Peruvian Horse history
When the first Spanish explorers came to the America's, they brought with them horses. These horses were of mixed breeds, primarily of Andalusian, Barb, and Jennet (a smooth ambling horse with a four beat gait) ancestry. Breeding facilities were established on the Caribbean islands to support the Conquistadors exploration of the new world.
When the Spanish went to Peru they had their horses with them and the natives were intrigued with this great animal.
With Peru being isolated by the Pacific to the west and the Andes to the east, very little cross-breeding of outside blood was done with the Peruvian horse, thus preserving a genetic lineage which has remain pure to this day.
The Peruvian Paso is a truly unique breed but only during the last thirty five years or so, has it been well known in the United States. In Peru, they have been cherished and selectively bred for centuries. The owners of Peru's large haciendas favored horses with fast smooth gaits and generations of strict selection have genetically fixed these traits and the breed transmits its gait to all purebred foals. One of the major principles of the Peruvian breeder is that a great Peruvian horse is born - not trained.
The gait of the Peruvian Paso Horse is a broken pace (Paso Llano) which gives the rider neither the vertical movement of the trot, nor the lateral motion of the pace. It is undoubtedly the smoothest riding horse in the world. The trademark of the Peruvian is a characteristic known as "Termino" or the outward rolling of the front limb during extension and is completely natural due to selective breeding. It is not a wing or paddle and originates in the shoulder giving the horse the ability to swing the leg forward with minimum vertical force and maximum extension.
The Peruvian horse was not bred just for gait, but disposition was equally as important. As a result of strict culling over the centuries, the Peruvian horse is also intelligent, tractable and eager to please, and yet maintains his presence and arrogance.
The Peruvian Paso horse comes in all the basic colors, boasting a long, luxurious mane and tail. They range in size from 14.1 to 15.1 hands with the average being about 14.2. It is an animal of refined beauty with the strength to cover many miles a day.
The Peruvian Paso Horse, in a few short years, has gained tremendous recognition and popularity in the United States. They are in use for show, pleasure, trail, endurance and parade riding.
At present there are approximately 20,000 Peruvian Paso horses in North America and about 35,000 in the world.