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The Paso Fino Horse Breed

Beautifully constructed, strong, and powerful, the Paso Fino came to the Spanish-speaking new world around 500 years ago, combining the blood of the Andalusian, the Barb and the Spanish Jennet (now extinct). Discovered by American soldiers in post-WWII Puerto Rico, its popularity quickly spread in the US and Canada.

The Paso Fino is a highly graceful and athletic horse of proud carriage whose name translates to describe its most renowned and distinctive quality: Fine Step.

The Paso Fino is born with its distinctive gait, lateral rather than diagonal, with a four-beat cadence. Each “beat” is perfectly timed and rhythmic, resulting in a smooth, comfortable ride with no up and down motion. When done properly, the rider appears motionless in the saddle. The Paso Fino can also do a standard walk, collected walk, canter, and gallop.

With horses averaging around 14 hands, the breed standard calls for a horse ranging from 13 to 15-2. They come in a literal rainbow of colors, excepting only the Appaloosa pattern.

While every breed has its passionate advocates, few inspire the pride and devotion the Paso Fino does in its fanciers. “Riding on air” or “dancing on horseback” are phrases often used to describe the experience of riding a Paso Fino, and their owners speak with pride as well of the “brio,” or fiery spirit, of their horses, while still hastening to assure listeners of the essential good nature and self-control of the breed. Intelligence, tempered fire, dignity, and a genuine affinity for humans mark the Paso Fino as surely as its fine step.

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