The Coronado Equestrian Center and ASOFINO invites you to share in the tradition of Paso Fino this Saturday, September 8th at a contest showing the magnificent Paso Fino horse in full form.
The Paso Fino horse is known for their smooth, natural, four beat, lateral ambling gait and are used in many disciplines, but are especially popular for trail riding. In the United States there are two main groups of horses that are popularly called "Paso Fino:" One, also known as the Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino, which originated in Puerto Rico. The other, often called the Colombian Paso Fino or Colombian Criollo Horse was developed in Colombia. Though from similar Spanish ancestors, the two groups developed independently of one another in their home nations.
The Paso Fino has several different body types from quite small and refined to very large and powerful. The action of the two strains is somewhat different. The Puerto Rican Paso Fino is prized for its fine or delicate step while the Colombian Paso Fino tends to have more of a rapid, piston-like action.
The Paso Fino executes a natural evenly spaced four beat lateral ambling gait, similar to many gaited horses. Both the Colombian and the Puerto Rican strains of the Paso Fino execute the lateral gait naturally, without the aid of training devices.
The Paso Fino's gaits are performed at varied levels of extension in stride. All four hooves travel close to the ground while in motion and are lifted equally in height the horse covers ground. At whatever speed the horse travels, the smoothness of the gait ideally allows the rider to appear motionless with little up and down movement.
The classic fino or paso fino is a collected gait with rapid footfalls that covers as little ground as possible. It requires a high degree of collection. This is a show gait reserved for competition. Walking, trotting, cantering or any detected break from the rapid evenly spaced sequence of steps is grounds for disqualification at any time during a fino event.
The paso corto is slightly more extended, and used during trail rides. The speed of this gait is comparable to the speed of a trot but is much smoother.
The paso largo is a fast, lateral, four-beat gait in which the horse can reach speeds equivalent to a canter or slow gallop. The paso largo is not just an increase in speed but also shows a distinct extension in stride. The paso largo can be extremely fast, up to 25-30 mph.
Only a few Paso Finos can perform a true classic fino, but the majority perform the other gaits with ease. The correctness of the gait is very important by today's standards, therefore horses with a very even four beat gait are much preferred for professional breeding.
Competition at Coronado's Equestrian Club on Saturday September 8th begins at 5pm. Entry fee: $5.
Paso Fino information from Wikipedia.