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For you Paso Fino fans. This painting is a head shot of a Paso Fino horse I photographed at the IALHA Nationals some time ago. The Paso Fino is a naturally gaited light horse breed dating back to horses imported to the Caribbean from Spain.

More than 500 years ago Columbus made a second trip to the New World. His port of landing was the Dominican Republic. Aboard his ship were mares and stallions of the Barb, Andalusian and Spanish Jennet breeds. These horses were his Calvary for the conquistadors that scoured the newly discovered lands that would become known as Puerto Rico, Cuba, Columbia and Mexico.

The founding stock remained unexposed to other breeds and developed distinctive characteristics they are know for today. Each breed contributed to the future offspring. The Barb provided durability and stamina. The Andalusian is known for it’s athletic talent and elegance. The Spanish Jennet is possibly the most unique because of their gait. Famous for its smooth and even gait.  They became known as Los Caballos de Paso Fino. the horse with the fine step.

Century’s later the Paso Fino still remained secluded in Latin America. But best kept secrets are made to be discovered. During World War II American service men stationed in Puerto Rico met and fell in love with the breed. It wasn’t long before they made their way to the  mainland. The love affair continues.

Copyright Connie Kelts 2017

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