Paso Fino

Paso Finos are prized for their smooth gaits, intelligence, and friendly dispositions.

They make wonderful mounts for trail riding, pleasure driving, and competitive horse show classes.

Native to Latin America, these horses were originally used for ranch work and trail riding.

It’s important to do your research before buying a Paso Fino so that you end up with a temperament that matches your riding style and personal preferences.

If you’re interested in learning more about this versatile breed, keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

Paso Fino Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Paso Fino:

Height (size) 13.2 – 15.2 hands high
Colors Any solid color
Country of Origin Puerto Rico
Common Uses Showing, driving, trail riding

Paso Fino Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The origin of Paso Fino lies with the Iberian horses, Spanish Jennet and Barb horses (known as Spanish colonial horses) brought to the Americas by Spanish Conquistadors more than 500 years ago.

Genetic studies show that the Puerto Rican Paso Fino descended from Criollo (not-purebred) horses, which themselves were the result of decades of crossbreeding between several breeds introduced to the island by the Spanish conquerors.

Because of their endurance and smooth gaits, Spanish landowners in Puerto Rico and Colombia bred them specifically for use in the plantations.

As early as 1849, Puerto Rico had Paso Fino competitions with prizes for the winners with the goal of improving the local horses. 

The first racecourse opened in 1882, and from the start, the Paso Fino and Andadura divisions have been staples of every major event.

Local variants of the smooth-gaited horse developed over the course of centuries of selective breeding.

Dulce Sueño, born in 1927, was the most influential sire in the modern Puerto Rican Paso Fino breed development. 

The breed registry and the Federation of the Sport of Paso Fino Horses of Puerto Rico were established in 1943. 

The Paso Fino wasn’t well known in the United States until after World War II, when returning American troops brought them in from Puerto Rico and then Colombia.

In the United States, there are two main types of horses called “Paso Fino.” One is from Puerto Rico and is called the Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino (PPR). 

The other comes from Colombia and is known as the Colombian Paso Fino or Colombian Criollo Horse (CCC).

While sharing common Spanish ancestry, the two groups evolved separately within their respective home countries.

Registered Paso Fino horses in the United States are now regulated by the Paso Fino Horse Association (PFHA).

The PFHA registers and promotes both Colombian and Puerto Rican horses, and it used to allow regular crossbreeding between the two types. 

As the number of Colombian horses began to surpass those of Puerto Rican ancestry, a tendency supporting preservation breeding to maintain the bloodlines of each group emerged.

The Paso Fino name means ‘fine step’. 

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names

“Puerto Rican Paso Fino”, “PRPF”


Docile temperament

Physical Characteristics

The head features a convex profile.

The withers are prominent, and the back is relatively short.

The legs are clean with short cannon bones and hard hooves.

The manes and tails are long and flowing.

They are characterized by proud carriage and elegance.

It is an energetic breed with inherent drive and eagerness, sometimes known as brio, and a generally kind nature.

The distinctive lateral four-beat gait of the Paso Fino horse is what sets it apart from other equestrian gaits.

The horse’s feet naturally fall in a lateral pattern as it travels, rather than the more typical diagonal pattern.

Apart from walk and canter, the paso fino, paso corto, and paso largo are the three fundamental and natural gaits of the Paso Fino breed.

Classic Fino – The horse steps quickly and it almost seems like it dances in place.

Paso Corto – A medium-speed gait, ideal for long distances.

Paso Largo – The fastest gait, which enables the horse to cover a lot of ground quickly. The paso largo can be very fast, up to 25-30 mph.

Only a few Paso Finos are capable of performing a real traditional fino, but the majority are capable of performing the other gaits.

Today’s standards place a high value on gait accuracy, thus horses with an even four-beat gait are highly preferred for professional breeding.

The Paso Fino is the only breed in which the so-called tiger eye is seen.

The iris of a horse with a tiger eye is often yellow, orange, or amber.


Any solid color

Height (size)

13.2 – 15.2 hands high






700 – 1,000 lbs (300 – 455 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Showing, driving, trail riding



Popular Traits

Gaited breed



Country of Origin

Puerto Rico


Spanish colonial horses