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365 Days in Horse Country – Peruvian Treasure

Blog by Michael Stuart Webb | October 28th, 2013

365 Days in Horse Country – Peruvian Treasure


In the farmlands of Peru, where land stretches out for miles and the majestic Andes rise in the distance, a breed of horse was created to help plantation owners survey their estates; the Peruvian Horse.

The history of the Peruvian Horses goes back to Spain in the time of the conquistadors.  The Spaniards, who conquered the Peruvian Incas in the 1500s, brought horses with them of Barb and Spanish Jennett blood.  The Barb was hardy and trainable, while the Spanish Jennett had a ground-covering, four-beat gait.

When settlers came from Spain to Peru, they brought even more horses of Iberian breeding with them.  These horses mixed with the Barb and the Jennett to create the Peruvian.

During the seventeenth century, the horses of Peru became isolated, enabling a distinct breed to develop.  Eventually, wealthy Peruvian landowners bred these horses for specific characteristics, including a smooth, fast gait that would help them cover as much ground as possible.

Today, the Peruvian Horse has secured foothold in North America, and thousands have been registered by the North American Peruvian Horse Association.  The United States Peruvian Horse Associated also registers Peruvian Horses.

Measuring no higher than 15 hands, Peruvian Horses have a graceful, elegant look.  Stallions show their thick, arched neck characteristics of their Iberian ancestors.

The breed comes in an assortment of basic solid colours, including chestnut (sometimes with a flaxen mane and tail), black, brown, bay, gray, palomino, buckskin, and roan.

The Peruvian’s gaits are distinctive and set it apart from other breeds.  These horses are born with the ability to perform the paso llano and sobreandando gaits.  Both have a four-beat movement that gives the rider a very smooth ride.

A trait called termino is also unique to the Peruvian Horse.  The term refers to a specific action of the front legs that causes the, to swing out as the leg rolls from the shoulder outward, forward and then down.

Another characteristic unique to the Peruvian Horse is brio.  Bred into the Peruvian Horse for centuries, this trait is the ability to work for the rider with alertness and a willing attitude.  Peruvian Horses who possess brio are sensitive without being hyper, and they have lots of energy but are easy to handle.  For many people, brio is among the most important characteristics of the Peruvian Horse.