I wouldn't consder Paso Finos necessarily "Hot" but jsut like any other horse there is an exception to every rule. They are generally pretty average sized, about 14-15 hands in the ones I've seen at the trainer's but I haven't looked into actual statistics.
Gaited horses were bred to create a pleasureable ride over long distances. As far as the Paso's and Peruvian's go, I believe they were bred to go up and down the orchard. So basically they were bred to go in a straight line, turn, and go in a straight line again. :)
For a beginner, I would highly recommend it. However, be sure you ride the horse first and make sure you are ready to deal with all the downsides that come with the gaits. I had a lot of beginners on Rico and most were scared out of their mind when he scurried away because they thought he was running away with them, when in fact he was being very good and just walking forward at his normal walk. It irritated me, but I shared a little bit of unease when I first got on him too. But he is so smooth that they soon got to it.
And another thing, I don't know if this is common with Paso Fino's but Rico would always do a little hop over logs on the trail. The lady we bought him from said he did that because his conformation or whatever made it uncomfortable for him to step over? I personally think that's B.S. But it's just another person's opinion. And I probably don't know as much as someone else would, I'm not an expert. I just did a little research after getting Rico 'cause I've been on Paints and QH's all my life.
These hroses are also known for being very supple. They want to please you. And they are very intelligent.
Now, I know Rico isn't the same as a Paso Fino but from the ones I have worked with he is pretty **** similar. I could ride him in a sidepole/halter if I wanted. I never put a bit in that horse's mouth as long as I had him.
They also have a tendency to bond with their owners very closely. Rico went through a two-week-long "Mourning period" over his old owner, in which he hardly ate. We told the previous owners and they said he did that when he came to them as well. So, intrigued, I went on a fact-hunting mission and discovered that in fact it is very common for Peruvians, Peruvian Pasos, and Paso Finos. So just be aware of that and spend the first week or two just getting to know him, getting him to trust you. Very important.
Good luck ^^
Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.