Horseback Riding Vacation with Hawaii Paso Finos, Big Island, Hawaii

//Horseback Riding Vacation with Hawaii Paso Finos, Big Island, Hawaii
Horseback Riding Vacation with Hawaii Paso Finos on Kohala Coast

Horseback Riding Vacation with Hawaii Paso Finos on Kohala Coast

Horseback Riding Holiday on Big Island’s North Kohala Coast

As horseback riders, we’ve all ridden at the trot, canter or lope. Perhaps you’ve gone on a horseback riding vacation to Iceland and experienced the “tolt” a special gait unique to the Icelandic horse.  On a recent trip to the Big Island’s North Kohala Coast, I had the opportunity to ride a very special gaited horse with Hawaii Paso Finos.

Hawaii Paso Finos for a Smooth Horseback Riding Vacation

Any equestrian with a bad back or knees knows that these Paso Fino gaited horses do not trot. The unique mechanics of their “four beat lateral gait,” where the horses’ hooves move up and forward in perfect rhythm, are a god-send for riders wanting a smooth horseback riding vacation. I have had the pleasure of riding a Tennessee Walking Horse and a Missouri Fox Trotter, but nothing compares to the smooth gait of the Paso Fino.

Insider Tip:

Paso Fino horses are not to be confused with “Peruvian Pasos.” The Peruvian Paso is its own breed with its own distinct characteristics.

Hawaii Paso Finos Grazing After a Horseback Riding Vacation on Kohala Coast

Hawaii Paso Finos Grazing After a Horseback Riding Vacation on Kohala Coast

Californians Bring Paso Finos to Hawaii’s Kohala Coast

Former Northern Californians, Joe and Kelly Vitorino moved to Hawaii’s North Kohala Coast in 1990 and never looked back. “Kelly always wanted to have horses,” noted Joe Vitorino, “but she had back issues and needed a smooth ride.”

The Vitorino’s were the first Paso Fino breeders in Hawaii. “It was a challenge bringing the horses over from the mainland,” reflects Joe. “We flew two brood mares over that were pregnant and then we barged them from Oahu to the Big Island.”

I was fortunate to ride Contrachena on my Hawaiian horseback riding vacation. Contrachena is a a 13 year old Paso Fino mare who’s well known father is Cappuccino.

Hawaiian Paso Fino Gaits on a Big Island Horseback Riding Vacation

Hawaiian Paso Fino Gaits on a Big Island Horseback Riding Vacation

Paso Fino Horseback Riding Gaits and Traits

Having shown horses in my youth, I have witnessed some un-natural training methods used on horses. What I love about the Paso Fino is that their gait is completely natural. Foals will gait the day they are born. The Paso Fino also possesses what is known as “Brio,” translating to “fiery spirit” from within. Brio is what makes the Paso Fino horse so willing to perform, yet their personality makes them ideal for beginning equestrians on their first horseback riding vacation.

Take a Historical Horseback Riding Vacation with Hawaii Paso Finos

Take a Historical Horseback Riding Vacation with Hawaii Paso Finos

Historical Horseback Riding Vacations

With 10 Paso Finos on their ranch, the Vitorinos specialize in historical horseback riding vacations on Hawaii’s North Kohala Coast.

*Nervous Nellie Ride – one hour horseback ride for the novice rider

* Historical Ranch Ride – one and a half to two and a half hour private horseback ride, combined with Big Island history. This horseback riding vacation takes place on the working ranch, situated oceanfront on a former sugar cane plantation.

*King’s Ride – three hour horseback ride through one of Kohala’s best preserved upcountry open spaces. Formerly situated on a missionary estate, this horseback riding trek winds through miles of rain forest trails.

Three Speeds for your Paso Fino Horseback Riding Vacation

Here is a brief overview of the three speeds to a Paso Fino horseback riding vacation. The “Classic Fino” is a highly collected gait with a tightly space and quick footfall, each hoof moving in an even, four beat succession.

Next follows the “Paso Corto” – a gait performed at moderate extension on a horseback ride. Most Paso Finos are able to travel at the Paso Corto for hours without tiring.

The “Paso Largo” gait has a longer, extended stride and is performed at a faster speed during horseback riding.

What are your favorite things to do on a horseback riding vacation to Hawaii’s Big Island?

If You Go:

Hawaii Paso Finos (808) 884-5625

P.O. Box 1107 Kapaau, Hawaii 96755

I was a guest of Hawaii Paso Finos. Photos courtesy of Winston Welborn of Hawaii Life.

Related Posts:

Things to See and Do on Hawaii’s Kohala Coast

Horseback Riding Vacation with Paniolo Adventures

Horseback Riding Anna’s Ranch

2017-06-27T11:45:24+00:00 December 1st, 2010|Horse Ranches & Equestrian Centers|

6 Comments

  1. Patty December 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Looks like fun! I’ll definitely have to start with a “Nervous Nellie” though 🙂

  2. constance December 17, 2010 at 2:18 am

    hi great site <: do you know of any icelandic horse breeders on the big island ? thanks

  3. Nancy D. Brown December 17, 2010 at 8:55 am

    @constance
    I do not have any Icelandic horse breeder contacts on the Big Island. My suggestion would be to reach out to Joe Vitorino at Hawaii Paso Finos, as he is a breeder on the Big Island.
    Nancy

  4. Arlene Skarani June 23, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I would like to have more information on riding Paso Finos in Hawaii. Do you have a plan for a few days of riding? I am a 71 yr. old equestrian and currently ride my 2 Walking Horses in Connecticut. I’m looking for an active winter vacation ( but doable with bad knees ) I’m an old fox hunting gal looking for a reasonably priced getaway from the cold!

  5. Nancy D. Brown June 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    @Arlene
    If you would like more information on Hawaii Paso Finos, you’ll need to contact the company. Please click on the link at the bottom of the blog post “If You Go” as I am a travel writer based in San Francisco.
    Aloha,

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