Understanding the Paso Fino Gaits

Ala Naturale ... the smooth cadillac riding gait or the 'champagne ride'; today's Paso Finos are enjoyed mainly for pleasure, trail, show, and breeding, while some also compete in endurance, team penning, field trial hunting, and dressage events.

What are the main Paso Fino horse's gaits?

Classic Fino ...
A four beat gait evenly spaced natural to only some Paso Finos. It is a show ring gait. The horse moves with minimal forward extension of stride, and extremely rapid footfall with much brio.

Paso Corto ...
A four beat evenly spaced gait natural to the Paso Fino, with the forward speed of a trot. Paso Finos often prefer this gait; the corto is comfortable and treasured for trail riding. It is a requirement in Performance and Pleasure show classes.

Paso Largo ...
A four beat evenly spaced gait with the speed of a canter or extended trot. This gait is longer strided than the corto with a faster forward speed covering more ground. The largo is required in Performance and Pleasure show classes.

Other related gait forms that some Paso Finos perform, but are considered improper gaits for the show ring:

Trocha ...
A four beat diagonal relaxed form of gait which some Paso Finos will do in training before they get their balance with a rider; not considered acceptable as correct gait in the show ring. Similar to a "fox-trot" in footfall like other gaited breeds.

Pace ...
A two beat lateral gait which causes a stiff, rough-riding side-to-side movement for the horse and rider discomfort. The horse's lateral legs move together in rhythm hitting the ground at the same time, causing a side to side motion. This is the least desirable of gaits that a Paso Fino may perform.

The Show Ring Gait Divisions include: (1) Classic Fino (2) Performance (3) Pleasure

These divisions are usually offered in Open, Amateur Owner and Youth classes.

The Classic Fino division ...
The Classic Fino horse is like a "prima-ballerina in tap dance" mode. He/she has slow forward speed movement while demonstrating a very rapid rhythmic footfall, maintaining an even and symmetrical 4-beat gait. The Classic Fino horse should be energetic and not be forced into a fino gait with heavy restraint. The horse is required to execute the Classic Fino gait when moving, and a halt and reverse.

The Performance division ...
The Performance horse appears to be in "turbo-charged" mode. The performance horse is fancy and animated in his movements. He performs a collected walk; an energetic, powerful corto, and an extended stride in a largo speed maintaining his driving action and a collected presence. Performance horses often have a big motor with a rear drive executing with elevated symmetrical action and rolling hocks, all combined with quickness of footfall.

The Pleasure division ...
The Pleasure horse appears as a "ten-speed bicycle out on a scenic bike route". His efforts are more relaxed than the performance horse, but while still maintaining a mild collection. He appears to float along in a very willing manner with a pleasant pleasing attitude. The unrestrained walk should be flat-footed, the mildly-collected corto is responsive and smooth, and the largo should be slightly collected with a clear transition from corto to largo speed. Excessive speed at the largo often causes the horse to get strung out in the rear which is not desirable. The pleasure horse must demonstrate a back or they cannot place. Manners and willing attitude are very important in the pleasure Paso Fino, who also maintains a classy presence.

The Bellas Formas division ...
A Paso Fino in conformation is judged on its likeness to the breed standard and Paso Fino phenotype. Simply, it needs to look like a Paso Fino! Balance of the body parts and correct structure is important for the horse to maintain soundness and perform a smooth gait that tracks straight, even, and symmetrical. Transmissible faults are to be penalized as this is considered a breeding class. The Bellas Formas horse with a handler(s) enters the ring at either a corto or fino gait demonstrating its quality of gait. The horse lines up in the center of the ring for a closer examination of its conformation. The horse should be squared up and remain alert at inspection. Its teeth and bite can be examined for abnormalities while a stallion may be checked for normal testicles count and size. The horse should be mannerly in the line-up.

The Specialty division ...
The Specialty horse classes include Trail, Western Pleasure, Country Pleasure, Versatility, and Pleasure Driving. Largo races and Costume are other classes that may be offered. All class and division requirements and rules are explained in the official Paso Fino Horse Association rule book which should be your guide if you are an exhibitor, owner, trainer or spectator involved in showing a Paso Fino. The official show steward can help answer questions on proper attire, tack, and interpretation of the show rules.

Therapeutic for your body, relaxing on your mind and rejuvenating for your spirit ...

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.

Classic Fino gait
Classic Fino gait

Paso Corto gait
Paso Corto gait

Paso Largo gait
Paso Largo gait

Pace lateral gait

Trocha diagonal gait
Trocha diagonal gait

paso fino stallion showing his natural paso fino gait at liberty
Natural 4 beat gait

paso fino performance class
Performance show

Recreational pleasure riders
Recreational pleasure

Bellas Formas paso fino piedmont pfha futurity yearling fillies at asheville, nc horse show
Bellas Formas

paso fino western pleasure attire
Western Pleasure