Paso Fino Horse: Breed Profile

Paso Fino is known for its great presence, smooth gait and beautiful appearance. These horses are popular in show racing, but they are solid on foot and are also a great choice for trail and endurance riding. This versatile breed is often a favorite among riders with back pain or other injuries, and thanks to its comfortable gait, you can ride all day. Many Paso Fino owners say that once you’ve ridden one breed, you’ll never want to ride another.

Variety Overview

weight: 700 to 1,000 lbs

high: 13.3 to 14.2 lots

Body type: compact, sturdy and sporty

Most suitable: Off-road riding, performance, endurance riding

Life expectancy: 25 years

Pasofino History and Origins

Pasofino’s history spans more than 500 years. Christopher Columbus brought mares and stallions to the Dominican Republic during his expedition. The horses included Babu, Spanish Janet, and Andalusian ancestry, and the conquistadors rode them as they explored Latin America.

These horses bred and produced a new generation of horses with great endurance, grace, smooth ride and comfortable gait. Their descendants became the Pasofino variety. Landowners in Puerto Rico and Colombia rode horses on their plantations, preferring them because they were comfortable to ride.

It wasn’t until World War II that American soldiers arrived in the Dominican Republic and discovered the Pasofino breed and its ideal smooth gait. After World War II, soldiers purchased Pasofinos and shipped them from Latin America to North America. Since then, selective breeding has helped the modern Passofino retain the toughness, endurance and versatility of its ancestors.

Pasofino size

The height of the Paso Fino is usually between 13.3 and 14.2 lots, but some horses can be as short as 13 lots or as high as 15.2 lots. Pasofinos take time to mature, and some horses do not reach their maximum height until they are five years old. This breed weighs between 700 and 1,000 pounds.

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Breeding and Use

Today’s Paso Fino is a very versatile mount. Paso Finos excels in many disciplines and activities, including competitive trail riding, endurance riding, horse shooting, parade riding, training team competitions, working cattle and more. You’ll often see these horses on show grounds, and they can ride both English and Western. Paso Finos is also displayed by riders wearing official traditional performance clothing, including bolero jackets, Spanish-style hats, suits or jackets and trousers.

The Paso Fino is the most popular riding mount, and its robustness makes it ideal for off-road and endurance riding. Paso Finos are people-oriented and smart, and they can be trained in many different disciplines. Because Paso Finos were bred for the showbiz, they tend to be energetic, aggressive, and graceful.

colors and markings

You will find Paso Finos of any coat color, all color horses can be registered. These horses tend to have distinctive long, flowing manes and tails.

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What makes Paso Fino unique

One of the Paso Fino’s most distinctive features is its four-beat gait. For the rider, the gait is very smooth, as the horse is always on the ground. Unlike trotting, which produces a lot of vertical motion, Paso Fino’s shoulders move only slightly vertically, allowing the horse’s back to absorb most of the motion. The result is a rhythmic gait that the rider can sit comfortably for long periods of time.

Paso Finos performs this gait at three speeds:

  • Classic Fino: a focused gait in which the horse is fast but almost seems to dance in place
  • Paso Corto: Moderate gait, trot speed, suitable for long distances
  • Paso Largo: The fastest gait, allowing horses to quickly cover important ground

This gait is natural to Paso Finos, who have been able to do it from birth.

Diet and Nutrition

Paso Finos usually do not have any special dietary needs. They often thrive on a diet that consumes 2 to 2.5 percent of their body weight per day for forage. A combination of hay and pasture is usually suitable.

Pasofinos in their day job may need a concentrate to provide extra calories, but this need will vary from horse to horse. Horses that maintain a healthy weight on pasture and hay alone will still benefit from a ration balancer to ensure they are getting the proper nutrients from their diet.

Common Health and Behavioral Issues

While Paso Finos tend to be fairly healthy, they are prone to degenerative suspensory ligamentitis (DSLD). The condition usually affects the hind legs and can appear later in the horse’s life. When a horse has DSLD, the suspensory ligament degenerates and the fetlock sinks toward the ground. Horses diagnosed with DSLD must be withdrawn from riding and lame gradually. There is no cure for this condition, and because the condition produces pain, the affected horse often ends up having to be euthanized.


Paso Finos have long, thick manes and tails and a beautiful coat that are often carefully groomed. Regular attention to the conditioning and grooming of the mane and tail can help reduce tangles and breakage. Most horse owners let their horses’ manes grow long, so braiding the mane and tail is a popular management technique.

Champions and Celebrities Paso Fino Horse

There are numerous champion Paso Fino horses.

  • Dulce Sueno, a stallion, was an extremely influential father. His descendants went on to win many titles and trophies. Sueno Dulce was born in 1932.
  • Capuchino was a legendary stallion who passed away in 2009. He was inducted into the Paso Fino Horse Society Hall of Fame in 1999 and received the Paso Fino Horse Society Millennium Horse designation. He has produced thousands of offspring around the world, many of whom have become national and international champions.

Is Pasofino Right for You?

Paso Finos are versatile mounts that are perfect for many different riders. These gait horses can make excellent trail horses for both competitive and recreational riding. They are also excellent show mounts, drawing attention in parades, show rings and other environments.

It is important to understand that many Paso Finos are forward-riding, so they are not suitable for beginners or timid riders. Because their gait is so smooth, they are popular with back pain or other riders who make riding non-gait breeds difficult or uncomfortable.

How to Adopt or Buy Paso Fino

If you’re planning to buy a Paso Fino, it’s best to find a reputable breeder or trainer who specializes in the breed. This breed is popular, so you may find a breeder or trainer locally. Paso Finos are generally affordable, starting at $3,000 and up for young horses, depending on where in your country.

You can also see Paso Finos available for adoption through Horse Rescue. Saving a horse can be a rewarding experience, and adoption fees are often lower than what you would pay when buying a horse outright. Be sure to carefully research the reputation of any horse rescue you are considering and ask questions about how they ensure the horse is right for you. Read your adoption contract carefully so you are aware of any rules that may limit your ability to choose to sell your horse in the future.

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