You are traveling and find a sign that says “Rent Horse or Tour by Horseback”? With images of your youth you eagerly pay the fee. Then you realize that your horse is quite safe. Literally. He might die on the trail but at least he won’t buck you off. Which is great! Unless you are an equestrian enthusiast a.k.a. “Horse Crazy!” Come along with us as we take you inside the world of the Paso Fino Colombiano, also known as the Caballo Criollo Colombiano (translated as Native Colombian Horse).

Many people come to Colombia for the coffee, weather, beautiful women and cheap beer. But, what is out there for the horse people who travel? Come along with us and discover the equestrian culture of Colombia, its origins and the present day manifestation of humanity’s universal love and appreciation for the Paso Fino Colombiano.

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The Colombian Paso Fino

To watch a well-trained Paso Fino work, is an elegant experience. The Paso Fino, is a spirited horse which moves forward with this deep well of enthusiasm and action. They are especially exotic to those of us who have little or no experience whatsoever with gaited horses. Regular saddle horses, like Arabians or Quarter Horses often move vertically in the walk, trot and lope. A gaited horse often move forward laterally and feel completely different.

The Colombian Paso Fino was developed in the Caribbean as a comfortable mount, which could cover ground quickly on the big haciendas and plantations. To fully understand their purpose, imagine the early colonial days of fine men and ladies on elegant horses with spirit and style. From these origins you will begin to discover the Paso Fino.

Paso Fino Colombiano

The Paso Fino /Caballo Criollo Colombiano  Pereira, Colombia

There are four distinct gaits which typify the Paso Fino Colombiano:

  • Paso Fino Colombiano
  • Trocha Pura Colombiano
  • Trocha y Galope
  • Trote y Galope

These gaits are determined by their genetic disposition and occur naturally. No single horse is capable of doing all 4 gaits or gait combinations. Genetics are worked with very carefully to help ensure the purity and quality of these gaits. In shows, a horse that fails to show a true gait, or who consistently missteps can/will be disqualified. In some cases training can help a horse to go nicer, or help to define what their gait is really doing.

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We stopped in and visited a local horse-show here in Pereira held by the Crines Association. Shows are held each week and rated based on size. Less than 200 horses entered means it is a “A” class show. These shows are smaller, more local and often have more women and children participating. More than 200 horses entered means it is a “B” class show. These shows will be frequented by more breeders and professional riders.

Crines, is an association of breeders and owners. Their purpose is to support and further equine sports in Risaralda. Their website is quite helpful and can give you contacts for riding schools, sale barns and trainers who work with the breed. For more information visit Their Page (in Spanish) or keep reading.

To attend horse-shows in Pereira, check out Coliseo de Ferias Cerritos Salmon Armel. There are shows held almost every weekend.  Full fairground facilities which feature a large covered arena, barns, paddocks and livestock processing/auction facilities.

Ride or Own a Paso Fino Colombiano in Pereira

In Pereira, there’s a surprising number of schools where children and adults can study the fine art of equitation. Only 45 minutes away in Salento, Quindio horses can be rented out in Cocora Valley, for trail rides up to the wax palm reserve, or in the pueblo for guided tours of the town and countryside. For the longer term expat residents you can take lessons (average cost: 50,000 COP/lesson), start your own ranch, or buy and board a horse at a stable much like you would in your home country.

To learn more about riding or buying these horses, contact the local breed association, called Crines:

Investment Opportunity: Start a non-profit horse ranch for handicapped/special needs individuals. Or, create a scholarship program to help teach disadvantaged kids about horses, responsibility, proper animal care and riding.  


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Paso Fino Colombiano Riding Schools in Pereira:

The following schools are situated in and around Pereira, Colombia. The average cost of a riding lesson is 50,000 COP. Next to each name is the “vereda/sector” name of where the school is located. Most of these schools have riding programs for training and showing Paso Finos/Criollos and may even have horses for sale.

Alma Mater Pereira | Cerritos, via La Virginia

Club de Chalaneria Jerico | Combia

Club de Equitacion Rodeo | Dosquebradas

Escuela de Equitacion Equiana |Galicia

Centro Equestre Santa Rita | Cerritos

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