The Peruvian Paso Breed

Peruvian Paso Breed Description

Height 14 to 15 hands high.
Conformation The Peruvian Paso is an elegant, compact, muscular horse which has a broad, deep body, with short, strong limbs, and rounded quarters.
Colour The most common colours are bay and chestnut, but every other coat colouring can occur.
Head The face is broad and flat, with a straight line profile. The eyes are bright and alert, dark and elongated. The muzzle and jaw are fine, but there is a thickness to the throat. The nostrils are long, hollow, and sensitively dilated. The mouth has fine lips and a strong, prominent chin. The ears are alert and rather short, mobile and fine.
Neck and Shoulders The neck is muscular and arched, and fairly short in proportion to the frame. Where it joins the head, it should form an acute angle. The neck extends into a broad, deep chest. The shoulders are strong, and sufficiently sloped to produce the necessary elevation in the forelegs.
Body The body should have a well-arched rib cage with a short, wide girth. The joining of the shoulder blades should be smooth and level with the croup. The chest should be strong and wide. The back is short, wide and well joined. The croup is rounded, wide and strong.
Mane and Tail The tail is long and abundant, and well placed on rounded quarters. It should start rather low, and be carried close to the rump. The mane should be fine, long and lustrous.
Limbs The limbs are sound, with exceptionally strong pasterns which withstand the rigours of its unique gait. The arms are short and muscular. The forearm is long and muscular at the top, and slimmer down below. The knees have a slightly convex rear face. The hind legs are very strong, and carried well under the body when the horse is in motion. The hock joints are large and well-constructed. The shanks are short, strong, with good bones and strong tendons. The fetlocks are strong and lean, and rather sharply angled. The pasterns are strong, of medium length and well defined. The hooves are hard and strong, and crowned by a prominent knot covered with short hair. The wall of the hoof is normally slanted and normally shaped, with a hard, dark, resilient surface.
Gaits The Peruvian Paso boasts a natural, four beat gait called the Paso Llano. This is a type of broken pace which is executed with a unique action of the front legs, called termino. Termino is similar to the arm motions of a swimmer. The gait can be as slow as a walk or as fast as an extended trot or slow canter. Both the gait and the termino are completely natural, with the horses being shown without shoes, and with a short, naturally shaped hoof. All Peruvian Pasos are born with these attributes.

Peruvian Paso Breed History

Horses were first introduced to Peru by the Spanish Conquistadors, and were to become instrumental in the fall of the Inca Empire in 1532. These first horses were selected from the Royal stables which had been established on the island of Jamaica. Following the victory conquest of Peru, Spaniards that had settled in Central America began arriving in Peru, lured by tales of the Inca treasures. Many of these Spanish settlers prospered in the new territory, and created large haciendas, or estates. These wealthy land owners were able to afford the best horses available in Spain. The most popular and impressive breed in Spain at that time was the Andalusian horse, and so it was that the Andalusian horse became the foundation for the Peruvian Paso.

The wealthy land owners prized horses that offered a smooth and comfortable ride while overseeing the large haciendas. Four hundred years of selective breeding, plus the influence of environmental conditions, improved the smooth ride and kind disposition of the Peruvian Paso breed. In Peru, the horses were contained by the natural geography, which does not have large areas of prairie, but does have grassy areas that exist in small strips in the Peruvian valleys. The horses were under constant human supervision, as they could not escape the valleys and become feral. Thus, selective breeding was carried out, and the prized characteristics of a harmonious gait, smooth ride and even temperament were preserved. Over the years, crosses with other breeds were not desired, and so the Peruvian breed has remained a very pure breed.

The Peruvian Paso was first brought to Canada in 1969. This was the black stallion, Alumbrado, who was owned by W. Hazelaar of Lumsden and J.P. Schlotter of Regina, Saskatchewan. There are now over 700 registered Peruvian Pasos in Canada.

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