Peruvian Pasos: The Best Ride on Earth?

Bloged in Peruvian Pasos by admin Tuesday March 27, 2007

Although spring officially arrived less than a week ago, I
am already planning a summer trip to visit my friends in
Missouri. We were debating what we would do for our week
together, and got one idea from the website for a farm
about ninety minutes southwest of Saint Louis. The farm
offers week long trail riding vacations—I was already
half-hooked–through the Ozarks. They even let you bring
your horse along.

But what made the idea of a summer week on horseback at
this particular farm sound almost heavenly to me is that
their own string of trail horses includes Missouri
Foxtrotters, Tennessee Walking Horses, and Peruvian Paso
Horses.

I have been lucky enough to have already ridden both the
Foxtrotters and Walking Horses, but not a Paso. In fact,
I don’t know any one who has ridden a Paso, but from their
remarkable way of moving I know it must be the ride of a
lifetime.

Even though the ancestors of the modern Peruvian Paso
breed made it to South America with the Spanish
Conquistadors over four hundred years ago, the modern Paso
was inexplicably overlooked in North America until the
1970’s. But Peruvian Pasos are now showing up in both
Canadian and American show rings, and stealing honors from
the better-established gaited breeds.

The truly remarkable thing abut these horses is that they
can’t be anything other than magnificent movers. They are
genetically gaited, and need absolutely no training to
perform their classic “Paso Llano”. Performed on a very
even beat, in a left-hind, left-front, right-hind, and
right-front pattern, the Paso Llano will always have the
horse with one foot on the ground, eliminating the jarring
quality that comes with an ordinary trot.

It’s not only the smooth ride that makes Peruvian Pasos so
appealing; it is their “brio”, or natural flair. They
come into the world with inherited “termino”, a trait
which causes them, when they stride, to swing their front
legs to one side from the shoulder so that their back
hooves will hit the ground either in or beyond the front
hoofmark.

In doing this, they naturally lift their front legs as
high as other gaited breeds which have been trained with
artificial aids. Peruvian Pasos are always shown
barefoot, and still outperform many of their artificially
encouraged competitors.

The brio of the Pasos includes their abundant energy,
curiosity, and showiness, but they also are renowned for
their intelligence and calm demeanor.

Although they are small to medium sized-horses, averaging
between 14 and 15.2 hands, Peruvian Pasos are
exceptionally muscular and were originally bred for
stamina so that they could carry their riders without
tiring over vast distances on the South American pampas.
Their wonderful way of going and their endurance, would, I
think, make them the ultimate trail horse.

Add thick, wavy manes and tails, parade horse
presence–especially from the palominos–and I can’t
think of a better way to spend a few summer afternoons
than enjoying the outdoors atop a beautiful, graceful
Peruvian Paso!

Picture of Peruvia Pasos

peruvian-paso.jpg

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