GENERAL IMPRESSION: The Paso Fino reflects its Spanish heritage through its proud carriage, grace and elegance. Modern care and selective breeding have enhanced its beauty, refinement and well-proportioned conformation that convey strength and power without extreme muscling. The Paso Fino is born with a gait unique to the breed and his attitude seems to transmit to the observer that this horse knows his gait is a very special gift that must be executed with style and pride! The gait being totally natural, movements are smooth, rhythmic, purposeful, straight, balanced in flexion and synchronous front to rear, resulting in unequaled comfort and smoothness for the rider. With its definite but controlled spirit, natural gait and presence, and responsive attitude, the Paso Fino is, indeed, a rare and desirable equine partner.
HEAD: 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 a well-shaped alert and intelligent face.
NECK: 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.
FOREHAND: Shoulders are sloping into the withers with great depth through the heart. Chest is moderate in width. Withers are defined but not pronounced and slope smoothly into the back.
MID-SECTION: 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 the hindquarters so as to give the horse a pleasing proportioned appearance.
HIND QUARTERS: Croup is slightly sloping with rounded hips, broad loins and strong hocks. Tail is carried gracefully when horse is in motion.
LEGS: Straight with refined bones and strong, well-defined tendons. Broad, long forearms with shorter cannons. Thigh and gaskin are strong and muscled, but not exaggerated. Standing slightly under in the rear is acceptable. Pasterns are sloping, and medium in length. Bones are straight, sound and flat, and joints are strong and well defined. Hooves are well rounded, proportionate in size and do not show excessive heel.
MANE, TAIL, & FORELOCK: As long, full and luxurious as nature can provide. No artificial additions or alterations are allowed. A bridle path not exceeding 4” is acceptable.
SIZE: 13 to 15.2 hands with 13.3 to 14.2 being the most typical. Weight from 700 to 1100 pounds. Full size may not be attained until the fifth year.
COLOR: Every equine color is found, with or without white markings.
DISPOSITION: An extremely willing horse that truly seems to enjoy human companionship and strives to please. Spirited and responsive under tack; sensible and gentle at hand.
GAIT: The gait of the Paso Fino is totally natural and normally exhibited from birth. It is an evenly spaced 4-beat gait with each foot contacting the ground independently in a regular sequence at precise intervals creating a rapid, unbroken rhythm. When executed perfectly the four hoof beats are absolutely even in both cadence and impact. The Paso Fino gait is performed at three forward speeds and with varying degrees of collection. In all speeds of the gait the rider should appear virtually motionless in the saddle and there should be no perceptible up and down movement of the horses croup.
- Walk: an evenly spaced four beat gait, cadenced, straight, animated and rhythmic. In the Performance Division, the walk is performed with collection. In the Pleasure Division, the Flat Walk is called for and performed with moderate collection and extension.
- Paso Corto: an evenly spaced four beat lateral gait with moderate forward speed and extension—smooth, supple, cadenced. In the Performance Division the corto is performed with collection. In the Pleasure Division, it is performed with moderate collection.
- Paso Largo: an evenly spaced four beat lateral gait, smooth and balanced with rapid forward motion. In the Performance Division the largo is performed with collection. In the Pleasure Division, it is performed with moderate collection.
- Classic Fino: an evenly spaced four-beat lateral gait. Smooth, animated, exciting and executed with brilliance and style, fully collected and balanced, putting its complete dynamic energy into its carriage and the quickness of its footfall. Extension is absolutely minimum and forward speed is extremely slow, whereas the footfall is exceedingly rapid.
The Paso Fino can execute other gaits natural to horses in addition to the Paso Fino gait.