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.
horse, one of the world's last remaining naturally gaited breeds, is
becoming a sensation among American horse enthusiasts for several very good
reasons. There is "something for everyone" in this smooth,
elegant animal; riding comfort, strength and stamina for the avid trail
rider; calm tractable disposition so important in the family mount;
arrogant, flashy presence and action which set the exhibitor and parade
rider apart from others, and investment potential solidly supported by its
relative rarity and increasing popularity.
A RICH HERITAGE
Although a newcomer to North America, the Peruvian 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 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
the Peruvian transmits its smooth gait to all purebred foals. No artificial
devices or special training aids are necessary to enable the horse to
perform its specialty - a natural four-beat footfall of medium speed that
provides a ride of incomparable smoothness and harmony of movement.
addition to an easy gait, the Peruvian's creators desired their new breed
to retain brilliant action typified by lift as the knee and fetlock flex,
combined with "termino," a movement of the front legs similar to
the loose outward rolling of arms of a swimmer doing the crawl.
the most misunderstood of all traits that distinguishes the Peruvian horse
is "brio," a quality of spirit that enables this tractable horse to
perform with an arrogance and exuberance that can only be described as
thrilling. "Brio" and stamina give the Peruvian its willingness
and ability to perform tirelessly for many hours and many miles in the
service of its rider.
the Peruvian is a horse of medium size, usually standing between 14.1 and
15.2 hands tall, with a powerful build. He may be
black, brown, bay, buckskin, palomino, gray, roan or dun, with the solid
colors, grays and dark skin considered most desirable. The mane is abundant
with fine, lustrous hair that may be curly or straight.
people assume a close relationship between the Peruvian 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.
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 show ring - even at National levels - is full of
amateur and junior riders who compete and win in every type of halter and
performance class. The NAPHA National Show has often offered a new horse
trailer to the High Point Performance Horse of the Show. It has often been
won by a Junior exhibitor.
An important force in the breed and
the very bright future of the Peruvian horse is the North American Peruvian
Horse Association. There exists here in the Peruvian's adopted homeland an
enthusiastic and dedicated group of horsemen who believe this horse rightly
belongs to the American way of life. These owners are committed to the
advancement of the breed and its increasing acceptance by the
pleasure-riding public. They have launched a campaign to inform and invite
all horse lovers in this country to find this "best kept secret"
In the Show Arena