Esta semana recibí una copia de la edición Febrero 2008 de la revista Hispanic donde aparece un artículo titulado: Pride of the Islands… como introducción al artículo, Teresa Gordon dice: “With its delicate gait and rare beauty, Puerto Rico’s Hispanic MagazinePaso Fino horse is one of the country’s prized icons”

Para mi sorpresa, cuando comienzo a leer el artículo, descubro que las personas que hablan sobre nuestra raza son todos integrantes de Los Abiertos… y que la “visión” que se presenta sobre nuestros caballos de Paso Fino no es del todo correcta…

A continuación les dejo una copia del email que le envié a Teresa Gordon… aquellos de ustedes que deseen enviar sus comentarios a Hispanic Magazine, al final de mi carta aparecen los emails de Marissa Rodríguez (Managing Editor) y de la sección de “Cartas al editor”…



Teresa Gordon
Hispanic Magazine

Dear Ms. Gordon,

Been a Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino horse aficionado, owner and breeder, I was trilled when I saw your article’s title in the February 2008 issue of Hispanic Magazine: “The Pride of Puerto Rico: The delicate gait and beauty of the Paso Fino horse makes it an icon of the island”.

Let me explain a little bit about our breed and how we struggle to preserve and promote it, so you can understand why your article was such a big disappointment for us. As you mentioned, the Paso Fino horse is a unique breed that can be traced back to the horses introduced by the Spaniards to the New World. This breed, the Paso Fino, was developed in Puerto Rico and is truly “an icon of the island”.

There are other breeds of Spaniard origin thru Central and South America. All are different from one another, and all respond to the selective breeding done by each country. One of those breeds, the Paso Colombiano (Colombian Paso), share the same gait as the Puerto Rican Paso Fino, but its resemblance ends there. Besides its gait, the Colombian Paso and the Puerto Rican Paso Fino are two different and distinctive breeds of horses, both on phenotype and genotype.

Back in the late ‘70s, a group of Puerto Rican Paso Fino breeders suggested that our breed needed an infusion of “new blood” and they proposed the Colombian Paso as an alternative breed to “refresh” ours. The group who adopted this philosophy promoted the idea of a “Paso Fino of the Americas” as just one breed with two big families: one from Puerto Rico, the Paso Fino; and the other from Colombia, the Colombian Paso. This group adopted the name of our breed – “Paso Fino” – as a generic term to designate the four beats isochronal gait common to both breeds; and with time, the Colombian Paso became known as Colombian Paso Fino.

The other group of breeders stated that both, the Puerto Rican Paso Fino and the Colombian Paso were two different breeds, and as such, they should remain “pure”. This second group adopted the term “Pure” before the breed name to distinguish it from the mixed stock; that is why we refer to Puerto Rican Paso Finos as Pure Puerto Rican Paso Finos. I must point out that this position is not exclusive of the Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino promoters; Colombian Paso breeders in Colombia also believe their breed is unique and should remains “pure”.

I have to admit that there is an “international market” who believes on the “Paso Fino of the Americas” model, and they register both breeds as one. The Paso Fino Horse Association, in the United States, is one of these groups; Los Abiertos, in Puerto Rico, is another. For some time, the PFHA even accepted Peruvian Pasos in their “Paso Fino” registry. We recognize that the promoters of the “Paso Fino of the Americas” have the desire to create a new breed mixing Puerto Rican and Colombian stock, that is their prerogative; but we regret their insistence on claiming that both are one breed when they are not.

As you can see by the figures in your article, there are huge economic interests promoting the idea of a “Paso Fino of the Americas”. These interests encourage the misinformation about the history, development and true nature of the Puerto Rican Paso Fino horses, and present their biased point of view as fact.

This is not the only struggle our breed had to overcome during the last few decades. For years, we have seen how some of our best mares has been bought and put to produce half-breeds instead of Pure Paso Fino stock. Since our horse population is small, this represented a big setback in our breed preservation and development. Also, organizations like Los Abiertos and Confepaso have adopted a pro Colombian breed standard and show ruling that openly discriminate toward the Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino disqualifying the white markings in the legs and face so common in our bred.

This is why it was such a big disappointment that you did not interviewed nor quoted any of the Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino people, but only breeders, owners and judges who promotes and owns mostly Colombian Paso stock – none of them owns Pure Puerto Rican Paso Finos – even the horse is the picture is a Colombian Paso.

Puerto Ricans are very proud of our autochthonous breed of horses, the Paso Fino, and we truly believe of them as an “an icon of the island”, but this is not the breed of horse you portrayed in your article.

In a few days we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the biggest Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino show: la Feria Dulce Sueño. This will be an excellent opportunity to see the best of our breed performing its unique and wonderful gait, the true Paso Fino.

For more information about the Puerto Rican Paso Fino breed, I invite you to visit or my personal blog:


Romualdo Olazábal

Marissa Rodriguez / Managing Editor
Letter to the editor

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