Thinking of Buying a Paso Fino ?
This article is a must read !
By Diego Bravo
Before purchasing a Paso Fino horse, the prospective owner should pay attention to several factors, related not only to the horse itself, but also to personal and economic needs. It is recommended that potential buyers dedicate some time for thorough research before purchasing a Paso Fino. That research may include the following:
· Attending several Paso Fino shows as a spectator.
· Taking Paso Fino riding lessons in order to learn about proper equitation, gait, tack, and characteristics of the breed
· Visiting farms that offer Paso Fino horses for sale.
· Reading printed material about Paso Fino horses (magazines and books).
· Visiting the web-sites of farms and associations offering Paso Fino horses, services, forums, and products.
WHAT KIND OF PASO FINO?
Depending on how a Paso Fino horse is going to be used, it must have a series of characteristics related to gait, conformation, beauty, temperament, and brio described as follows:
· For show: The Paso Fino Horse Association, Inc. (PFHA) includes many show categories for Paso Fino horses of both sexes (including geldings) as follows: Classic Fino, Paso Performance, Paso Pleasure, Bellas Formas (Conformation), Paso Versatility, Paso Western Pleasure, and Paso Trail. In most categories, the horse may be shown either by an amateur owner, professional or youth rider. When purchasing a Paso Fino horse for show, the customer must first define what type of horse is desired by answering, at a minimum, the following questions:
- For what show division (e.g., Classic Fino, Paso Performance, Paso Pleasure) will the horse be competitive?
- What age and gender are preferred?
- Who is going to ride in the show: the owner, a youth, or a professional rider?
The Paso Fino show horse should have brio and the appropriate gait for the category in which it is going to compete and be very well-trained. The show horse should also be beautiful, healthy, with no defects, and have a good temperament.
· For reproduction: In general, most show horses may be used for reproduction (except geldings, of course). Additionally, some horses unable to compete due to injuries or chronic diseases (not genetically transmittable) may also be used for reproduction.
Moreover, for the permanent improvement of the Paso Fino breed, ideally only outstanding Paso Finos having the best characteristics should reproduce. Such characteristics include excellent gait, powerful rear legs, brio, proper conformation, beauty, and good temperament.
Additionally, the horse must have a Certificate of Registration with good bloodlines (also called pedigree). Having outstanding Paso Finos in the horse’s bloodlines (confirmed by genetic testing and parentage verification) is considered a sign of genetic potential to produce excellent offspring. Stallions and broodmares with previous offspring may be evaluated, in terms of genetic value, based on the characteristics transmitted to their offspring. The greater percentage of outstanding offspring, the higher the genetic value.
· For trail rides: Paso Finos are wonderful and special horses for riders of all ages to enjoy on the trail. By reviewing their origins, it is easy to understand why Paso Fino horses are able to keep their smooth gait for long rides, even when the topography is mountainous. Most trail riders prefer mares and geldings over stallions. This is because mares and geldings usually keep their attention on both the rider and the trail instead of on the other horses, as some stallions do.
The ideal Paso Fino horse used for trail riding must be smoothly gaited, firm stepping on any ground, docile, kind, well-trained, responsive to the rider’s commands, and developed for endurance. Such characteristics make trail riding enjoyable and easy for the rider. Bad habits, such as aggressiveness (biting/kicking people or other horses), spooking, refusing, bucking, and rearing up are never acceptable for a trail riding horse.
· For carriage driving: The horse for carriage driving, either for recreation or competition, must have certain special characteristics:
- Emotional stability: Horses that spook, or are impatient or “hot,” cannot be used because they are not safe.
- Docility: Aggressive horses that kick or want to fight with other horses are not appropriate.
- Work disposition: Horses without spirit will not provide an enjoyable ride.
- Although its gait does not need to be very smooth, the horse’s legs must be sound and well-balanced.
Note: Paso Finos may be shown in Paso Pleasure Driving classes of PFHA shows when offered.
· As a companion: A Paso Fino horse is ideal to keep as a pet if it is curious, friendly, and smart, so the owner may enjoy its companionship. For aesthetic purposes, the Paso Fino horse should have both beautiful conformation and color. The Paso Fino breed has a wide variety of colors from which to choose: black, seal bay, bay, buckskin, dun, blue dun, chestnut, chestnut with flaxen mane-tail, palomino, grey, roan, flea bitten, white, pinto, cremello, and perlino.
The horse kept as a pet or for beauty does not need to be trained under saddle nor be well-gaited, but must have excellent ground manners. In addition, the horse does not require a Certificate of Registration.
Once clear about the type of horse to purchase, the Paso Fino enthusiast must decide on the amount of money to pay for this investment. At this point, the guidelines about pricing presented below may be helpful.
PREVIOUS VETERINARY INSPECTION
When the right Paso Fino horse is found, and price and payment are agreed upon, the prospective owner should arrange for a health inspection, by a veterinarian, usually contacted directly by the customer.
The veterinary inspection must verify the following:
· Normal conformation, including observing that both sides of the horse are even.
· Sound legs, including bones, tendons, joints, and hooves. In addition, leg balance should be verified while the horse stands, walks, and performs the Paso Fino gait (in one or more motions).
· The absence of any physical defect, or if there is a defect, that the defect does not affect the purpose of purchasing the horse.
· Normal vital signs (cardiac and respiratory rates) at rest and after being exercised.
· Normal specialized sense organs (vision, hearing, and touch, at a minimum).
· Inspection of the mouth, ensuring that the tongue, bars, and gums are healthy and pink-colored.
· Good teeth, assuring that the six upper incisors fit perfectly with the lower incisors, and that they are not worn abnormally. The premolar and molar teeth should also be checked to look for sharp points that may require floating. In addition, the presence of wolf teeth or cavities should be noted.
· Possible bad habits, such as walking in the stall/weaving, cribbing, wood chewing, that affect the horse’s health and/or the condition of the facility.
When buying a stallion for reproduction, the veterinarian should make a complete inspection of its reproductive organs (external and internal), verify its libido, and provide a semen test that includes volume, concentration of spermatozoa, progressive motile spermatozoa, normal spermatozoa, and the semen’s viability after being frozen. If the stallion bred mares during the last season, the veterinarian could verify its fertility. When buying a broodmare for reproduction, the veterinarian should make a complete inspection of its external reproductive organs and its internal reproductive tract by using ultrasound. Additionally, obtaining reproduction records, and seeing live offspring, will give the buyer a better idea of the mare’s potential as a broodmare.
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