We recently lost our steady-Eddie, versatile horse who gave my daughter the confidence to do gaming and win Reserve Champion last year (even harder for me since I considered him my "heart horse"). Long story (which you can see on my blog) but we decided to look for another horse. We came across Annie who is an registered Paso Fino mare and had been trail ridden a lot. I've ridden gaited horses before and had a TWH gelding but I don't know much about Pasos. What can you tell me about them?
There are several at the stable where I board, and the BO used to breed them. They are very smooth to ride, quite smart and easy to train if you are reasonable and knowledgeable. You cannot force them to do anything. Determined (stubborn) and brave on the trail. They like people and try to please them.
They are extremely easy keepers and prone to IR and founder if their diets aren't managed properly.
I have a friend who has a gelding that she does trail riding with. He's in his mid 20's, she has had him since he was 13. He's low maintenance for sure. He is an only horse and seems to have bonded strongly with my friend. She seems to think the Paso's tend to bond with their 'person' more so than is typical but I have no idea if this is true, he certainly does not seem to have minded living as an only horse. He is a great trail horse, a little spooky/looky.
He has foundered twice in the last 5 years, I suspect he has undiagnosed IR but is on a diet of grass hay and beet pulp and seems to be doing fine.
I have several friends who have or had Pasos. From observing only...
One family had a pair of Pasos they rode on the trail extensively. They took them all over the place and rode and rode and rode. We'd see them at a ride/drive fun day where they'd glide around the obstacle course, hovering to accomplish whatever was asked. Many years later, after the husband died, the wife was selling the last one and we heard he had foundered on a heavily grassed pasture, but was currently sound, still a blast to ride.
The other couple have had Pasos as long as I've known them - about 25 years. The better conformed and bred of them are steady, but quick and move over the ground like it was a smooth track regardless of how bad the footing is. They can appear quick and a bit skitty, but if you don't mind the quick stepping, they are very steady
The less well conformed had some rather serious conformation problems (my friend likes saving some of those in trouble) but have been willing to go out and try anything asked within their limitations.
When I say these guys have tried anything I'm not kidding. They trail ride all sorts of places, parade including in NYC, the Circus Parade in Wisconsin, some sort of Kentucky Derby thing in Kentucky, charity train robbery's at a local steam train place, trails demos at Liberty State Park (on Hudson River across from downtown NYC with planes, helicopters, trains tons of people, etc). Owners are very lassez-faire riders and horses take quite good care of them. Big issue for me is they tend to be quite small. I'm all for 14.2 to 15.2, but under 14 (common for Pasos) gets a bit small for me.
Thanks for the info! Sorry - meant to say in my original post that she's unregistered, not registered. She's been trail ridden and ridden all over town in the Pocono Mountains for years. She's sat for a bit recently and needs some groceries. She's been out on pasture at her previous home and is out on pasture where we are now. Our grass is not very rich and is drying out right now since we haven't had rain in a while. We are supplementing her with a little bit of grain right now since she's underweight. She was a bit nutty on the ground when she first came but seems to be settling down well and has been a pleasure to have around. She was great under saddle and definitely has a smooth gait. She's got pretty good feet so far and is approx. 15 years old but I'll definitely keep an eye on her. I plan on trimming her this weekend to even her feet out a bit. She's sure footed and seems to be pretty brave. Definitely on the shorter side - about 14.1 hands from what I can tell with a tape but I'm 5 feet tall and prefer under 15 hands so she's a good size for me (the horse that died was 14 hands). There's some pics on the blog in my signature.
My mother had the distinct pleasure of being owned by a paso. He was a crop out and stood almost 16 hh and was solid gray. He came from a lovely lady that owned him and two others both mares liver chestnuts (I think mother and daughter). Dale was in the therapy riding program at moody gardens and therefore came completely voice commanded. That definately came in handy for mom since she only rode to spend more time with dad and I. He sucked for what I wanted to do (barrels and speed events.) but walked the rest of our horses into the ground mile after mile. I have tons of stories I could tell you about those three little pasos since I rode them for almost 8 years. None of them were spooky and all of them handled anything we put before them with the utmost aplomb. We did all sorts of trail rides with them and I rode mother and daughter every year in the Houston Livestock Rodeo parade. They are normally very short and close compact though in the last 20 years they seem to have gotten ridiculously short backed. They do own you and do bond strongly with their person though will tolerate others for the most part. They will tolerate the stupid and mean and come in a variety of colors. Do your research and get one you feel comfortable with. Take the time to get the training to teach them their gates and learn what the gates are. They can gallop and canter though it is incredibly funny feeling and looks ridiculous from the ground. Remember this about the paso: They may not get you there first but you will be the first on the dance floor after a 30 mile ride.
Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
Originally Posted by alicen:
What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.
She seems very tolerant and I can totally see how she would become attached to one person. She's very social both with people and other horses. She's had professional training somewhere along the way and just needs a refresher. Not sure if I mentioned above that I did indeed buy her and bring her home.
I've had them for decades! They are fun, fun, fun. Most of them do seem to bond to one person. Once they do, they will give you their all. Most people just stick to gaiting, but they can be very versatile - I had one that had a beautiful canter and could jump 3' easily. She was kind of a freak though.
I like this video because it shows something different than the usual show horses:
I love mine, though we kid and call her "Crack Pony"
Sugar has had a long way to go since her rescue/rehab (by a COTHer and a subsequent Giveaway forum graduate to me) When I got her two years ago at 8 years old she knew nothing but how to have babies, and I do mean NOTHING. Not even the most basic stuff we take for granted with an adult horse, like standing for the farrier or grooming.
Now she is so very good for ground stuff and is learning under saddle, we had to go bitless though as she decided bits were The Devil. I sent her to a cowboy type trainer for desensitization earlier this year and he fell in love with her, too! He took her out on a trail ride and then was surprised to find out the next day from me that she had never been trail ridden to my knowledge
Sugar can be stubborn, but when she works past that, she is superb.
She is bonding with me, moreso than the mare I've owned for 7 years. I think it's been harder for her since she obviously came from a bad situation and was nothing but a broodmare to her former owners, rather than a riding partner or pet. With good care and a family who loves her (Crack Pony or not) she is coming around
On a vacation to Puerto Rico with a BN jockey, my daughter, an experienced equestrienne, rode Paso's and was enthusiastic about the experience. She said that they were very comfortable and easy to ride at any gait.
There is a Paso farm in Romulus, not far from where I live. I'm going to be visiting soon.
I know a guy who comes down to KY from OH to ride his Pasos in the ACTHA competitive trail challenges around here. They are doing pretty well, I think. Next year if Sugar is ready I will point her in that direction.
Also, in 2008, Paso Finos were the winners in both the Open and Youth Trail Blazer Battle of the Breeds Not bad for hyper little horses with names no one can pronounce
I shooshed him off with the fly mask I had in my hand when he was trying to squeeze in somewhere he didn't belong. It then took 3 days of persistence and patience to get him AND the fly mask back in the same zip code together. If a person got mad and whacked him or really got after him, he'd probably not get near you again.
I trim a handful of these horses for different owners and they all seem to have that same bit of hotness/hyperness that's hard to explain. It's different than an Arab or TB. Not bad, just different.
I get the feeling that once they are "ruined" they're RUINED. Do others think that too, or maybe my perception is wrong. One of the geldings I trim had been man-handled a little bit by a farrier probably 5 years ago and to this very day, he is a spazz case about hoof trimming. He will bolt forward, bow down to the ground, shake and snort, run backwards, and get all panicky and wild eyed every time he sees a rasp and a hoof stand.
My boy Amadeus reminds me a tad of a mule or donkey - VERY self-preserving. I guess you could call it stubborn? I've noticed that if he has a bad experience in a certain place, he's very reluctant to go to that place again. One of the mares got after him over the stall wall so it took a few days to convince him it was ok to go in the stall again.
We think my old girl was part or even mostly Paso and she was very very similar in disposition to the ones I know.
The folks here on coth have some amazing knowledge and resources on these great little horses. They helped me a lot!
Edited to add: Oh yeah, my boy is 14 hands and 750 lbs but he has the personality of a horse 3x his size!
I have had my paso for 4 years. I love her. She is so comfy and very smart. She is a great trail horse too. It took us quite some time to bond but now we understand each other. They are very smart so in my opinion would be bad for a novice, my mare has tested me in every way like no other horse has but once I show her I am competent she is fine. She is stubborn, I have learned more in the 4 years I have owned her than I did in the previous 20 because if I don't do it right she will let me know. As others have mentioned, they are hot but in a good way, it can be unnerving at first but I love the sensitivity and brio. I can see how it would be easy to ruin one if man handled.
I am currently training a coming three year old Paso for a client. This is my first experience with the breed and I am enjoying it! We have done our first show and we did Hunter Under Saddle. I am a hunter/jumper rider that has recently started dabbling in dressage, so I ride him hunter and dressage.
He did great at the show! Everyone kept asking what breed he is. We ended up getting reserve champion (out of three, but hey!) and this was an arab association sponsered show. I do have to say though that he tends to be lazy and can be pretty stubborn, but is awesome when we work through it. Here are a couple pics of us
Koniucha, I can't see Facebook at work so I'll have to check him out later.
I did get to ride Annie in the ring on Friday afternoon for about an hour. She stood like a rock for me to mount from the ground and did really great. She didn't really want to whoa when I first got on - not really being fresh, she just wanted to go. She strikes me as intelligent, sure footed, a bit stubborn but with a good work ethic. It's so hot here (hitting 100 again today) and she's underweight so I don't want to push her too much. After our ride, mostly gaiting and negotiating some cones (in a basic racing D snaffle bit) she was sweaty but not hot at all. I think she'll be a blast on the trail. I trail rode my QH mare on Sunday and she has absolutely no "trail sense" about where her feet go so I'm really looking forward to getting Annie out there.