What is the Puerto Rican Paso Fino gait all about?
The Puerto Rican Paso Fino is a naturally gaited horse that executes a rhythmic step with an evenly spaced 1-2-3-4 gait that is equally balanced and square. There should be no croup movement. The horse should track straight and the horse should maintain self-carriage and self-balance. The gait is square and the movement of the legs usually starts with the left rear leg, followed by the left front leg, then the right rear leg and lastly the right front leg. The horse having three hooves on the ground at the same time and one in the air demonstrates this execution of the Fino gait. As the one in the air touches the ground, the cycle starts over again. The horse should travel with power and with fluid movement and it should look effortless. Clarity of gait is paramount. The gait is articulately executed with clear and precise step, yet it is soft and delicate - NEVER POUNDING!
It is important to recognize three main characteristics of the step.
- How it takes off - The horse must exhibit self-carriage and self-balance throughout its entire body. The horse must be track true and straight. Rear legs should drive with power and fore legs should lift straight with lightness.
- How it travels - The movement of the legs is very predetermined. Generally, the leg action is very low and very controlled. (Usually no more than 4-6 inches off the ground) The legs should continue to travel straight with little or no evidence of "winging" or "paddling."
- How the foot lands - The foot is gently placed on the ground, toe first and then gently set flat. This gives the impression that the horse is "tip-toeing." The foot should land as if it were landing on soft rose petals.
It is important to understand these mechanics because it is the entire package that determines the softness of the Fino step. With the softness of the step, the rider feels the ultimate comfort and smoothness.
All Puerto Rican Paso Fino horses are unique in their ability to perform the Fino gait. Each horse will have his or her own unique expression of the Fino gait. The gait is in the genes!
QUICKNESS OF FOOTFALL
Short, rapid footfall does not mean FINO.
To someone new to the world of paso finos, they all look fast! When we take a look at the precision of the gait, we need to realize that quickness of footfall is important, but it does not dominate the criteria of which defines the Fino gait. The precision of the execution of the step may indeed slow down the cadence of the footfall in some horses. When judging the Fino gait, clarity of gait, precision and execution will hold the most weight. If all qualities are equal then the horse with the faster footfall would win.
The paso fino gait is a package. Every detail that is described above IS the Fino gait. This gait can be performed at any speed.
The Puerto Rican Paso Fino can walk like a normal horse and it can run like the wind.
(YES they can canter!)
The horse should have the "Eye of the Tiger." There is no croup movement or exaggerated forcefulness in any movement. The horse displays Brio - a vigous spirit with a gentle heart. The horse should move with ease and grace, yet powerful and energetic. The horse should move forward eagerly and with delight. The horse should appear willing and happy to perform, not a robotic machine gun.
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