Corto, Largo, Fino

The Paso Fino is the oldest true native breed of horse in the Western Hemisphere. History tells us that Columbus brought these horses on his second voyage from Spain.  The breed he shared with the Americas was a mixture of Barb, Andalusian, and Spanish Jennet The Spanish Jennet possessed an extremely comfortable saddle gait. The result of this blending was the Paso Fino breed.   

The gait of the Paso Fino is totally natural and normally exhibited from birth.   We see  it just hours after the baby is on the ground as the foal gaits around mama in the stall.  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.

Gait Sequence:  When taken slowly you will see that the sequence is the same movement as a walk in any breed. The equine walk, left rear, left fore, right rear, right fore. The conformation of the horse and the source of its movement from the hind legs reduce movement to the back and rear, allowing no movment in the croup and shoulder and smoothness for the rider.

The classic fino is 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. The Classic Fino forward speed is very slow, and the footfall very rapid with short extension.  It is ridden in a fully collected manner.  It almost looks as though the horse is standing in place with it's low, very tight gait. About 10% of the breed is able to perform this tight and collected gait.  The Fino Gait is admired and appreciated for its true use of the balance and engagement and conformation of the breed. The rapidity of the footfall can be measured when the horse moves on the sounding board in the training arena and show ring. This measurement is difficult with the rapidity of each steps landing almost imperceptible from the next step. The viewer watches one foot (say right fore foot) and counts each time the foot hits the board.  Have a partner clock a period of 15 seconds while you intently try to count the steps or film to watch in playback.  The number of beats counted would then be multiplied by 4 to come up with footfall beats per minute.  The extension of the footfall would be very few inches.  The beats per minute for our great stallions can be over 130 beats per minute.  Newly recognized stallions such as Joyero III and the mare Maraquita de la Rosa move so tightly and quickly it takes a slow motion video playback to actually count the steps!


This is an evenly spaced animated four beat lateral gait with moderate forward speed and extension.  The corto is smooth, supple, evenly cadenced.  The corto is the most recognized gait of the breed. A rider and horse can go for long periods of time in this gait with little effort.  The Corto is part of both a performance and pleasure Paso Fino’s routine gait.   In the Performance Division the corto is performed with collection. In the Pleasure Division, it is performed with medium collection with a slight more open extension in the front and rear leg.

The largo although more extended is 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.  Largo is the speed, wind in your hair that you hear about.  A pleasure and largo horse can clock speeds of 22 miles per hour!  Again, there should be no movement in the croup and shoulder but a definable four beat gait as in the Corto or Walk.  

The walk is the same as in any breed.  It is evenly spaced four beat gait, smooth , steady, cadenced, straight, animated and rhythmic. In the Performance Division, the walk is performed with collection and a bit of animation. In the Pleasure Division, the Flat Walk is called for and performed with moderate collection and extension.  Step up each gait from the walk and you have the variances of movements of the Paso Fino. 

The breed’s gaits allow their use is used in many venues requiring agility and speed.  Paso Finos can canter and lope   Each of these gaits is a  True, three-beat gait, slow, cadenced, smooth, straight on both leads, with no tendency to mix gaits;
 The  Paso Fino Gait allows for many sorts of sports in trail, driving, barrel racing, racing and gymkhana.   Owners use the Paso Fino in ranch work, field trials, and endurance, competitive trail trials, mounted shooting, civil war reenactments, dancing with horses quadrille or drill team work.  The Paso Fino is used in therapeutic riding as well as equine assisted therapy.  It is a breed for all seasons and reasons!

Animation courtesy of

The connecting link will display a  video depicting all gaits and ways of
going for the Paso Fino Horse  at three different speeds  and degrees
of collection.  The video displays  corto, largo and Fino in detail from a PFHA national show.
Labriego (Cialitos x Diorama) The Workman, One of the most important Puerto Rican Paso Fino Sires
He is sire to Rancho Toledano's Elegancia de Toledano out of an  Alicante daughter.