• Sara Lasseter

The Paso Fino, A Two-Sided Spanish Beauty

Head is collected but high, intelligent eyes, glorious long hair, and a well-balanced frame. This is a real Spanish beauty and you may end up falling for this sexy and fascinating horse once you know more about it.


These incredible Latin secrets began arriving in the United States after soldiers stationed in Puerto Rico discovered them during World War II and began shipping them home. Originating from the Spanish Barbs, Jennets and Andalusians brought over by Columbus for exploration, the breed became known as the Paso Fino, the world’s smoothest riding horse.

Often labeled for being hot-headed and spirited, these amazing creatures are really just a two-sided coin that’s often misunderstood.


One side, a forward, sexy, show horse, loaded with brío and another side a loving, high endurance, comfortable trail or working horse. Their unique adaptability is what makes them utterly captivating. Kind of like being the hot supermodel who also happens to be the perfect homemaker.


Because they have an incredibly smooth gait, are surefooted with remarkable endurance many riders use the Paso Fino for endurance, competitive trail, mounted shooting, parades, and even cattle work. Known to be highly sensitive yet willing. Trainers will tell you the Paso Fino often pick up on the first try and typically only require a light touch. This is the side of the breed adored by everyone who spends hours in the saddle.


However, when it’s show time the coin flips and the horse that enters the show ring looks more like eye candy then a favorite riding companion! With hooves moving in a tight rhythmic beat like a salsa dancer, you can’t help but be a little mesmerized. This side of the breed tends to be very forward, higher spirited, while maintaining an elegant and wild beauty about them.


It’s easy to see why the Paso Fino is misunderstood and falsely labeled at times. Finding the right level of brío for your interest and riding skill is a big part of understanding the breed and ensuring the right fit.



The gaits of the Paso are as unique as the breed itself, since the Paso is the only breed that moves as they do. Naturally performed from birth the Paso Fino moves laterally instead of diagonal, with only one hoof off the ground at a time, creating very little to no motion for the rider.


Enticed yet? In part II, we’ll learn more about the unique gaits of the Paso Fino, some of the different characteristics of the Puerto Rican, Caballo Criollo Columbian and Peruvian Paso Fino horses, and we’ll talk about Paso Fino shows including the Grand National Show. Can’t wait till next month? Request a farm tour and meet some of our beautiful Paso Fino horses at Spring Lane Ranch.

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