The lateral Four-Beat Gait
Most Paso Finos prefer to use their natural four-beat gait when moving. The footfall of the Paso Fino’s unique 4-beat lateral gait is identical to the walk (rear left, rear front, rear right, front right). When perfectly executed the Paso Fino moves evenly and fluently giving the rider an incredibly soft and comfortable ride. In contrast to other gaited breeds, excessive forehand action is undesirable for the Paso Fino, instead, the Paso Fino should carry itself proudly at natural collection.
The typical Paso Fino gait is performed at three speeds and degrees of collection:
PASO CORTO. Speed and collection of the Paso Corto are comparable to a working trot. A well trained horse may perform Paso Corto for hours without getting tired. This gait is the preferred speed for training and trail rides.
PASO LARGO. Length of stride and ground coverage are much higher at this increased speed. But the top speed should never have any negative influence on the pureness of the four-beat gait, on the rhythm and balance of the horse. The end speed depends on the horses individual talent. Good Largo horses may well reach a speed that is comparable to canter.
CLASSIC FINO. For many Paso Fino lovers a horse performing the classic fino cannot be topped. The fascination and the radiant power of these horses when staccato stepping across the fino strip is indescribable. But, there are few horses who are born with this extremely quick footfall at minimal ground coverage. Classic Fino can be compared to the Piaffe of a trotting horse. Classic Fino type horse are often very spirited and sensitive, thus, they are not suitable as leisure horse for everyone.
Trote & Trocha - even more gaits
Besides those Paso Finos preferring the natural four-beat gait, they are other varieties who have established themselves particularly in Colombia: The Trochador (trotty four-beat gait), the Trochador Galopero (trotty four-beat gait and collected canter) and the Troton Galopero (collected trot without suspension phase and collected canter).
TROCHA. The Trocha is a trotty four-beat gait, i.e. the pure four-beat lateral gait is shifted to the diagonal trot movement. A good Trochador offers the rider the same comfort as a gaited horse. Since the trocha is less exhausting for the horse than the pure-4-beat lateral gait, many Paso Finos prefer the trocha when being very relaxed or tired. Also young and untrained horses often show trocha under saddle but easily switch to the pure 4-beat lateral gait when more advanced in training.
TROTE Y GALOPE. Trote is a clear two-beat gait, similar to the trot but without suspension phase. The horse shifts from one diagonal pair of legs to the other. This gait is very comfortable for the rider and in no way comparable to the bouncy movements of a trotting horse. Galope is a very smooth, well defined and evenly cadenced highly collected canter. According to the mentality of the Paso Fino the described gaits are performed at high collection. These types are ideal for a combination of trail riding and classic dressage due to their special and unique gaits.