Origin of the Peruvian Paso  
 
The Peruvian Paso has only during the past ten or twelve years become well known in the United States. In Peru, they have been  much cherished and selectively bred for centuries to achieve and protect the characteristics of the breed.. The ancestors of the present day Peruvian horse came from Spain and were of Andalusian, Friesian, Barb and Spanish Jennet blood. The selective breeding achieved a gaited horse with a smooth side to side, rocking ride, a willing and a gentle disposition, that could travel many miles day after day. 
 
The Spanish explorers in the early 1500's realized their need for an endurable, comfortable, "smooth" ride to seek out the riches of Peru. These horses are credited by historians as one of the key reasons for  the fall of the centuries old Inca Empire as they gave the Conquistadors a distinct advantage over the natives. Horses were reportedly so valuable that many were shod with silver and young foals were carried by porters in "hammocks" during the long, forced marches. 
 
Development and Characteristics 
   
Generations of strict selection have genetically fixed the traits to transmit gait to all purebred foals. Peruvian breeders believe  that great Peruvian horses are born - not trained. Training is designed to polish the animal's performance but not modify it artificially. To help insure retention of completely natural action and gait, no horse is allowed in the show ring with shoes or with hooves longer than 4 inches. 
 
 
The gait of the Peruvian Paso is a broken pace giving the rider neither the vertical movement of the trot nor the lateral motion of the pace but more of a side to side, rocking ride. Another "trademark" characteristic of the Peruvian horse is "termino" or the outward rolling of the front limb during extension. Termino can best be described as a swimming like motion, the foreleg will move out to the side then down, like a swimmer, with the impact being absorbed by the flexible pasterns. 
 
The Peruvians did not breed exclusively for gait but felt that disposition was equally important. The Peruvian horse is intelligent, tractable and eager to please. However, he has retained the presence and arrogance, or "Brio" of his war horse ancestors with a willingness to please his handler. The Peruvian Paso comes in all the basic colors: black, brown, bay, chestnut, gray, palomino, buckskin and roan. They boast a long, luxurious mane and tail. Size ranges from 14 to 15.3 hands with the average being about 14.3. The Peruvian was introduced and imported to America approximately 30 years ago. Now the breed is numbering around 25,000 worldwide. Since their importation to North America, many Peruvian Pasos have proven their ability to adapt to all climates and they are quite easy keepers.  They are in use for show, pleasure, trail, endurance and parade riding. Breeders in this country have already exported horses to Europe, Australia, the Orient and Canada. 
 
 
 
Paso Fino / Peruvian Paso 
 
 While the Peruvian horsemen were developing their native horse, other countries in Central and South America were also breeding horses from original Spanish stock. These later became known as the Paso Fino breed. SO while the two breeds are "cousins" they each have developed into a distinct type of horse ad are now two separate breeds.
 
 

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