By Jerry Tardif
This Paso Fino, named Cory, is owned by a friend.
This breed was reportedly brought from Europe to the Dominican Republic by Columbus in 1493.
From there, they spread out into the Americas as the Spanish conquered evermore territory.
Paso Finos are a slightly smaller horse and generally average in the 14-1 to 15-0 hh range, though it is possible to find one up to 16 hh occasionally in the United States.
This is likely because the breed has been interbred with other breeds to increase their size.
Most Pasos from other countries are slightly smaller than the U.S. variety.
Paso Finos have a very smooth and distinctive gait at trotting speed (which is not really a trot at all).
This gait is called the " paso corto".
They also have a fast canter/slow gallop gait that is also very smooth known as the "paso largo".
But Paso Finos are best known for the "classic fino".
This gait has all four legs moving up and down very quickly in a piston-like movement with very slow forward motion — the legs move up and down at drum roll speeds and it is exciting to see.
The "Classic Fino" is exhibited by only a few Pasos, but is natural and not forced.
In fact, the word "paso" literally means "step" and "fino" means "fine".
Together, they refer to a "fine stepping" horse.
As for Cory himself, he really seems to like people.
When I'm in the grazing field, he'll often come over to me and touch me with his nose.
One day, I was looking through the viewfinder of my camera composing a shot and I didn't hear him come up behind me.
When he touched me, I let out a quick, surprised yelp and as I turned around, he backed up quickly and slightly reared.
Once I realized that we'd startled each other, I started laughing out loud, talked to him, and he immediately came over to me looking for attention.
Sometimes, he'll roll near me, stop on his side, and wave his hooves at me as if to say "come over here and play".
My cats do the same thing when they want attention, but I won't indulge in that activity with horses because of their size.
Even though Pasos are not as big as the average horse, they're still horses and Cory is likely in the 800 - 900 lb. range — far too big for me to play with.
Still, I definitely like his calm disposition and friendly demeanor.
The photo below shows him in his seductive "wanna play?" mood.
Besides being an avid trail rider, Jerry Tardif is a technology consultant and a horse and nature photographer in SE Connecticut — see his work at: www.jerrytardif.com.
He is also co-founder and President of QueryHorse.
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