Breeding ABC's ... Stallion Selection For Your Paso Fino Mare

There are over 90 new Paso Fino National Championships awarded every year. Many well-earned prestigious titles are won by deserving stallions. Are they destined to be top producers? These new champion horses are often unproven in the breeding department due to their young age and training schedules. Furthermore, there are proven top producing stallions who have never seen the inside of a show ring. Stallion Selection Criteria... Look at the various considerations involved in selecting a stallion for breeding, outside of discussing bloodlines.

  • Will the stallion you choose for breeding produce soundness in conformation?
  • Will they produce naturalness in the Paso Fino gait?
  • Does the stallion gait when exhibited at hand on one line or on a light rein?

How natural gaited will the resulting foal be crossed with your mare?

Realize that the quality of your mare plays a major role in the planned foal. What is true for stallion selection is also true for the mare. Matings should compliment each other. Don’t breed two extremes to each other, and expect for the best from each. Ask impartial breeders, look to see and evaluate what the stallion has produced with bloodlines or type similar to your mare. Breeding to “the flavor of the month” is not a guarantee in what you get in a foal. Over the next few years, you can see whether the “proof is in the pudding”.

Do the offspring live up to their expectations?

If not, there probably will be a new flavor of the month to contend with. Consider whether your mare is fino, performance, or pleasure in selecting a stallion.

  • What style of gait does a certain stallion exhibit?
  • Is this stallion producing horses with a short or an extended stride?
  • Does the stallion show excellent execution and style when moving?

Historically, popular are the Classic Fino stallions to breed to. Fino horses should move with brio with minimal forward motion in a very quick short step. If breeding a performance or pleasure mare, do you desire the quickness, the shorter stride, or the brio? Of course breeding Fino to Fino is the best way to produce a Fino horse, but sometimes, as many breeders will contend to, will produce a pleasure gaited horse. Know what your end goals are in breeding. Examine the current marketability for your future foal before breeding. Look at these important economical questions before breeding your mare.

  • Will this be a great cross with my mare after considering all factors involved?
  • Will this foal be to keep, or will it be for sale if it doesn't turn out how you wanted?
  • If you decide to sell the foal, who will buy it and at what price?
  • How long will you have to keep it before selling?
  • Will it need to be trained under saddle before selling?
  • Will I make a profit in the long run if I sell?
  • What is the real reason I want to breed my mare?

If you are looking for a certain sex, color, size, gait style, and bloodline, you may want to look for that particular horse to purchase instead of buying an inexpensive mare and breeding to a stallion with those traits and hoping for the best. Some stallions are prepotent with good traits, and some may carry hidden undesirable recessive genes. Line breeding or inbreeding creates a more limited gene pool with a greater chance of certain positive or negative traits being exhibited in the resulting offspring. This is why it is important to see as many offspring of any particular stallion as you can (and mares for that matter).

The mare may be the prepotent carrier with more dominant traits, and her foals will take after her. Often if you repeated the same mating several times, you could see offspring such as: one being in the image of the sire, one in the image of the dam, one that exhibits different traits of each parent - but still more of one parent than the other, and one that has common traits of both parents about equally. For example, if you look at a human family with many siblings; you can see a wide variety of characteristics, but also similar traits are usually exhibited. Often a stallion or mare may produce only wonderful fillies, with the colts only being average or vice-versa.

The stallion determines the sex of the unborn foal, so if you have a sexual preference know the percentage of fillies versus colts produced, and consider your odds. Disposition traits can be inherited, but also the mare’s disposition from birth to weaning is a strong influence.

On the issue of size, small stallions have produced taller offspring while tall stallions have thrown smaller. The mare often has more influence on the foal’s size. A maiden, small or young mare will have a smaller uterus which may be somewhat limiting the fetal growth while in the womb. Also, inadequate nutrition and mineral intake during gestation may stunt a foal’s size. In the Paso Fino breed too tall a horse may loose typiness while a tiny horse may create the impression of the breed being pony-sized. A 15 hand Paso Fino may suit a tall rider while a short rider may desire a 13.3 hand Paso Fino for easier mounting.

Color is personal. If breeding for color is your first priority, remember all the other traits come along in the total package. Study genetics and the color of horses in the pedigrees to achieve a successful color program. Colors do not always breed true; think of what the foal’s future may be if it is not your desired color.

Lastly, examine for inherited undesirable traits such as: over/under bite, retained testicles, club-foot, cow hocked, extreme toe out or in, crossing over or excessive winging, goose rump, heavy cresty neck, sickle hocks, and camped-out hind legs. If left in the wild, these horses often would not survive due to these defects. A horse with the over/under bite would starve while the cryptorchid would be less fertile and not pass on his traits. The heavy crested horse would be prone to founder, thus lameness, and the crooked legged horse would be subject to unsoundness and interference problems and thus wouldn't run as fast becoming easier prey to predators. Eventually these traits would be naturally bred out of the herd with only the fittest and most sound horses surviving to reproduce.

In closing, be responsible in your breeding plans and be accountable for the resulting foals. Know your goals looking carefully at the many issues involved in order to make an intelligent informed decision before breeding.

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Experience the smoothest ride with Gracewood's Paso Fino horses. Schedule a visit for a test ride, plan for a horsemanship riding lesson or simply come meet the horses. We are located in central North Carolina near Raleigh. Call 919.961-0675 or email us.

paso fino stallion with long mane looks at his new foalpaso fino mare and foal rgallop in green pasture at gracewood farm
gray paso fino mare, daughter of emperador paso fino filly showing her natural paso fino gait in pasture
gray paso fino mare nuzzles her new foal
p2 paso fino foals play
dun paso fino mare brand new colt
paso fino herd of yearling fillies at gracewood farm
paso fino young black colt merlin de gracia
grulla paso fino stallion - emperador la estrella, grandson of guala
mahoma, famous paso fino sire of many champions