The videos (taken by my nearly 5yr old daughter so bear with us) show the first stallion and a mare being ridden by the stable manager. Then I rode the mare, the owner road the stallion and the stable manager rode a 3yr old stallion that they are training. We went outside the arena and practiced the parade thing. We rode in lines and in parallel. The owner is an accomplished rider of Pasos and used to do a lot of showing himself. They are training the 3 yr old to feel comfortable in the Peruvian tack and working in thin and parallel lines.
I learned that the perfect height is up to 15hh although, they can be much smaller than that. They have very compact barrel like bodies on shorter legs, good looking muscular horses. They compete around the smoothness of the gait as well as how flashy it looks. So, it is important that the rider does not jiggle about but stays still in the saddle.
Apparently, there is even an event where the riders demonstrate just how smooth their ride is by carrying a glass of champagne. I would like to try that one time. I learned a good Paso has brillo - I think this means sparkle or fight (good rule of thumb for people too). It is different from other horses I have known in that it is desirable for them to have a wild look about them; But close up they are very gentle. Also, like the clothes, honestly riding in a large poncho more flattering than jodpurs. They do wear trousers as well.
Conclusion: These are the perfect horses for lots of people for lots of reasons. In particular, they are a very suitable option for mature people. Nice ride for a hack, good fast long walk, no jolting in the saddle at the sitting trot, easy on the back, easy to mount, kind and part of a long and interesting culture and tradition. A lot to be said for that combination.
Thank you very much to the owner of the Boquete Country Club for being so generous with his time, his beautiful horses and explaining how to ride and what to expect from the traditional coffee farmers horse. I'm suitably impressed and look forward to riding a Paso again, hopefully soon.