Webster's dictionary defines "luxury" as "the use and enjoyment of the best, most precious things that offer the most physical comfort and satisfaction." It may be the single best word in the English language to describe the Peruvian Paso.
A RICH HERITAGE
Although a newcomer to North America, the Peruvian Paso had its origins over four centuries ago in South America, where the horses brought to Peru by the conquistadores and subsequent Spanish settlers were bred selectively to produce the genetic miracle which became the "National Horse of Peru." The judicious fusion of several Old World breeds provided the foundation for the Peruvian horse. The Spanish Jennet gave its even temperament and smooth ambling gait, the African Barb contributed great energy, strength and stamina while the Andalusian imparted its excellent conformation, action, proud carriage and beauty to the new breed. Once established, the Peruvian Paso was maintained in its native country as a closed population, isolated by geography and the dedication of its creators from the influence of additional outside blood.
A BREED APART
PERUVIAN PASO/PASO FINO
Many people assume a close relationship between the Peruvian Paso and the Paso Fino. Although the two breeds share some common ancestors in the Old World breeds that are their forebears, the horses that gave rise to each came to the New World with different groups of settlers and were generated in entirely separate environments for totally different purposes.
The Paso Fino was developed in and around the Caribbean, Central and South America, while the Peruvian horse was born entirely within the borders of the country for which it was named. The Peruvian is somewhat larger, deeper in the body and wider. Both have high head carriage and front leg lift, are smooth to ride and exhibit basically the same four-beat footfall although it is executed differently. The Paso Fino is not bred for the distinctive "termino" and its finest show gait does not require the length of stride so essential in Peru for traveling long distances. In addition, the Peruvian can guarantee transmission of its gait to all purebred foals.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
While the heritage of the Peruvian horse cannot - and should not - be denied, its purely recreational role in this country is shaping an animal that appeals particularly to the American sense of beauty and function. As a result, more and more of this country's horsemen are finding the comfort and excitement of owning a horse that can be ridden successfully by anyone who wishes the thrill and luxury of this marvelous breed.
The information and photographs in this article are kindly provided by the Peruvian Paso Horse Registry of North America. For further information on this breed, please click here.
The luxurious Peruvian Paso is a natural part of the American Dream and he truly belongs to all of us!