Interviews With Peruvian Paso Breeders
 
Interview with
Harrison McDonald
 
 What breeds or types of horses did you have prior experience with? 
  
My first horse was a Quarter type gelding. 
 
If I had to guess, he probably was about 14-2 hands and 8 or 9 years old when he was given to me by my uncle Edwin in 1952.  I used him like most kids use a motor scooter.  I seldom 
used a saddle or bridle, instead he and I went everywhere with just a halter and a lead rope for reins. When I graduated from high school and left to study engineering, the gelding was returned to my uncle. 
 
I graduated in 1961 from the University of Florida, in Mechanical Engineering and married  my wife, Charlotte, the same year.  By 1971 we were in Houston, Texas with two children.  We thought owning a horse would  be a good way to spend some time as a family.  So  most of the time we had a couple of "KIDS" horses. 
 
How many years have you been involved with Peruvian Paso ? 
  
In 1976 Charlotte was rear ended by another motorist while entering the freeway, this caused some injury to her back.  The Doctor said that she should give up riding horses.  Everyone that knows Charlotte understood she  would not give up that easily.  Soon Charlotte was reading books about "Gaited Horses". Based on her research she decided that the Peruvian Horse was the one that would be the best for her. 
 
Charlotte McDonald riding her personal gelding MCD
Ventarron won all those ribbons in just 5 hours!
 
What first drew you to the breed? 
  
While in Florida, visiting family, we paid a  breeder of Peruvian horses a visit and Charlotte got to ride a couple of Peruvians.  After dismounting  from the 2nd horse Charlotte exclaimed "Harrison I can ride this horse with no pain!!!! 
 
Soon after returning to Texas, in about 1977, Charlotte bought her first Peruvian horse, a gelding named Tupac Amaru. 
 
What pitfalls did you find or mistakes did you make in your early years that you can advise people to avoid? 
  
When we were just getting started we made a couple of purchases for what I will describe as "social reasons" i.e. trying to help a friend, that sort of thing.  It is OK to help a friend but one should never buy a breeding animal for that reason.  The other thing was to believe what we 
were told was the whole truth.  Most people will at least "shade" the truth, and leave important things unsaid  to make a sale,  especially if their livelihood depends on it. 
 
I was to realize later that much of the "hospitality" that was shown to us by "horse sellers" had much to do with us flying in to visit with a pilot and new airplane.  Later on this was to be enhanced by my getting a much larger airplane, a twin engine Commander 500B. 
 
Registration papers of imported horses, in those days, were frequently falsified to increase the horses value.  We were the victims of dishonesty early on. "Caveat Emptor" is a phrase that should be repeated often to ones self when buying horses.  We were able to find, later on, 
a expert and honest advisor to help us learn the "basics" about Peruvian horses.  Never start any venture with just emotion,  knowledge is an absolutely NECESSARY requirement.  The other thing to remember is that there are few "bargains" in this world.  Usually if a horses price seems too good to be true, there are concealed problems that will show themselves only after you have paid for it. 
 
Starting out make sure you know why you are buying a horse.  Write the reasons down.  Keep looking at your list while looking at horses, don't be dazzled by a fancy presentation, champagne, or insincere hospitality. 
 
What was the BEST decision you made in your early years? 
  
The best decision we made when getting started was to buy our original herd sire *AEV Cascabel.  Like most things in life, good fortune played an important part.  Charlotte, through her research, had decided to breed our first mare to AEV Cascabel because he was a direct son of Sol de Oro V, the most important sire of the modern Peruvian horse.  Also AEV Cascabel was himself a National Champion in Peru. 
 
One morning, in March of 1985, with the help of Kim Verbsky our groom, I loaded the mare Nieta and drove to Burleson, Texas, where AEV Cascabel was standing at stud.  When we arrived he was being ridden by a young lady, bareback with only a lead rope and halter.  I was very impressed with what I saw.  AEV Cascabel was all at the same time: smooth, proud, 
handsome, my favorite color, (chestnut) and very tractable. 
 
MCD Casanova 
AEV Cascabel x  AEV Agua Marina
 
You have to understand that AEV Cascabel was a direct son of Sol de Oro V, and perhaps only one of three in the US.   Based only on what I had just seen, I resolved to buy him, if I could.  So after we unloaded the mare,  I broached the subject of purchasing him.  I did this knowing 
full well that my wife Charlotte had vowed never to own a stallion. Well the bottom line was that we were able to agree on a price and make a deal, subject to Charlotte`s approval.  The next weekend Charlotte and I flew to Dallas so she could see him. It was not difficult to convince 
her to agree, she was just as impressed as I was. 
 
AEV Cascabel was a great producer for Silver Creek Ranch.  His offspring are still winning Champion of Champion, and "Best Gaited of Show" awards.  Better still, his grand children are doing just as well.  His contribution to our breeding program has enabled Silver Creek Ranch to 
win High Point Breeder in the last 14 consecutive shows, including 4 National shows, that we have attended.  Even though he was exported to the USA in 1979,  his grand children are doing well in Peru.  At the most recent National show in Peru, a full 10% of the winners were of his line. 
 
Six different Silver Creek Horses 
won ten Champion of Champion titles in 1997 
under SIX different judges, three American Judges and three Peruvian Judges!
 
What is your fondest memory of your Peruvian Paso horses? 
   
My fondest memory is that of riding MCD La Rosa, the first offspring of AEV Cascabel to be born at Silver Creek Ranch, to Champion of Champions  breeding mare. 
 
After buying AEV Cascabel he did indeed get the mare Neita pregnant. Nieta gave birth to MCD La Rosa on March the 1st of 1986, at about 1 AM. Charlotte and I were at the ranch with a friend, Rita Rothenberg.  We were taking turns going back and forth from the house to the barn to check on Nieta.  She had lots of milk and we were sure that this was going to be the night.  It was my turn to go to the barn and I decided to take a hand held, 2 way radio with me.  When I got to the barn Nieta was lying down and just beginning to deliver.  "Barn to Charlotte, get here right now!!"  Well, Charlotte and Rita were there in an instant, I was dispatched to the house to get some towels.  MCD La Rosa was born in Charlotte`s arms. 
 
Four Years later we were attending the Lone Star Peruvian Classic in Houston, Texas, one of the largest and most difficult Peruvian shows in North America. Silver Creek Ranch was in 2nd place for High Point Breeder.  For us to win, MCD La Rosa, ridden by me had to  beat by at least 3 places the best mare of Dr. Bob Noble of Dallas.  You can imagine the intensity of the pressure I was feeling. 
 
It was a very large class with about 20 mares in competition.  MCD La Rosa and I won the class and also High Point Breeder, as Dr Noble`s mare was 5th place.  This was my fondest moment. 
 
Silver Creek Ranch
 
Silver Creek Ranch Peruvian Horses at play in pasture.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

BACK to List of Articles