Paso Fino Horse Association

The Paso Fino Horse Association (PFHA) oversees and regulates registered Paso Finos in the USA. It was founded in 1972 under the name “American Paso Finos”, later changing to its current name. It registers and promotes both Puerto Rican and Colombian horses, and under the PFHA two groups have been frequently crossbred. However, recent years, particularly as the numbers of Colombian horses has begun to significantly outnumber those of Puerto Rican bloodlines, a trend has developed favoring preservation breeding to preserve the undiluted bloodlines of each group.

The Paso Fino horse reflects its Spanish heritage through its proud carriage, grace and elegance. Modern care and selective breeding have enhanced its beauty, refinement and well-proportioned conformation that conveys strength and power without extreme muscling. With its lively but controlled spirit, natural gait and presence, and responsive attitude, the Paso Fino is indeed, a rare and desirable equine partner.

The History of the Paso Fino

The Paso Fino’s journey to the Americas began more than 500 years ago with the importation of Andalusians, Spanish Barbs from North Africa, and smooth-gaited Spanish Jennets (now extinct as a breed) to the “New World” by Spanish Conquistadors. Bred for their stamina, smooth gait and beauty, “Los Caballos de Paso Fino” – the horses with the fine walk – served as the foundation stock for remount stations of the Conquistadors. Centuries of selective breeding by those who colonized the Caribbean and Latin America produced variations of the “Caballo de Criollo,” among them the Paso Fino that flourished initially in Puerto Rico and Colombia, and later, in many other Latin American countries (primarily Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Venezuela).

Descendents of the Conquistadors’ horses are believed to have spread into North America after the Spanish soldiers forayed for a brief time into this territory. The modern-day mustang has traces of his Spanish forbears. The Nez Perce Indian tribe, renowned for their expert horsemanship and sophisticated knowledge of breeding spotted horses, may have mixed some Spanish stock into their famous Appaloosas, whose name is derived from the Palouse River region of the Nez Perce’s tribal homeland in Oregon.

Awareness of the Paso Fino as we know it today didn’t spread outside Latin America until after WWII, when American servicemen came into contact with the stunning Paso Fino horse while stationed in Puerto Rico. Americans began importing Paso Finos from Puerto Rico in the mid-1940s. Two decades later, many Paso Fino horses began to be imported from Colombia. For a while, there was some contention as to which country produced the “true” Paso Fino. Though there are still some self-professed “purists” who advocate for one or the other country, the American Paso Fino – true to our “melting pot” tradition – is often a blend of the best of Puerto Rican and Colombian bloodlines.

Link: http://www.pfha.org

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