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in the Peruvian Paso Horse Breed|
The articles on the following pages are written by various Authors over the years and are placed here for your reading pleasure. Be sure to check back as we locate and place articles on more of these great horses!
|The horse who is considered by many to be the greatest Peruvian Paso sire
of all time was southern Peru's Sol de Oro.
This horse might well have lived out his life as a crippled scrub horse
in the mountains of southern Peru, had it not been for a man by the name
of Gustavo de la Borda. The discovery and subsequent use of Sol de Oro is
another of those stones bordering on miraculous. |
In the early 1920's Peru, along with the rest of the world, entered the Machine Age. When the Pan-American Highway came through Ica in the 30's, southern Peruvians' need for good riding horses was diminished. Since southern haciendas were much smaller than their northern counterparts, farmers of that region were easily able to replace the horse with modem equipment.
Unfortunately, this was the area known for the finest Peruvian Paso bloodlines. Once horses became little more than a hobby, many of them sold cheaply into the hands of peasant farmers with lands located in the canyons, or quebradas, of southern Peru. The rough mountainous terrain of this area still required the use of horses. The geographical isolation of the quebradas ensured that the southern bloodlines were preserved, and even intensified through line breeding - though the size and condition of the horses declined as a result of casual care and poor nutrition.
Gustavo de la Borda was a son of Jose de la Borda, one of the few southern Peruvian men who still valued fine horses during this period. Upon his father's death Gustavo inherited his father's horses. At about this time horse shows were becoming popular, and it was a great disappointment to Gustavo de la Borda and other southern breeders - that all of the top prizes of these competitions went to breeders from northern and central Peru. This was a hard pill to swallow for these horsemen, as in the past southern Peru was well known for producing the best Peruvian Pasos in the country.
Gustavo de la Borda gradually came to the belief that many of the bloodlines that had been lost to southern breeders were still conserved in the quebradas. Fueled by this belief, Gustavo began traveling up and down the mountains canyons in search of good bloodstock to bring back to his farm on the coast. On one of these journeys Gustavo discovered a stallion who was in sorry shape. One foreleg had been broken when the horse was roped from a mountainside field at the age of three years. The limb had healed crookedly, and caused the horse some pain. The stallion was considered worthless by his owners, since he couldn't be ridden; therefore he had received very little attention or care. The current owner couldn't tell how old the horse was, from what farm he originated, or who had been his sire. Such facts seemed irrelevant to the farmer, especially when considering such a sorry specimen of horseflesh.
But Gustavo de la Borda's practiced eye told him that despite outward appearances, here was a stallion with great potential. He paid two hundred dollars for the crippled animal.
The farmer who sold Gustavo the horse considered this buyer to be crazy - and most of Gustavo's peers in the horse breeding business agreed with this assessment, once they saw the stallion Gustavo brought out of the mountains. They ridiculed him for using such a stallion on his mares, and one prominent judge referred to the horse as "a strong box on legs." Only two other breeders, Jose "Pepe" Musante and Alfredo Elias, Gustavo's brother-in-law, shared his enthusiasm for the damaged stud. Gustavo was generous in sharing the services of Sol de Oro with these other breeders.
After Pepe Musante's first crop of foals from Sol de Oro, however, his enthusiasm was tempered for a while, and he gelded the only male among them. But Alfredo Elias never lost faith in the stallion. As the show ring success of Alfredo Elias's horses began to amply substantiate Gustavo's high opinion of Sol de Oro, breeders from all over Peru requested, and received, his services and get for their breeding programs. It was largely due to don Gustavo's outstanding generosity that the prepotent stallion sired so many fine horses during the time that was left him - though that was plenty of time, as the best estimates as to Sol de Oro's age put the hardy little stallion at thirty years when he died. Gustavo de la Borda's wisdom in rescuing this horse from his mountainside prison has been proved over and over again through the years. Every National Champion of Champions in Peru since 1961 has carried Sol de Oro (V)'s blood; it has also flowed through every U. S. Champion of Champions since 1973.
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