The Peruvian Horse descended from horses that were taken to the Americas by Spanish Conquistadors. Peruvian Horses are born with a natural. smooth way of going that was stamped into their genes and heritage by centuries of highly selective breeding.
Peruvians are shown barefoot – the gait cannot be influenced by weighted or other special shoes. This breed was developed by the Peruvian people as a working horse.
Much of Peru is desert, and therefore the haciendas were large. The Peruvian Horse was ridden mostly by the owners and overseers, and these people wanted a small, hardy horse with a smooth gait that would be comfortable to ride and stand up to the rigors for long distances and be easy to mount and dismount.
The Peruvian Horse’s smooth gait makes it an excellent choice for riders wishing to avoid discomforts that come with a trot. The Peruvian Horse is a hotblood, usually energetic and quite forward. This is a characteristic that may be intimidating to new riders at first or to riders used to less energetic breeds, but with proper understanding, support, and training, these wonderful horses are providing an equine experience that’s unrivaled.
“Hot” is in no way referring to unmanageable or spooky and the horses are generally well-trained to be calm and self-controlled while still showing their spirit and energy. Read more on Spanish Horses here.
In addition to the smooth gait, another trademark of Peruvian Horses is the concept of brio. Brio is a Spanish term that refers to energy and willingness to work. Wikipedia includes active, spirited, alive and vigorous in its definition. Brio should not be confused with nervousness. I like to think of it as enthusiasm.
Peruvian Horses are generally between 14 and 15.2 hands high and should be about half leg and half body. This differs from other breeds that are often more leggy, and means that a shorter Peruvian Horse will often “feel” like a much taller horse. The shoulder angle should be much more laid back than trotting horses. They come in every solid color, including greys and roans, although chestnut and bay are the most common colors.
Most riders mirror the animals they connect with. The Peruvian Horse requires an exquisite balance of endurance and refinement, smoothness and action, energy and control. Like the horses, most riders also look for a balance in their world through these unlikely combinations and aren’t afraid of the edges. Like the horse they work with, they also seek to balance strength and gentleness, competence and acceptance, humor and kindness, confidence and humility. Peruvian Horses are also great for rides through the natural wonders of Utah and Arizona.