Permission to reprint from the Peruvian Horse Directory granted by Peruvian Horse Quarterly and Conquistador magazines.

Webster's dictionary defines "luxury" as, "the use and enjoyment of the best, most precious things that offer the most physical comfort and satisfaction." Luxury may be the single best word in the English language to describe the Peruvian Paso Horse. The Peruvian Horse is one of the world's last remaining naturally gaited horses, and is appreciated and in demand by American horse enthusiasts for several very good reasons. The Peruvian Horse of today combines qualities, which could be called contradictory. He is spirited, yet easy to handle and smooth and relaxed in motion. There is something for everyone in this elegant animal: smooth riding comfort, high energy, strength and stamina, intelligence and a tractable disposition, animated, flashy presence and 100% natural action which set the Peruvian apart from others. All Peruvian Horse aficionados worldwide share the pride of owning a horse of great beauty and rarity.


The modern Peruvian Horse is a unique animal that has developed during four hundred and fifty years of selective breeding. It descends from horses introduced into Peru by the Conquistadors and subsequent Spanish settlers. They were selectively bred to preserve and improve attributes of the foundation horses, which carried the blood of the Barb, the Spanish Jennet and the Andalusian. This produced a horse with the unique combination of the smoothest ride and the utmost ground-covering stride. To cover the vast haciendas in Peru, one needed an animal of great endurance, but, also important to the rider, an animal capable of providing a smooth, comfortable ride over those great distances.


The Peruvian Horse transmits its unique smooth gait to its 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 along with the utmost ground covering ability within one sequence of footfalls. This signature gait is called "paso llano" and it is 100% unique to the Peruvian Horse. The Peruvian Horse's paso llano gait a rare example in the modern horse world of a natural, medium speed four beat lateral way of going with excellent advance.



In addition to an easy gait, the Peruvian Horse's creators desired their new breed to retain a brilliant front action movement typified by the upward lifting of the front legs combined with "termino", an outward movement of the front legs similar to the loose outward rolling of a swimmer's arms doing the crawl. The lift and termino of the Peruvian Horse's front legs is 100% natural and is fluid, effortless and well integrated within the gait sequence. Of all of the traits that distinguish the Peruvian Horse, his tremendous "brio" is perhaps the most prized by both expert and novice horse people alike. Brio is an inherent quality of a noble and willing spirit that enables this tractable horse to perform with an exuberance that can only be described as thrilling. Brio gives the Peruvian Horse its willingness and ability to perform tirelessly for many hours in the service of his rider.


The Peruvian Horse is the world’s greatest riding horse. Smooth to ride, beautiful to behold, and incredible brio – all traits that enable it to serve its rider in style. The Peruvian is more than a show horse. He was bred and raised to work hard and provide smooth reliable transportation. Peruvian Horses excel in many aspects of pleasure riding: trail, CTR, team penning, sidesaddle, drill teams, musical exercise, showing… You name it!



Physically, the Peruvian Horse is a horse of medium size and with refinement; a type and style of horse referred to in the equine world as a "light riding horse". Ideal height is between 14 and 15 hands tall, with good balance and almost even ratios of girth, leg and back. He may be any color. The coat and skin are refined and the mane is long and abundant with fine, lustrous hair that may be curly or straight. Bone is refined but dense; in all aspects overall refinement, grace and elegance is desired. Stallions exhibit the powerful arched neck and crest of their Iberian ancestors. Peruvian Horse breeders pay scrupulous attention to genetics, with the three primary qualities being gait, soundness and disposition.


Many people assume a close relationship between the Peruvian Horse and the Paso Fino Horse, but they are in fact two different and distinct breeds of horses. The Peruvian Horse is somewhat larger, deeper in the body and wider. Both breeds have high head carriage and front leg lift, are smooth to ride, and exhibit a similar fourbeat footfall but it’s executed differently. The Paso Fino does not execute the distinctive termino and its gait does not require the long stride of the Peruvian Horse.


The traditional tack of the Peruvian Horse has remained true to his heritage, but they may be ridden in any type of tack that fits properly. The headgear, saddle, stirrups and “guarniciones” (tailgear) used today in shows are the traditional equipment imported from Peru where it has evolved over hundreds of years. Although many people choose to show their horses in traditional tack, any style may be used as long as it conforms to USEF rules. And of course, on the trail anything goes! Enjoy this majestic and rare breed, THE PERUVIAN HORSE, the smoothest horse ever to be bred. Test ride one today at a breeder near you!