Paso Fino translates into "Fine Step"

Paso Fino horses, originally from Colombia South America and Caribbean Islands such as the Dominican Republic and the US Territory Puerto Rico, quickly stole the hearts of those who learn of their people friendly traits and their smooth riding gaits. Desendants of Arabs, Berger, Barb and the Spanish Jennet the Paso Fino expresses stamina and endurance while giving you a no bounce ride. In other words a Paso Fino horse does not trot like a Quarter Horse or other non-gaited horse.For the most part a Paso Fino horse is ridden with light pressure on the bit as opposed to a loose rein that many Quarter Horses are ridden with.

The Paso Fino moves very much like a fast walk with the left rear hoof hiting the ground first then the left front, right rear and finishing with the right front before repeating the movements. So there is a Walk, the slow gaited walk or "Corto" with the next faster speed called the Largo. They can canter and gallop, but mostly they are ridden in their comfortable  Corto and Largo


Within the breed there are different variations of the Paso Fino gait and in how the individual horse expresses their gait. The most common is the Pleasure horse whose action is steady and smooth but with out the quicker or shorter action of the Performance and Fino horses. Paso Fino horses exhibiting the pleasure gait make excellent companions for trail and also show and they make up the largest numbers in the Breed. Actually within the show circuit Pleasure Horses are not recognized in a Pleasure division in Colombia.


The Performance Paso Fino has a more animated and quicker leg action. While still performing the 4 beat gait they pick up their front knees and hooves a bit higher with more action and with more rear drive than the pleasure horse. A good Performance horse moves forward with very little encouragement with a tremendous rear drive pushing your forward.

A Fino type Paso Fino horse is truly a show horse of ultimate proportions doing what no other horse in the world can do. They are like the extreme athlete of the breed. Like an Olympic Athlete that has been in years of training they move forward very slowly but with tremendous action. The rider is like sitting on a powder keg of excitement that feels like its ready to explode yet very much under control. Their heart rate is over twice that of a Performance and Pleasure horse as they do their Fino gait. Because they are so rare they are valued much higher than most Pleasure and Performance horses but they are a show horse and not suitable for normal trail riding and enjoyment. Most Paso Fino shows finish with their final shows being the Fino classes, saving the most exciting for last.

Characteristics of gait

In looking for the ease  and quality of the gait we are watching certain characteristics of the gait:

1. The  horse will travel in balance with power driving the horse from the rear.  The  front legs will lift with with straightness and  lightness.

2. The action is not very high, a very low handed horse seems to drift through the gait effortlessly, while a horse with more action will lift no more than 4-6.”

3.  The horse has no winging or Paddleing but rather moves with an up and down motion. The foot lands toe first on the ground thaen goes to flat so it appears to be moving in space.  The speed of the footfall can change but the inherent characteristics that make the Paso Fino gait are the same for each division of the breed.  Therefore the Fino horse will have a faster footfall, but the pleasure horse is doing the same exact step in a varied speed.

4.  The Paso fino excecutes its gait in a rhythmic and evenly spaced movement. The 1-2-3-4-steps are equally balanced and square.  We look for a quiet croup.  The horse should track straight when going forward and maitain sef carriage and self balance



Watch the mechanics of the Paso Fino movement to better understand why it moves so smoothly.  Visit the website where Fernando Montealegre from Colombia has presented an excellent example on his web page.

With permission from Charlie Barks,

Click to  sources on the  Paso Fino