows.
Leisure riding: The extremely smooth lateral four-beat gait and stamina of the Paso Fino horse make him extremely suitable for long trail rides, Cabalgatas and so on. The Paso Fino will give his everything, no matter what you ask of him. With his unique will to please he is the ideal partner for all sorts of fun activities.
Competition: With his remarkable will to learn and eagerness to work the Paso Fino horse is the ideal partner for ambitious riders who like to compete! Besides traditional shows and events he is also suitable for endurance riding due to his stamina, and his focus and trust in his rider predestine him for patrol rides, Gymkhanas and such. And if you like cattle work, you can even use him for this due to his inbred cow sense.
Show: The noble and athletic appearance of the Paso Fino horse combined with the rider in traditional Colombian show clothing will catch everyones attention at a show. The flexibility and frequency in the Paso gait are thrilling for the spectators any time. His eagerness to work, his focus on his rider turn him into a perfect show horse and crowd pleaser.
Breeding: The breeding programs in Switzerland focus on high quality and purebred Paso Fino horses. There are purebred Paso Fino horses born every year, partner for the trail and pleasure rider as well as the competitive rider.
The typical gait is natural and congenital. His extremely smooth movements, with clear and distinct four beat rhythm in the Paso gait are vigorous, harmonious and accented. The sequence of steps is the same as in the natural flat walk, that is left rear, left front, right rear, right front. The energy comes from the hindquarter, the movement is absorbed in the hocks and back with almost no croup movement. This makes the Paso Fino horse extremely smooth to ride.
The Paso gait is separated in three different speeds with different levels of collection: Classic Fino, Paso Corto and Paso Largo. The rider can sit extremely comfortable in the saddle in every of the three various speeds.
Classic Fino – As little reach as possible, extremely short and rapid footfall. The Classic Fino is a show gait with a maximum level of collection.
Paso Corto – Moderate speed with good reach but without hurrying. Light to moderate level of collection according to the requirements of the class.
Paso Largo – The fasted of the three tempi. Bigger stride and reach. The fasted speed varies from horse to horse but shall never be the reason to lose rhythm and harmony of natural movements and cadence.
In addition to the typical Paso gait the Paso Fino horse shows all other gaits: walk, trot, trocha and canter.