Today’s Horse Facts: The Paso Fino – Strives to Please his Master

Do you know what a Paso Fino horse is? All Pasos have their roots with the Paso from Peru, the American Mustang, and other descendants of Colonial Spanish Horses.

The Paso Fino: Strives to Please his Master

To see a picture of a Paso Fino, go to

“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”

(Matthew 10:24 NIRV)

The Paso Fino (Paah´-so fee´ no) is a naturally-gaited horse bred by Spanish land owners in Puerto Rico and Colombia, South America, who wanted an obedient steed with endurance and a comfortable ride that would aim to please.  All Pasos have their roots with the Paso from Peru, the American Mustang, and other descendants of Colonial Spanish Horses. The Barb, Spanish Jennet, and Andalusian have also been interbred in the U. S. to produce the Paso Fino of today. But Pasos go back to the time of Christopher Columbus when it’s believed he brought some of the horses with him to the New World.

The Paso Fino is a gorgeous equine, standing an average of 13 to 15.2 hands but strong for his size. He weighs from 700 to 1000 pounds, although it might take a foal five years to reach his adult weight. He has a Roman-nosed head with beautiful large eyes, an arching neck, a short back with strong withers, and a thick mane and tail. He can come in any color or combination of colors, including white, pinto, and palomino.

The Paso Fino name means “fine step.” It’s a perfect title for a horse that’s prized for his smooth, natural, four-beat amble. This is a lively horse that has a pleasant disposition with the desire to please his master. The Paso Fino has three different dominant gaits, all dependent on how fast he’s moving. But in each gait, all four hooves travel close to the ground while he’s in motion. At whatever speed he travels, the smoothness of the gait ideally allows the rider to appear motionless with no bounce. And a smooth ride like that would please any rider. Horse enthusiasts consider the Paso Fino the smoothest ride in the horse world (although owners of Tennessee Walking Horses hotly debate that issue!)

The Paso Fino is a competitive trail horse with both speed and stamina. But he’s much more versatile than that. He often competes in western classes such as trail, barrel racing, versatility, and team penning, and is very popular for trail riding and endurance competitions, driving, and gymkhana. No matter what this spunky horse is doing, he’s got one goal in mind: to do the best he can for his master who is riding him in the ring or down the woodsy trail.

Speaking of doing the best for the master, have you ever thought about God as your Master? An old hymn entitled “Give of Your Best to the Master” reminds us that we do have a Lord who should be the King of our lives. Everything we say and do should focus on trying to please God.

A master is someone in charge…someone who has authority over someone else. Our wonderful God is the Master of the Universe; yet, he loves us and wants us to live for him every day to show Him how much we love Him.

Sadly, sometimes we decide to run our own lives. We think we know better than God and want to become our own boss. Going our own way away from God’s instructions (the Bible) always leads to trouble.

As a Christian young person, if you love Jesus with your whole heart, then strive to please Him in all you say and do. Be thankful God is your Master, who will always lead you down a path that only has the best in store for your life.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being the Master of my life. I pray that I’ll always let you lead me in the way that is pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of any “paths” in your life that might not be pleasing to God (examples: not reading your Bible, too much video game time, sassing your parents, being unkind to family or friends). Ask God to help you walk down the right path and always look to Him as your Master:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Ladies who ride Paso Finos in parades often wear the “traditional” Spanish garb: a fancy hat, long brightly-colored dresses with layers of ruffles, and high black boots.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am” (John 13:13).


Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!




Today’s Horse Facts: The Morgan – A Firm Foundation

 Justin Morgan Had a Horse. Have you ever read Marguerite Henry’s book with that title about the man whose horse started the Morgan breed?

The Morgan: A Firm Foundation

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

(1 Corinthians 3:11)

(Check the website to see a picture of the Morgan)

             Justin Morgan Had a Horse. Have you ever read Marguerite Henry’s book with that title about the man whose horse started the Morgan breed?

Here’s another horse breed named after a person. The Morgan is one of the earliest breeds developed in the United States. It’s believed that Figure, the name of the very first Morgan horse, was owned by school teacher Justin Morgan, who lived in West Springfield, Massachusetts in the late 1700s. Someone gave the beautiful, little stallion to Justin for payment of a debt.

When Justin decided to enter Figure in a race, the man soon discovered his new horse could beat all others in any race. Justin had no idea what breeds comprised the lineage of Figure, but some folks assumed the horse had Dutch Friesian, Arabian, and Thoroughbred in him.

The importance of the Morgan horse in the history and development of many other breeds in America cannot be overemphasized. When Justin started to breed Figure, a line of excellent carriage horses, plow horses, and Pony Express mounts developed. All through the 1800s, Morgans also served as coach horses, for harness racing, and for trail riding. They also served as cavalry horses for the North and the South during the American Civil War, as mounts for pioneers going west, and for miners in the Gold Rush in California in the mid-1800s.

If you study the lineage of other major American breeds including the American Quarter Horse, Standardbred, The Missouri Fox Trotter, and Tennessee Walking Horse, you’ll find that the Morgan played a major role. In the 19th and 20th Centuries, Morgans found their way into other countries, including England, where a Morgan stallion became one of the foundation sires of the Hackney.

The Morgan is a handsome yet strong and muscular horse with a gorgeous thick, arched neck. He stands between 14.1 and 15.2 hands and comes in most colors including palomino and even some pinto, although multi-colored ones are rare. His popularity over the last two centuries centers on the strong foundation the first Morgan built, which led to a breed with many skills. Today he’s shown in all kinds of English and western shows, including western pleasure, dressage, show jumping, and endurance riding. He can be seen in driving competitions, including combined driving, carriage driving, and trail riding.

But there’s more! Because of their gentle nature and steady gaits, Morgans are often safe mounts for kids in 4-H and Pony Clubs.  They’re also safe therapeutic animals due to their calm disposition and easy strides. Morgans are certainly versatile…and popular. They’re so popular that two states, Vermont and Massachusetts, have made the Morgan their state animal.

Although Figure had a reputation as an excellent breeding stallion, there are records for only six of his male offspring, and only three of those were known as foundation sires for the breed. However, the breed is so popular, Morgan-only shows are held throughout the U.S. In 1973, the first annual Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show opened in Detroit, Michigan. In 1975 that national show moved to its present home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Over 1,000 horses compete in that show every year!

You might have noticed the word “foundation” reoccurring as we learned about the Morgan breed. A foundation is a solid base or structure on which other things are built.

Figure became the “foundation sire” for an entire breed. Thousands of other horses have their roots in that amazing horse. But do you know we as humans have a firm foundation in someone? That someone is the Lord Jesus Christ, the foundation of our faith.

When Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for our sins, He made it clear He was the foundation of our Christian faith. Without His sacrifice of blood on the cross and His resurrection, we wouldn’t have anything to base our beliefs on.

Sadly, many people around the world base their faith on false gods made of wood and stone that can’t hear, speak, or answer prayer. But we have a living God, who answers prayer and gives us peace in our hearts that we’ll have a home in heaven with Him someday.

If you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you have the best foundation you could ever have. With the Bible as your “behavior guide” and God’s promise of heaven someday, there’s no reason to ever doubt the salvation Jesus has given to you.

PRAYER: Dear God, I thank Jesus for being my Savior and being the foundation of my faith. I can always trust in Him and His Word, the Bible. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Have you ever asked Jesus to become the foundation in your life? Just ask him to save you and He will!

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Figure lived until 1821 when, sadly, he was kicked by another horse and later died from his injuries. He was buried in Tunbridge, Vermont.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands” (Psalm 102: 25).


Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!

Today’s Horse Facts: The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse – A Rule Follower

This smooth-riding horse is related to the Tennessee Walking Horse and other gaited breeds. Unfortunately, the exact details of his beginnings are unknown.

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse: A Rule Follower

(To see a picture of this horse, go to

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

 (Colossians 3:15)

            The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a breed from ___? You guessed it, the state of Kentucky.  This fabulous horse probably has his roots in smooth-gaited horses from the southeastern United States and the now-extinct Narragansett Pacer. He’s related to the Tennessee Walking Horse and other gaited breeds, but, unfortunately, the exact details of his beginnings are unknown.

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse has a similar history to the Rocky Mountain Horse. These two breeds are sometimes called “Mountain Pleasure Horses.” Plantation owners looking for a powerful work horse developed the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, which could also offer a comfortable, safe ride to the family members. Breeding eventually produced this equine’s gentle temperament. He became the perfect mount not only for long travel over rough terrain but also for frequent family use. Even today, the breed has the reputation of being an excellent riding horse as well as a reliable mount for rugged trail riding.

This amazing horse rides “rocking chair smooth” for one reason. He has a natural ambling gait, which is completely different from the trot of most other breeds. The rider experiences smoothness because the horse always has at least one foot on the ground when he’s “ambling.”

Interest in the breed increased throughout the 20th Century, and in 1989, the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association (KMSHA) started. Because of the popularity of the breed with excessive white markings and pinto colors, in 2002 an additional Spotted Mountain Horse Association (SMHA) started to register Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses with a lot of white. Thus, there are two different registries today: one for “solid” horses and one for pintos.

Because the history and lineage of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is not known, the two associations did extensive studies and formed detailed guidelines that any horse must follow to be registered as a Saddle Horse. Space doesn’t allow for the listing of pages of all the rules and regulations, but let’s take a look at a few:

  1. A Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse must stand above 11 hands to be registered. Taller horses are divided into two categories: Class A horses stand taller than 14.2 hands while Class B horses stand at 11 to 14.1 hands.
  2. A horse registered with the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association can be all solid colors with white markings allowed on the face, legs, and small patches on the belly no larger than the size of the palm of a hand.
  3. A horse with excessive white, including a full white face, white above the knees or hocks, or any pinto markings must register with the Spotted Mountain Horse Association.
  4. The horse must have a flat facial profile, a mid-length, well-arched neck, a deep chest and well-sloped shoulders.
  5. The horse must display a gentle temperament and willing disposition. Any horse that is unruly or unmanageable will not be accepted for certification.
  6. The horse must have a smooth, comfortable, and natural four beat under saddle.
  7. The horse may be barefoot or have shoes on all four hooves.

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse certainly has to follow a ton of rules to be a member of his exclusive club!

How would you like to be a member of a family or a club with so many rules? What if you had to have purple hair or weigh two hundred pounds to be a member of your family? What if you had to get all A’s in every test you take in school to pass to the next grade?

You probably think those rules just mentioned are ridiculous. But God has given us many good rules in the Bible, which help us live a successful and happy life. Some of those rules are the Ten Commandments, which are a guide for us to follow.

However, some people believe that by following the Ten Commandments they can work their way to heaven. Sadly, they also believe they have to follow a long list of other rules to win God’s favor, and then He’ll let them into Heaven.  But that’s not what the Bible says. Once we’ve accepted Jesus as our Savior, heaven is promised to us. All the rules God has given us are to be used as a guide to help us live the Christian life.

Remember, there are good rules your parents and teachers have set to help you grow into a responsible, happy adult. And there are good rules God has given you to help you grow into a responsible, happy Christian. Always thank Jesus that He made the way to heaven with his sacrifice on the cross, and you don’t have to try to keep a lot of rules to get there.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me obey the rules You and others in my life have set for me. I know they’re for my good.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

What are some rules your parents or teachers have that you think are for your good? Determine to obey them the best you can.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is the member of an exclusive club of more than thirty horse breeds that are “gaited,” able to perform a four-beat ambling gait.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight” (Psalm 119:174).


Do you love to read books about kids and horses?

Check out Book One in the Keystone Stables Series:


Today’s Horse Facts: The Canadian Horse – “Little Iron Horse”

Have you ever heard of a Canadian Horse? Do you know what he looks like?

The Canadian Horse: “Little Iron Horse”

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,

for he breaks down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” 

(Psalm 107: 15-16 NIRV)

In the late 1600s, King Louis XIV of France sent two different breeds of horses, the Breton and Norman, to a region we now call Quebec, Canada. Those two breeds are believed to be the ancestors of the modern Canadian Horse. Today the Canadian Horse possesses traits similar to the Arabian, Andalusian, and Barb that the Breton and Norman horses had so very long ago—rugged, strong, dashing, and quick.

The Breton and Norman multiplied with little interference for hundreds of years, resulting in a beautiful yet tough little equine, the Canadian Horse or Cheval Canadien. The limited number of those first horses in the newly-founded Canadian colony meant they were highly valued, and since they were so isolated from the rest of the known world, the breed remained pure. Thus, the horse became a versatile helper to the new colonists even through harsh weather and sparse food supplies. His jobs included farm work, driving stagecoaches, riding, and racing. Because this equine trooper excelled at any task he was asked to do, he earned the nickname “Little Iron Horse.”

Because the Canadian Horse had such strong traits, in the mid-1800s he became popular in the United States as well as in Canada where he was crossbred to improve the strength of other breeds. The Morgan, Tennessee Walking Horse, Standardbred, and American Saddlebred can all thank the Canadian Horse for their stamina and determination.

Soon the Canadian Horses earned such a reputation, many were exported to southern Africa to work on sugar plantations in the West Indies and to pull wagons and cannons in the U.S. Civil War where many were killed. With so many horses leaving Canada, the war, and the invention of farm machines and automobiles, the Canadian Horse nearly became extinct.

But that’s when Canadian Horse lovers saved the breed in 1886, starting the first studbook. Nine years later the Canadian Horse Breeders Association was formed to further preserve the horse. However, today the breed is still listed as critical by the American Livestock Conservancy with only an estimated 2,000 Canadian Horses on record. Yet, the future of the breed is looking brighter as horse lovers in Canada work endlessly to preserve this special horse.

The Canadian Horse stands 14 to 16 hands, weighs 900-1000 pounds, and is usually black or bay with a long flowing mane and tail. He has lots of well-developed muscles and has a handsome arched neck. This overachiever is energetic without being nervous and has great strength to fulfill the tasks asked of him. Is it any wonder he’s called the “Little Iron Horse?”

The word “iron” always indicates strength and power. Do you know there are verses in the Bible that tell us that God is so powerful, He can bend iron?  Our Wonderful Lord has the strength and might to do anything He wants. He’s so strong and mighty, He created the universe and the heavens in just six days. If we worship a God who is so powerful, don’t you think He’s able to help us with our troubles?

God can, and will, help us. All we need to do is ask. The next time you have a problem that seems to overwhelm you, take it to the Lord in prayer. If God can bend iron, He certainly can give you the wisdom and strength you need.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being such a strong God, strong enough to cut through bars of iron. I know I can depend on you for my strength to solve problems in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think about how God displays his power and strength in your life or in the world around you. Write some of the things you’ve observed.


Take your ride: (Do you know?)  A few chestnut-colored Canadian Horses have been found occasionally with flaxen manes and tails, and the cream gene appears rarely as the result of interbreeding with just one cream-colored stallion.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood” (Job 41:27 NIRV).