| Several years ago prior to the Peruvian
Paso Breeders Guild Show in
Odessa, Texas, a pre-show press conference was held at the luxurious
Radisson Hotel. A group of Texas Breeders brought three Peruvian horses
to liven up the proceedings for the television cameras, radio deejays
newspaper reporters who were on hand.
After the horses had been unloaded, a reporter approached Joan Box,
had brought one of them.
"The interviewers and photographers are all set up and waiting for the
horses in the lobby," he announced.
"Inside the hotel?" Joan asked quizzically. Mentally she pictured the
double set of glass doors and the stairway that led down to the lobby.
"That might be a problem."
One thing led to another, and Joan's group decided to give it a try.
horses walked through the double doors, down the flight of stairs and
into the lobby with calm self-assurance.
"Are they staying in the room next to mine?" one man asked. "I sure
so. They have a lot better manners that the people who were there last
The little publicity stunt was designed to attract attention, and that
did … in more ways than one. The reception area was soon full of people
looking at something they most certainly hadn't expected in a hotel
lobby. Among the spectators was a wide-eyed group of tourists from
The press conference lasted an hour, and the horses' behavior was
perfect. In fact, The Peruvians were so good that hotel officials invited
them back again for the following year's pre-show press conference.
The event ended with a round of enthusiastic applause from the lobby
Answering the question that must be foremost in everyone's mind: none
the three horses made a mess of any sort in the hotel lobby. However,
one is in any way claiming this to be a hereditary characteristic of
Once the horses were outside, one of the Japanese tourists was offered
ride; and immediately a line formed. The Japanese weren't the only
who wanted to try out the smooth-riding Peruvians. Everyone who wanted
ride was accommodated. Not too surprisingly, traffic slowed down on
nearby freeways as motorists did double (and triple!) takes.
The amazing thing was that all three of the participating horses were
show horses, and two were Champions. Those who saw them in the show
a few days later were treated to high-stepping, fire-breathing,
show-stopping excitement. Watching them in competition, it was hard
believe that the same horses had calmly walked inside a busy hotel
then given pony rides to tourists on a crowded sidewalk. I know of
breeds where this would be typical of high performance show horses.
Peruvian Paso horses are so beautiful that it's easy to assume they're
hothouse flowers. Lynn Kinsky of Santa Ynez, California, met a number
people who made that mistake when she began riding Peruvians in NATRC
(North American Trail Ride Conference) sanctioned rides.
Lynn had been breeding Peruvians for ten years, but normally her
stepdaughter did most of the riding. One day Lynn decided that she,
herself, was going to do a lot more riding. She applied to join a
Peruvian Paso demonstration group and was told -- politely but clearly
that her riding horse, a gelding named El Sinchi Roca, wasn't quite
enough to represent his breed in front of the public.
"After Sinchi and I had been laughed at one time too many, I decided
take my own path," Lynn remembers. "I started riding … and riding …
riding. A fellow at work had been urging me to get involved in distance
riding, and I took his advice. Before long, I decided this was an
activity where Sinchi could do a very nice job of representing his
So Lynn began a career which has so far seen her complete over 50 NATRC
rides! She describes NATRC rides as being: "in effect a 'road rally'
horseback, rather than a race. It's an activity that basically simulates
what the Peruvian horse was originally bred to do, and the fact that
Peruvians are incredibly comfortable is a big bonus for the rider!"
"From the beginning, the NATRC old-timers were extremely helpful and
courteous," she remembers, "but it was easy to see that they didn't
Sinchi would last out his first season."
Sinchi did better than that. He became the first Peruvian Paso to earn
1,000-mile award, and he has logged a total of 1,710 miles at the time
this writing. Four different years, he was 5th in the year-end standings
for the Open Heavyweight Division in Region 2 of the NATRC. On the
his best-ever year in 1993 -- and in strong contention for a National
Championship -- Sinchi was kicked by another horse and suffered a broken
The foreleg was pinned; and thanks to expert veterinary attention, it
eventually healed well enough that Sinchi returned to competition;
the long recovery period had taken its toll. Sinchi never quite returned
to his previous form and was subsequently retired at 16 years of age.
"He's now my pleasure horse, my parade horse, the horse that gets ridden
by ranch guests, the 'teach other horses that trail obstacles are O.K.
horse', as well as the horse I use for ribboning and timing two NATRC
rides for which I'm the trailmaster," Lynn reports.
Lynn meanwhile began using her breeding mares for NATRC competition.
"I make it a point to compete with my breeding mares in NATRC, as a
of determining their strength and temperament before using them to
the next generation of horses," Lynn says.
To date, the most successful of her mares has been Cori Ocllo. In the
only year she competed, Cori was fourth in the annual standings for
Open Heavyweight Division in Region 2. Since then, she's produced three
foals. At 15 years of age, Cori still has a long list of duties (besides
producing foals!) on the Kinsky's Rancho Libertad. Another of Lynn's
mares, Pisco Cereza was first place among Novice Junior Horses at her
first NATRC ride, and her full sister Rosa Blanca, logged 180 miles
during her first year in NATRC competition.
Lynn is the kind of person who likes to continually challenge herself;
and during the coming year, she plans to expand into endurance races
where the distances are longer and the pace faster. Her immediate goal
to have Rosa Blanca complete at least 300 miles in AERC (American
Endurance Ride Conference) sanctioned rides of 50 miles or more. If
does this, Rosa will become the second Peruvian horse to qualify for
registration in the EHRA (Endurance Horse Registry of America). Her
Domecq, was the first.
"Even though endurance rides are basically a race," Lynn advises, "my
goal is to accumulate high mileage … not to be first across the finish
line … not that I'd mind if I found myself at the front of the pack
day! My greatest thrill has come from pushing my horses to new levels
then seeing them meet the challenge."
A classic example was the time Sinchi needed an emergency shoe repair
during an NATRC ride. While his shoe was put right, he fell 15
behind schedule with six miles of rocky riverbed in front of him. A
fellow competitor offered to help Lynn make up the lost time. Being
veteran of the Tevis Cup 100-Mile Ride, Lynn's "helper" knew quite
about covering ground in a hurry.
"Let's go," she said, putting her Arabian into a long trot despite the
hazardous conditions in the riverbed.
"I was a totally timid rider," Lynn recalls, "but that experience helped
to turn me into a rider who remains cautious but can handle almost
Going at high speed through the boulder fields was a new experience
Sinchi, too; and he was a bit clumsy at the beginning.
"I was sure we were going to break our necks," Lynn reports. "I guess
Sinchi came to the same conclusion because I actually felt him increase
his concentration. Suddenly we were flying along without a misstep,
when we reached the next checkpoint -- 45 minutes later -- we had made
the lost time! It was wonderful! I never had that kind of thrill doing
circles in a show arena!"
Lynn reports that a strong bond develops between a horse and rider team
as they put the miles behind them.
"I hadn't realized how horses react to the long hours together until
mare, Cori Ocllo, had her first foal after doing a number of NATRC
(and all the requisite training) with me," Lynn says. "With her previous
three foals, she'd been extremely protective, going through a great
of trouble to try to keep me away from them. With her first post-NATRC
foal, I found the foal immediately after it was born, sat down, took
foal in my lap and began cleaning it with a towel. Cori just gave a
little nicker and started her cleaning activities at the other end.
only one possible explanation for this sudden development of trust
previously standoffish horse, and that's the bond we formed while facing
the trail together. That same thing has happened with my other horses,
too; and for me this relationship -- all by itself -- is well-worth
long hours in the saddle."