The Paso Fino is a true Spanish horse with a natural four beat gait that makes them smooth and highly elegant to watch. Their Spanish or Iberian heritage also makes them a very showy and proud horse, ideal for many different types of show events and competitions.
The traditional show gait for the Paso Fino is known as the classic fino. This gait is equivalent to the horse taking little tiny baby steps. The ideal classic fino gait will have little extension or forward movement, and will almost be like very rapid fast stepping in place, with just a small amount of forward movement. It is reported that the stallion Capuchino had a footfall rate of 126 steps per minute with a four inch extension per step. This is a very flashy gait but is only ever used in the ring. Most working Paso Fino horses will not use this gait, and even in shows it is used very sparingly. The horse is very collected during this gait and will traditionally be shown with a highly arched neck during the gait.
The paso corto is the natural gait of the Paso Fino horse and is one of the smoothest gaits of any breed of horse. This is gait used when pleasure riding, trail riding or in the average show ring. Lightly collected the horse is very responsive to the rider in this gait and will respond well to aids as well as stays very light on the bit. The Paso Fino will naturally come on the bit to give a wonderful presentation without the need of double reins or other devices to keep them flexed. This gait is about equal in speed to the trot of a non-gaited horse and the Paso Fino can continue this gait for hours with little effort.
The Paso largo is the same type of four beat gaits just done at a faster pace. It is really an extended, slow motion looking canter that is completely smooth without the jerking or bouncing motion seen in other non-gaited breeds. The paso largo is the fastest gait that the Paso Fino is shown at in traditional shows. In all gaits the Paso Fino demonstrates it natural grace and smoothness, making it an ideal horse for both new and experienced riders.
In traditional shows the Paso Fino is shown with mane and tail down and full and with minimal tack and equipment. The riders may use Latin style saddles or may even show in western or English tack, depending on the type of event and the show requirements. Many riders wear traditional Spanish clothing and women may even show riding sidesaddle in full Spanish riding dresses. The elegance of the Paso Fino as well as its athletic ability allows it to be highlighted in many different types of events and competitions, as well as in a wide variety of tack and equipment. In traditional shows the emphasis is on the horse and the gaits, not on the rider or the tack.