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Paso Fino

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The Paso Fino, meaning “Fine Step” in English, was the mount of the Spanish Conquistadors. It is the oldest true native breed of horse in the Western Hemisphere.

Although the ancestors of the present-day horse evolved and developed in North America and spread to other parts of the world, horses vanished from the New World during the Ice Age, between 8,000 and 12,000 years ago. So Columbus discovered a horseless America.

Nearly 500 years ago, on his second voyage from Spain, Columbus brought a select group of mares and stallions from the Provinces of Andalusia and Cordela, and settled them at Santa Domingo. These horses were a mixture of Spanish Barb, Andalusian and the now extinct Spanish Jennet, which not only possessed an extremely comfortable saddle gait, but also were able to pass this on to their offspring. The result of the blending of these horses was to become known as the Paso Fino breed, the horse with the four beat gait.

They became the foundation stock for the remount stations of the Conquistadors. As Spanish settlers came to the New World, they brought more Spanish horses. During the nearly 500 years that the Paso Fino horses have been selectively bred throughout Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Brazil, and Peru, they have been called upon to perform diverse roles, first in the conquest of and then in the exploration and development of the Americas.

The Paso Finos came to the United States during the 1950’s when military families returning home from Puerto Rico imported a few horses and their popularity grew. The American Paso Fino is the product of crossing the Latin American horses with the Caribbean horses, each having slight different traits.


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