The Paso Fino

The Favored mount of the Spanish Conquistadors, has proud ties to a glorious past and the prospect of an even greater future. This elegant smooth gaited breed is capturing the hearts of horse lovers everywhere!

spanish jennet in the 18th centuary


The Paso Fino is the oldest true native breed of horse in the Western Hemisphere.
Columbus discovered an America without any horses. Although the ancestors of the present day horse evolved and developed in North America and spread to other parts of the world, horses vanished from the New World during the Ice Age, between 8,000 and 12,000 years ago.

spanish jennet

Nearly 500 years ago on his second voyage from Spain

Columbus brought a select group of mares and stallions from the provinces of Andalusia and Cordelia, and settled them at Santa Domingo. These horses were a mixture of Barb, Andalusian, and Spanish Jennet. The Spanish Jennet not only possessed an extremely comfortable saddle gait, but was able to pass this unique gait on to its offspring. The result of the blending of these horses was to become known as the Paso Fino horse  or Los Caballos de Paso Fino or the horse with the fine step.

spanish horses come to the americas

These Spanish horses became the foundation

stock for 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 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.

General Impression Paso Fino Horse

The Paso Fino is born with a gait unique to the breed, and his attitude seems to transmit to the observer that this horse knows his gait is a very special gift that must be executed with style and pride! The gait, being totally natural, does not exhibit the catapulting or exaggerated leg action of man made gaits: rather the movements are smooth, rhythmic, purposeful, straight, balanced in flexion and synchronous front to
rear, resulting in unequaled comfort and smoothness for the rider.

Paso Fino Head:

The 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.

Paso Fino Neck:

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.

Paso Fino Forehand:

Shoulders are sloping into the withers with great depth through the heart. Chest is moderate in width. Withers are defined but not pronounced and slope smoothly into the back.

Paso Fino Midsection:

Moderate in length with a well-sprung rib cage. Topline should be proportionately shorter than the underline. The back should be strong and muscled. The midsection should join the forehand and the hindquarters so as to give the horse a pleasing, proportioned appearance.

Paso Fino Hindquarters:

Croup is slightly sloping with rounded hips, broad loins, and strong hocks. Tail is carried gracefully when horse is in motion.

Paso Fino Legs:

Straight with refined bones and strong, well defined tendons. Broad, long fore-arms with shorter cannons. Thigh and gaskins are strong 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 strong and well defined. Hooves are well rounded, proportionate in size, and do not show excessive heel.

Paso Fino Mane, tail and forelock:

As long, full and luxurious as nature can provide. No artificial additions or alterations are allowed. A bridle path not exceeding 4″ is acceptable.

Paso Fino Size:

13 to 15.2 hands with 13.3 to 14.2 being the most typical. Weight from 700 to 1100 lbs. Full size may not be attained until the fifth year.

Paso Fino Color:

Every equine color can be found, with or without white markings.

Paso Fino Disposition:

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.

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The Paso Fino is a horse for all seasons

a horse for all climates, and a horse for diverse purposes. From the Florida Keys to the Pacific Northwest, and from southern California to New England, Eastern Canada, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Europe, the Paso Fino demonstrated its remarkable versatility not just in the show ring, but on competitive trail and endurance rides, in dressage work, rodeo, gymkhana, and back at the
ranch working cattle. And he does it all with a gait that provides unparalleled comfort for the rider.

The energy efficient Paso Fino, with its excellence versatility, and unique comfort for the rider, opens a New World for horse lovers.


The Paso Fino is a naturally stylish horse.

A good Paso Fino has a refined head, a long proudly-carried neck, and overall good saddle conformation. Mane, tail and forelock are kept as long, full and luxurious as nature can provide. Although not as large as some breeds, he can carry a large rider comfortably for an extended period of time. His legs and feet are exceptionally tough and many Paso Fino’s need no shoeing. There is no predominant color as all equine colors may be found. Paso Fino’s are a flashy, all around, intelligent mount with the bonus of continuous comfort for the rider.

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While the Paso Fino’s great spirit is evident under saddle, his disposition allows even beginners to ride with ease.

The gait is a lateral four beat footfall

providing a constant cadence. The rider should experience no up and down movement of his head and shoulders, and no jolting or bumping from side to side. The gait is totally natural. It is not uncommon for a newborn foal to be gaiting shortly after birth. While gait may be refined through natural training methods, no artificial training equipment is allowed or needed.

The gait is an evenly spaced four beat lateral gait. Each foot contacts the ground independently in a regular sequence at precise intervals creating a rapid, unbroken rhythm The sequence of the footfall is right rear, right fore, left rear, left fore. The cadence of 1, 2, 3, 4 beat is rhythmic with equal time intervals between hoof beats. There is very little up and down movement in either the croup or the shoulders of the horse. The motion of the horse is absorbed in its back and loins giving the rider unequaled comfort.

This Paso Fino Horses gait

is performed at three speeds with collection decreasing as speed increases. The speeds are:

  • Classic Fino
  • Paso Corto 
  • Paso Largo  
  •  The Paso Fino’s gait is totally natural and they gait from birth

Classic Fino
This is the classic show ring gait, performed with the horse fully balanced and collected and demonstrating a rapid, steady, unbroken rhythm of the hoofs and slow forward speed with animated action and symmetry of motion.

Paso Corto
It is performed at medium speed with the horse moderately collected and with light contact on the bit. In its relaxed form, the corto is an ideal trail and pleasure type gait. At its most elegant, it is snappily executed and exciting to watch. It is the speed most preferred by the horse and rider alike.

Paso Largo
This is the speed form of the gait. It should be smooth, balanced, and elegant. The horse should move out willingly and maintain the even 4-beat cadence. While it may be exciting to largo, the rider should never allow the horse to become light on the front or strung out behind trying to go too fast. Any indication that
the horse might break to a canter should be immediately corrected.

Call Horse Haven Paso Finos today and make an appointment to get to know this unique and adaptable breed better.

Cindi Gascon 601-299-0264