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The Paso Fino Horse


    In 1494 Queen Isabella of Spain decreed that all horses being brought to the New World were to be only of "casta distinguida"—distinct class. From these horses of distinguished blood came the first breeds of the Americas.  The most exciting is the Paso Fino. 

     Although the Paso Fino has been bred in Latin America since the days of the Conquistador, this unique horse was virtually unknown in the United States until the late 1940’s.  A mixture of three European breeds—the Andalusian, the Barb, and the now extinct Spanish Jennet— the ancestors of today’s Paso Fino were transported to the New World on the second voyage of Christopher Columbus.

Cuatro Rios VL Tocacielo

     Used as foundation stock for remount stations of the Conquistador, they carried riders for days over mountains, open ranges, and dense jungles, paving the way for exploration and conquest.  Over time, these horses came to be known as "Los Caballos de Paso Fino", the horse with the fine step.

      Bold, quick and beautiful, the noble Paso Fino is truly Queen Isabella’s five hundred year old legacy to the New World.


Standards of the Breed



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, dark 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 the well-shaped alert and intelligent face.


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.


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


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


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


Straight, rather delicate in appearance, but having strong tendons and well separated from the bone. Hooves are small and do not show much heel.

Cuatro Rios VL Altanero

Mane, Tail and Forelock

As long, full and luxurious as nature can provide.  No artificial additions or alterations are allowed.


13 to 15.2 hands with 13.7 to 14.2 being the most typical. Weight from 700 to 1200 lbs. Full size may not be attained until the fifth  year.


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


Gentle at hand but spirited under saddle.


The Paso gait is essentially a broken pace, a lateral, not diagonal gait. The sequence of the hooves are: right rear, right fore, left rear, left fore; the hind foot touching the ground a fraction of a second before the front foot. When performed on a hard surface, a definite 1,2,3,4 beat can be heard. This serves to eliminate the jarring effect of a true pace and causes the rider practically no up and down movement. The motion of the horse is absorbed in the back and loins giving the rider comfort. This gait is performed at three speeds with the collection of the carriage decreasing as the speed increases.

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