A descendant of the Spanish horses taken to South America during the Spanish
Conquest in the sixteenth century. The first horses were taken there in 1532
by Francisco Pizarro and they were mainly of Barb origin. The breed is known
for its lateral gait that is believed to be inherited from the Spanish
Jennet, a riding horse with the same properties as the old English ambler.
The gait known as the Paso is unique to the Peruvian Paso - the fore legs
arc out to the side, while the hind legs take long straight strides, the
hindquarters low and the hocks well underneath him. It is a particularly
smooth ride and can be maintained over many miles of rough terrain without
the horse tiring. The pace is fast; reaching speeds of up to 15m.p.h. it is
also comfortable for the rider, making it a popular choice of horse for long
distance riding and on the open ranges as a ranch horse.
The Peruvian Paso is a compact little horse standing at between 14 to
15.2h.h. It is predominantly bay or chestnut but it may be any colour. The
head is fine and intelligent with longish expressive ears and kind eyes; the
neck is short, upright and muscular; the shoulders are strong; the back is
short and strong; the body is strong with a deep chest; the hindquarters are
strong, round and muscular; the limbs are strong and the feet are
exceptionally good, hard and well shaped. The breed is sure-footed, agile
and strong with an ability to survive on meagre rations.