The Paso Fino - About the breed

During the last two decades, besides all forms of alternative styles and classical dressage, riding Gaited horses of different breeds has become quite popular in Germany. Many unknown and "exotic" horses with their respective gaits found their way to Europe and into the hearts (and barns) of many horse lovers and riders. One of the most fascinating and versatile Gaited horse breeds is the Paso Fino horse. "Paso Fino" means literally translated "fine step" and that's how these horses became famous: "los caballos con el paso fino" - the horses with the fine step.

The first Paso Finos came to Europe in the mid-seventies when the infamous Jean-Claude Dysli and some other Gaited horse lovers imported them along with a couple of Peruvian Pasos. These horses were the total opposite of the Icelandic horse, back then about the only wellknown "gaited" breed, and quickly found many fans who spread the word. Since the early nineties the interest in Paso Fino horses has rapidly increased and so did not only the number of horses, but also their quality. Today we have more than 1.000 registered Paso Fino horses all over Europe and there is still a huge demand, especially for well trained and easy to ride Pleasure horses. Despite the high quality offspring that is born here every year, there are still horses being imported, mostly from the U.S..

The Paso Finos are outstanding, elegant and spirited horses with a natural 4-beat lateral gait. Besides being extremely comfortable to ride, the Paso Fino is very agile, sure-footed and is easy to handle. Paso Finos are noble, impulsive, gentle and radiate an unbelievable presence under saddle. These characteristics are called “brios” in South America. Besides sensitivity and temperament this term also combines energy, the will to perform as well as the desire to please its rider.

The Spanish heritage of the Paso Fino is clearly visible in the horses’ beauty, proud appearance and nobility. The origin of the breed dates back to the year 1492. Christopher Columbus brought various horses into the “New World” on his journeys. Besides Andalusians and Barbs he also imported the now extinct Spanish Genet, the breed to whom the Paso Fino owes its natural 4-beat lateral gait. Mother countries of the Paso Fino are Columbia, Puerto Rico, Latin America as well as the entire Caribbean area. Today’s most important breeding country are the USA with more than 55.000 registered horses. The first Paso Finos arrived in Europe in the mid 70s. Jean-Claude Dysli and some other gaited horse lovers imported the first Paso Finos and Paso Peruanos to Switzerland. Since then their number has continually risen and at present there are over 1.000 registered Paso Finos in Europe, the majority of them living in Germany. Since the demand for horses under saddle is particularly high and to expand the genetic pool, horses are constantly imported mostly from the US.

Most Paso Finos reach about 140 to 155 cm. The head is refined and noble with a straight or slightly convex profile, large nostrils and expressive eyes. The neck is well muscled and nicely arched. Defined withers, a harmonious rather short back and rounded croup characterize the Paso Fino’s splendid exterior. The low tail should be lavish. A broad, deep chest, a well defined shoulder and solid, strong legs with small and hard hooves round off the Paso Fino’s appearance. A delicate but robust and solid exterior is desirable. Paso Finos may vary in type. Elegant and very refined types are as frequent as rather "Baroque” horses radiating their Spanish heritage. There are all colors and markings, except for tigers. In Columbia uni-colored horses with as little white markings as possible get preferred, pintos are rejected. Horses of Puerto Rican bloodlines often have large white face and leg markings. In the USA, special colors such as duns, palominos and cremellos are very popular besides pintos.