- Peruvian Stepping Horse -

  The Peruvian Stepping Horse, or the Peruvian Paso, developed in Peru from the first horses taken there in 1531 by Governor Don Francisco Pizarro. The breed is descended almost entirely from a mixture of Andalusian and Barb blood, having a greater degree of Barb than Andalusian in its make-up. However, the Peruvian Paso is a naturally gaited animal and it is, therefore, possible that there may have been some early infusions of Spanish Jennet blood.

Through the centuries, and especially after Peru's independence from Spanish rule in 1823, there were various breeds imported into the country, among which were Thoroughbred, Hackney, Arabian, and Friesians. While it is likely that these breeds had a small influence on the Paso, they probably also contributed towards the development of other South American breeds of horse. The Peruvian Paso has what is considered to be one of the smoothest gaits of all the gaited horses, and is also able to maintain a fairly cracking speed of approximately 11 mph, even over difficult terrain. Its lateral gait is unique to the breed, although it does have some similarities to the gaited paces of the Missouri Fox Trotter and the Tennessee Walking Horse.

The Paso moves with an extravagant front action, powered from their muscular quarters, which are kept low to the ground. The front leg action has a high knee lift and an exaggerated dishing movement, while the hind legs are used energetically, and overstep the front tracks. Concussion and movement is absorbed through the horse's back and quarters, leaving the rider with a very smooth and undisturbed ride. Both the hind legs and hind pasterns are long, which helps the smoothness of the movement.

The Peruvian Paso characteristically has great stamina and endurance and is able to adapt to different climates with ease. They are attractive horses with lots of presence and spirit, while also having a  very good temperament. Usually they have a quality head, set onto an arched and muscular neck. They are compact through the body and deep through the girth, and have very muscular quarters. Their legs and feet are particularly notable for their strength and soundness. Invariably they are chestnut or bay in color, and stand between 14 and 15.2 hh.


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