Paso Fino - South America

So much more than fancy footwork. The Paso Fino is a courageous, energetic partner that wants to get going. They're sensitive, gentle and need a gentle touch.


The last born foal in New Zealand 'Winnfarms El Caribe' with dam 'Winnfarms Isla de Flores' 2019

So, why are they rare in New Zealand?:

Height - many riders will bypass the Fjord as a viable riding partner due to their shorter size and slim legs. They are a horse that can handle a decent amount of weight and are often seen carrying large bodied people.

The main problems for the breed is a culture of misunderstanding online that they cannot canter, can't trot and can't jump. Of course, as any horse can, they can run, jump and are able to trot. Many are so nicely trained they will not offer it under saddle, but some never offer a gait at liberty, preferring only to trot in the field.

There are no harsh training methods required for the breed to gait and I have taken photos myself of them gaiting at days and weeks old, it is in their blood.

Paso Finos Globally

It was of course just a matter of time before Paso Fino's were imported to the USA. They have done well in the show circles with enough horses there to establish a strong show presence for them. As the USA is one of the few countries in the world that New Zealand allows an import from, we are glad of this. They are surviving in the USA in decent numbers, but breeding for show gaits and questionable handling during this training turns out misunderstood, nervous horses that often end up in kill pens.

They are still not as popular as some other gaited breeds due to misconceptions about the breed.

Spanish Jennet

Paso Fino horses were developed from Criollo horses which were the horses that came about by the mixing of the three breeds imported by the Spanish Conquistadors, the Andalusian, the Barb and the Jennet which was a small ladies riding horse that was spotted or pinto.

The spotted 'atigrado' coats have been bred out due to fashion but the pinto lives on, only just.

In recent years 'pinto' colouring has been banned from the world championship competition 'Mundial' after being won by 'Santana del Cardo' a stunning black and white pinto stallion with enviable pleasure gaits.

Recent years have seen a breeding program to revive the Jennet in a new form, 'Spanish Jennet' where the aim is to breed back to the Jennet type and introduce spotted coats again.

Click the painting image to explore more about the Spanish Jennet.

The 18th C. English painter John Wooton painted many spotted horses including a leopard horse specifically titled "Lady Conaway's Spanish Jennet".

Breed or not?

The 'Spanish Jennet' project spurs some debate within the Paso Fino world. Some say it adds confusion to a breed that is already underrepresented in NZ.

On the one hand, in the way that a Heck Horse is not a true Tarpan despite crossing the right breeds and breeding back to more ancient traits. Because the actual genetics of the Tarpan or another ancestor equine breed is no longer available to draw from, they will not ever be the same as the original. The 'Jennet' in it's true original form no longer exists to draw back into the breed to rebuild it. The way to get a spotted coat back into the breed was to fall back on a Foundation Appaloosa to bring in the spotted genetics again and then continue adding the paso breeds back in to balance type and colours.

On the other hand they continue the story of a breed that was bred out for 'fashion' reasons while being something that is still desirable today. Fashion changes and it's therefore important to never completely stamp out a breed, a colour variation or a particular trait. Once gone, always gone.

Wherever you fall on the argument of Spanish Jennets, they're stunning and a fascinating recovery project.

Pictured are a mare and gelding from 'All the Queen's Horses' stud in the USA. Santana del Cardo described below is from this stud and is NZ's foundation sire of all the kiwi pinto's.

Paso Fino Horses in New Zealand

What's it like to own one?

Do you own a Paso Fino? Share your view of owning this breed with us.

Ancestry of Santana del Cardo - One of the foundation stallions of New Zealand via imported semen.

Paso Fino Horse Video Library

If you know of a great video to add to this library or replace existing out of date informative videos please contact us.

Kirsten Benson - Auckland

Contact us via the 'Contact' page to be passed along to Kirsten.

Kirsten has 'Primero Mercurio' a stunning black stallion standing at stud and some mares and geldings.

Liselle Silver

Owner with a Paso Fino mare available to test ride. I enjoy introducing people to this wonderful breed.

She could be bred from if the right person wanted to step up and take over breeding them. She is very special to me so this will only be under the right circumstances to save the breed.

Meet the Paso Fino Horse People in New Zealand: