Edited from various articles written by noted authors in the breed


Changes that influenced the horse type use   Appealing Looks of the Peruvian Horse and his Conformation  
Isolation in Peru that resulted in inherent characteristics of the Peruvian Horse   Numbers and Prices of the Peruvian horse  
Rediscovery by horse enthusisists that has increased popularity as a riding horse   Differences between the Peruvian Horse and a related horse, the Paso Fino  
Trademark Gait of the Peruvian Horse   Move to the bottom of the page  


Before the turn of the 1600's, most of the known riding horses in the world were naturally gaited breeds with trotting horses used as pack animals or servant's mounts. Most people knew very little about riding and most traveling was done by horseback, making a smooth riding horse a necessity. Even the Knights - who rode huge trotting type horses for battle - often kept an easy gaited horse to ride when traveling, leading his trotting horse along behind.

As roads were built, and people began to travel by horse-drawn vehicles rather than on horseback, a decreased need and use for gaited horses resulted since trotting horses were more suitable for pulling wheeled vehicles. At about the same time horses became important for working cattle as great expanses of land were devoted to cattle raising and horse racing gained in worldwide popularity placing even more emphasis on breeding trotting horses. As the seventeenth century opened, it was unusual to see a horse that trotted but at the close of the same century, it was unusual to see a horse that did not trot. It was one of the most unusual transformations seen in horse breeding history.


As horsemen of the world were making the transition from gaited horses to trotting breeds, on the other side of the world, in the country of Peru, the Peruvian horsemen continued breeding their naturally gaited "Caballo Peruano de Paso". The Peruvian Horse descended from foundation bloodstock that was brought to Peru directly from Spain by Spanish noblemen and political authorities during Peru's colonial period when Lima was the center of Hispanic America. The Spanish were recognized as foremost horse breeders in the world. These horses bought to Peru are said to have been a blend of several breeds: the Barb which gave the Peruvian horse a tendency to amble, contributed to its conformation, striking colors, and energetic but tractable temperament; the Fresian gave the Peruvian horse larger size, high action and head carriage, proud but cooperative temperament, low set tail and abundant mane and tail; the Spanish Jennet gave the Peruvian horse an even temperament, its lateral gait, extremely smooth ride, and sloping shoulders; and the Andalusian gave the Peruvian horse it's high action, a cooperative temperament, sloping shoulders, a straight profile with large expressive eyes, a long mane and tail, aristocratic carriage and spirit. It is said that the Peruvian Horse breed actually began about 1530 A.D. Due to selective breeding, 450 years of isolation, and such factors as climate and forage which served to modify succeeding generations, a new breed was created which possesses characteristics that are different from those of any other horse in the world. The Peruvian Horse has evolved as one of the purest breeds in the world and as a unique entity in the horse kingdom. The existence of this breed has been called...."the greatest triumph of genetic selection ever achieved by a group of breeders." The Peruvian breed has the unique characteristic of being the only natural laterally gaited breed in the world which can guarantee its inherited trademark gait to 100% of its offspring. There is no such thing as a foal born of two pure blood Peruvian Paso horses that does not do the Paso gait.


In recent years, horsemen have begun to rediscover the pleasures of the natural easy gaited horses. Horse fanciers of all ages from many nations are turning to the Peruvian horse as an ideal mount for the Twentieth Century horseman. A long standing Peruvian practice of not breeding animals that have unsuitable dispositions, has made the tractable temperament of the Peruvian horse one of the world's best. He is also one of the showiest horses because of the beauty, arrogance with inner pride and energy that makes him travel with a style and carriage as if he is always "on parade". And individuals who thought they would never ride again due to injuries and age are riding today with the greatest of pleasure.


The trademark of the Peruvian horse is a special, inherited, completely natural, four beat lateral gait. Called Paso Llano, it is a type of broken pace which makes the Peruvian horse the smoothest riding horse in the world. A unique, spectacular and beautiful natural action of the front legs that is highly desired and universal in the Peruvian breed is called "termino". Put simply, termino is similar to the arm motions of a swimmer in which the foreleg rolls forward and toward the outside before stepping down, which also allows the hind foot to advance sooner and farther than would otherwise be possible. The gait can be as slow as a walk or as fast as an extended trot or slow canter and it is completely natural - the gait is not induced or aided in any way by artificial training or devices. Naturalness of the Peruvian horse is placed to the forefront with such emphasis that competitions in Peru and the United States require the Peruvian horse be shown without shoes and with a short, natural hoof.


The average height of the Peruvian Horse is between 14 and 15.2 hands, and the weight is commonly between 900 and 1,100 pounds, about the same as Morgans and Arabians. The head shows power and vigor, with a straight line or slightly concave profile, strong at the bottom with outthrust jaw and is carried steady and firmly. The ears are alert, of medium length, graceful, mobile with fine tips curved slightly inwards; the eyes are expressive, dark, elongated, wide set; the nostrils are long, sensitively dilated. The neck is of medium length with a gracefully arched crest. It is set high and runs well back into discretely marked withers. The mane and forelock are naturally fine, long and lustrous. The body is well-proportioned, length to height, medium-size, with strong, well developed, deep and wide thorax, a well-arched rib cage with a short, wide girth, the joining of the shoulder blades being smooth and level with the croup. The chest is well-proportioned, strong, wide and well muscled. The back, is short to medium in length, strong and rounded. The bottom line of the barrel runs nearly horizontal. The limbs are solid and firm and stand in proper alignment. The shoulder is long and very well inclined with an open angle at the elbow giving the front limbs free and graceful movement. Proper joining is the basis of the animal's correct alignment and poise, and the width and strength of the articular joints are indispensable for proper movement of all these parts. The arms are normally short and muscular. The forearm is long and muscular at the top, and slimmer below. The knees should both be well-modeled, with slightly convex rear face. The cannon bone is short with well defined sinew. At the hindquarters, the thigh should be well-joined to the croup and rump, showing powerful but not excessive contraction. The leg muscles should be outstanding, the rump rounded down to the thigh but not too low. The hocks should be well-formed and defined, tending inwards, with strong, lean bone structure, and well balanced proportions. The tail should start rather low, carried quietly, close to the rump, and be long and fine. The leg bone and shanks, called the gaskin, should form a sufficient angle to give it support, leaning towards the center of gravity most of the time. The shanks are short, strong, with good bones, strong tendons, well implanted and defined, the fetlocks strong and lean, well-outlined with precise contours and rather sharply angled, the pasterns strong, medium length, fine and clearly defined, and springy with a slope equal to that of the shoulder. The hooves should be hard, well rounded, concave inner sole, and a long, wide and prominent frog, and of good size proportionate to the horse with sloping walls and sufficient high heels to permit the proper projection of the angle of the pasterns.
The Peruvian Horse, because of its direct link to the Barb horse, comes in an array of striking color tones and shades, coming in all basic solid colors as well as greys and roans. There is discrimination against animals with marked albino factors and rejection of dappled ones.


At the present time there are approximately 15,000 Peruvian horses in North America and no more than 25,000 worldwide.


Weanlings can be found in the $250.00 to $1000.00 price range for pleasure gelding stock. But more typically, breeding quality to show quality weanlings range from $2,000.00 to $10,000.00. Trained geldings average $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 for trail/pleasure quality and from $7,500.00 to $12,000.00 for luxury show competition quality. Breeding/Show stock range from $3,000.00 to a realistic price of $50,000.00 depending on potential/training/ and show &/or breeding career. Usually you get what you pay for - but price may not equal quality! Regardless of price, get a vet check! The $300 you will pay for a vet chack may save you many thousands of dollars and heartbreak!


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