Bluebird Paradise Paso Fino Horses

 

 

 

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Welcome to Bluebird Paradise Paso Fino Horses!

We consider it a special privilege to spend time daily with these wonderful Spanish horses.  Along with their surefootedness and comfortable riding gaits, Paso Finos are known for their friendly nature, hardiness, longevity, endurance, willingness to go (brio) and versatility.  In fact, few breeds can match their remarkable range of activities: trail riding, trekking, parades, hunting, horse soccer, herding, sorting, team penning, cutting cattle, endurance, competitive trail, obstacle trail, barrel racing, pole bending, cowboy mounted shooting, freestyle competition, field trials, cowboy dressage, Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, and of course, Paso Fino and open gaited horse shows.  (Contact us: smoothride at  bluebirdpasofinos.com).

 

 

 

Maggie riding her beloved Zapa

 

Christopher on Rosa

 

Equine historians and geneticists consider the traditional Puerto Rican strain of the Paso Fino (pronounced Pah'-so Fee'-no) to be one of, if not the purest descendants of the earliest horses brought to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493 and the Spanish explorers who followed him.  The full Spanish name, "el Caballo de Paso Fino" translates to English as "the horse with the fine (or perfect, or pure) step".  For those of us who have had the good fortune of spending countless hours riding these horses over many kinds of terrain, we can attest that this name is highly descriptive and fitting!

The human members of the team here at Bluebird Paradise Paso Fino Horses includes Dave & Millie Holderread, the Dale & Wanita (Miller), Christopher and Maggie Green family, and David Omick & Pearl Mast.

 

About Our Name:  Our farm name was chosen because we all delight in seeing the brilliant-colored resident Western Bluebirds feeding in the pastures among the horses, perched on fences and raising young in nest boxes we have provided.  For years, Western Bluebirds were in decline.  Recently, due at least in part to the efforts of many folks, they have been rebounding in this part of Western Oregon.  We try to do our part in making our farm a safe haven for bluebirds, horses and humans.

 

Our Introduction To Paso Finos:  In a round-about way, my (Dave Holderread) journey with Paso Finos began in the early 1940s when my parents, Wilbur and Rachel, met, courted and married while living in Castaņer, Puerto Rico.  In 1945, they moved to southern Idaho where my sisters and I were born.  Fast forward to January 1956, when they returned to the enchanting tropical island of Puerto Rico with three children in tow.  Our home for the next 4 years was on the first modern dairy in the rugged mountainous interior of the island.  My dad had been asked by the Ulrich Foundation to manage their dairy, which was located near the town of Aibonito.  My mother, a registered nurse, did in-home baby deliveries and helped run health clinics.  My parents told the story of me as a 4-year-old climbing the pasture fence bordering our yard--and the three farm saddle horses (all stallions) pastured there coming over while I eased onto the back of the nearest one.  I was charmed for life!

 

 

In 1972, I returned to Puerto Rico when asked to develop an applied poultry science program.   After arriving back on the island and seeing people riding their incredibly smooth-gaited horses, I purchased the friendly-as-a-puppy filly my students named Flecha ("Arrow").  This calm, pretty gray filly was pleasure-gaited and smooth-as-silk to ride.  She was soon joined by the stout bay stallion Apache, who power gaited up the steep trails seemingly without effort.  Then came the playful and charismatic bay gelding Furia, with his quick, animated, comfortable-to-ride-all-day gait, plus a wonderful canter that covered lots of ground fast!  Given the chance, this guy would work a cow with enthusiasm.

The horses provided opportunities to interact with an eclectic assortment of people and explore the wonderfully diverse natural beauty of the island.  After-school hours were spent helping children learn and improve their horsemanship and riding skills.  Weekends and holidays found friends and students gathering for trail rides.  Sometimes we would ride up through lush tropical rainforest and then descend into desert-like terrain, all in the same day.  The horses always carried us safely and willingly, no matter the length or difficulty of the ride.

Millie arrived in Puerto Rico in 1973, and we became friends and horseback riding companions. We saddled up for life in the spring of 1976.  The last year we lived in Puerto Rico we decided to forego having a vehicle, choosing to use our horses for personal  transportation.  We recall those days with fondness.

 

  Millie & Dave with Flecha, 1975

 

Dave with a flock of young ducks

 

Back To The Mainland:  Millie and I returned to the mainland in the summer of 1976, leaving part of our hearts firmly embedded in the isle of the "Rich Port".  We made our home in Oregon and became deeply involved with studying and preserving heritage breeds of domestic ducks and geese.  (If interested, see www.holderreadfarm.com.)  My passion for horses never faded, but was put on hold.  In 2002, our next door neighbors retired from their small horse operation.  Because the horses had helped protect our rare waterfowl from predators, and with heart-felt strong encouragement from our then 6-year-old niece, we decided it was time to get re-involved with equine.

 People sometimes express surprise at the combination of waterfowl and horses--actually, they make a good combination for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Our farm is located at the junction of the fertile Willamette Valley and the foothills of the Oregon Coast range where there are many predators--including coyotes, bobcats and cougars.  The horses reduce the likelihood of these large predators attacking the ducks and geese

  2. Composted manure from fowl and horses have distinctive nutrient components and it's safest to avoid using the manure from the same species year after year on the same pastures.

  3. Parasites tend to be host specific, so rotating horses and waterfowl in pastures is a tool for reducing the need to use chemical de-worming.

  4. Over the years I have noticed that people who have learned the skills needed to work effectively with horses have superior abilities for working with avian species.  Working safely with horses requires a person to remain calm and focused and to develop keen observational skills--thus learning to see the world through the eyes of the horse.  In other words, we can use horses to train people.

 

Strains of Paso Finos:  The Paso Fino breed can be divided into subgroups, known as strains, based on their historical place of origin.  The island of Puerto Rico is often credited with being the birth place of fine-gaited horses.  Additionally, Aruba, Columbia, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic and Venezuela have their own proud histories with this type of horse.

Currently, the majority of Paso Finos raised in North America are of Columbian origin or a blend of Columbian and Puerto Rican blood lines.  Horses bred in the USA that are a combination of two or more strains often are referred to as American Paso Finos.  Today, pure Puerto Rican strain Paso Finos are rare, which is a shame.   These unique horses have a fascinating history and are a source of desirable genetic traits, such as as even temperament, trainability and unparalleled smoothness of gait--characteristics that are especially desired in recreational and working horses.

A mixed herd of our Columbian, American, and Puerto Rican Pasos

 

Turabo Segundo, Puerto Rican bay stallion 

 

Royalty's Prince Vaho, Puerto Rican bay stallion

 

 Royalty's Muchacha, a Puerto Rican bay filly

Describing the differences between Columbian and Puerto Rican strain Paso Finos should be approached with great care.  Because there are enough variations within each strain, and overlaps in traits between the strains, it is best to think of the following comments as soft descriptions, not points of fact.  Furthermore, keep in mind that the following is based on our personal experiences and observations, which have their own limitations.  With these caveats firmly in mind, let's proceed.

To begin with, there are magnificent horses in both strains.  We have horses of both strains and do not consider one better than the other, just somewhat different.

  • Both Columbian and Puerto Rican strain horses come in a wide range of coat colors, including but not limited to bay, brown, chestnut, black, gray, lineback dun, palomino, buckskin, cremello, perlino, pinto and roan.  Blacks and especially grays are common in the Columbians, but quite rare in the Puerto Ricans.  Solid-colored horses with no white on the legs and little or no white on the face are common in the Columbian, but less common in the Puerto Rican.

  • In conformation and type, both strains produce horses that are handsome to look at.  The Puerto Ricans tend to have a traditional Spanish horse appearance, sometimes with a longer head.  The Columbians are inclined to have a bit more refined, modern horse look.

  • Both strains produce horses with the desired four-beat gait that is comfortable to sit.  The Columbians tend to have quicker feet, an advantage when being presented in a traditional Paso Fino show class.  Puerto Ricans often have a softer foot fall.

  • Columbians tend to have more intensity, which can be an advantage at Paso Fino shows--especially in the Classic Fino and Performance Classes.  We have found Puerto Ricans have a tendency to be innately trusting, which is a real plus when training them or riding in difficult situations.

While listening to people discuss the differences between these two strains, we've heard the following automotive analogy used several times:  Columbians are the sport cars of the breed, while Puerto Ricans are the 4-wheel-drive sports utility vehicle.  However, we've certainly owned and ridden very sporty pure Puerto Ricans!

 

Vigilante de United, a Columbian lineback dun gelding

Escondalo de United, a Columbian lineback dun gelding

Pacto de United, a Columbian bay gelding

 

 

Carrissa de CdC, a Puerto Rican bay mare

Please note that all the photos in this website are of our horses.  We have just begun working on this website--there's more to come!  You can contact us: smoothride at bluebirdpasofinos.com (using the usual email format).  Thanks!

 

 

Carrissa de CdC, with her hour's old colt, Estrella de David

 

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