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HorseShowCentral > Horse Breeds > Peruvian Paso

Peruvian Paso - Horse Breed & Info

Characteristics of the Peruvian Paso Peruvian Pas oArticle and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below

The Peruvian Paso transmits its smooth gait to all purebred foals, and no artificial devices or special training aids are necessary to enable the horse to perform the gaits.

The horse is also bred in Columbia and in the United States, where it has achieved considerable popularity.


The ancestors of these horses were first brought to Peru in 1532 by the Spanish adventurer Franciso Pizarro, and over the centuries they have retained the lateral gait associated with the ambling, Spanish Jennet (now extinct).

The Peruvian Paso is thought to be 75 percent Barb and 25 percent Spanish, or Andalusian. Highly selective breeding of this small, very specialized riding horse over hundreds of years has produced a most distinctive animal of great endurance and now a star of many show rings in many countries.


The Peruvian Paso was named for it’s gait - a four beat, lateral gait in which the forelegs arc out to the side. Originating in Peru, In action, the hind legs take very long, straight strides, the quarters held low with the hocks well under the body. There are three carefully preserved divisions to the gait, which is quite unlike the lateral movements of other gaited breeds.

The Paso Corto is the normal, easy, traveling gait, but in addition to the easy gait, the people who developed the Peruvian Paso wished the breed to retain brilliant action typified by high lift and flex of the knee and fetlock combined with termino, a movement of the front legs that is a rolling outward.

The gaits of the Peruvian Paso have been developed and perfected to such a degree that they are now regarded as a breed characteristic that distinguishes this breed from the other Spanish Horses. These gaits allow the horse to cover long distances over mountain passes and plains at a remarkable speed, while affording great comfort to the rider. The combination of the loose, flowing foreleg movement with the powerful drive of the hind legs results in a ride of exceptional smoothness, which the Peruvian Paso can maintain over long periods of time.


The Peruvian Paso is not a big horse nor does it have the characteristics of a galloper. It is a compact, muscular animal, broad and deep through the body and standing on short, strong limbs. This horse’s flat, broad face complements the overall conformation. The eyes are bright and very expressive; the muzzle and jaw are fine, although there is a natural thickness through the throat. This breed is intelligent, kindly and easily managed. Height is from 14 to 15 hands.

The arched, muscular neck is fairly short and in proportion to the frame. it sets well into the withers and the broad, deep chest. The shoulders are obviously strong and just sufficiently sloped to produce the required elevation in the forelegs. The Peruvian Paso is able to canter, but rarely does so, preferring its natural gait.

The limbs are sound with exceptionally strong pasterns to meet the requirements of the unique gait. To perform any of the three gaits, particularly over long periods of time, the hock joints must be large and very well constructs. The hooves are also strong, and hard, and the horse is naturally sure footed and agile.

The skin of the Peruvian Paso is covered with fine, shiny hair and a long, abundant tail of fine hair is well placed in rounded hindquarters. Bay and chestnuts are possibly the most commons colors but every other coat coloring occurs, including part-colored coats.

Peruvian Paso head study Conformation Peruvian Paso foal gaiting Running the poles
Photos from left to right: 1) and 2) Peruvian Paso head shot and conformation. 3) a young foal already gaiting. 4) Peruvian at a fun show. Top of the page photo is a ribbon winning Peruvian Paso at a major show.

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