The Paso Fino is a breed of horse developed in Central and South America for use on plantations in these regions. The horses are bred for endurance and smooth gaits, two traits which were vital for prolonged inspections of land holdings historically. Paso Finos continue to be used in farm work in these regions, and they are also popular as sport and pleasure horses throughout the Americas. Paso Finos are sometimes on display at horse shows which focus on gaited horses.
These horses have lineage which includes the Andalusian, Barb, and Jennet breeds of horse, all horses developed by the Spanish. Like other Spanish horses, the Paso Fino is known for its brio, or big spirit. These horses are spirited and intelligent, but also extremely responsive, and they have big hearts. A well-trained Paso Fino is willing to perform any task cheerfully, and these horses are known for forming deep attachments to their riders.
These horses come in a range of sizes. Central American Pasos tend to be much finer in build, with more delicate bodies, while South American Paso Finos are larger and more muscular, designed for heavier work. These horses are classically brown in color, often with the flowing manes and tails associated with Spanish breeds, and they can be used for riding or driving. Their high stepping action and intelligence make them popular show horses, especially in divisions where showy, beautiful horses are desired.
The Paso Fino is also gaited, meaning that it has unusual gaits beyond the walk, trot, and counter. These horses are capable of ambling, a four-beat gait which is extremely smooth. Especially high quality Paso Finos have three speeds of amble, the fino, paso corto, and paso largo. Because these gaits are so smooth, riders can stay for hours in the saddle with a high level of comfort. Ambling gaits are also energy efficient, which explains why the Paso Fino is known for endurance.
Enthusiast organizations for the Paso Fino horse abound throughout the Americas, connecting existing owners as well as people who are interested in this gaited breed. Demonstrations of the Paso Fino are sometimes organized for interested members of the public, and there are also conferences and horse shoes dedicated to the Paso Fino. These gaited horses are suitable for riders at a wide range of abilities, and they can be used for endurance riding, sporting, dressage, saddle seat, and a variety of other equestrian sports.