Peruvian Paso Horse
This sub equine breed, originate of Peru, is famed to be the softest riding horse, and some have a four-step timing.
The Peruvian "Caballo de Paso", is a sub equine breed, originate of Peru, descending of the barbican Cordovan horse that the Spaniards brought in the conquest of Peru (1532).
They were breed when crossing the Peruvian deserts, originating not to have a characteristic walk like the common horse, moving simultaneously the front and back paw of the same side (to amble). The finest ones, are those that are able to have a four step timing.
The famous peruvian composer Isabel "Chabuca" Granda composed "José Antonio", a beautiful song that tells about the chalán (rider) an this pretty horse.
Every year, during the month of April, it is carried out in Lima a National Competition of the "Peruvian Caballo de Paso".
The chalán is the horse trainer and rider, he usually wears a poncho and "jipijapa" hat.
Reasons of a Horse
Certain persons enjoy having one or more horses to ride with the family and friends, taking advantage of the pleasant and comfortable gait Peruvian Paso Horses give and transmit to the riders. Without doubt, it is a reasonable expectation. Our breed of horses complies with all that like no other one in the world can.
In this case, the chosen horse must have great smoothness and ease when moving. God forbid this kind of amateur to buy an uncomfortable animal, or rough or inharmonic, which can be ridden only for a short time, or that he hopelessly needs to get down once they are on their way.
Gentleness is the quality that must distinguish it. That is, good manners and docility so that it can be ridden by experts and beginners as well. If the animal has bad habits, complications, deficient 'enfrenadura' (basic training in the saddle), it will probably give problems during the ride. It must also have temperament, 'brío'. That means, to be willing to walk for many hours, without the possibility of abandoning half way. It is like fuel for a car: it is necessary to know if there is enough for the whole trail. Horses, the good ones, feel ashamed when the rider expects more than they can give. That is why, temperament must be accompanied by strength, by a good structure and format of his legs, which allows the animal to stay always in good health, with a good disposition for daily work, and to live a long life.
But strength is not only inherent; it can also be worked out. So you can compare a horse's training with that of a good athlete. Be careful if you think you can keep a horse in a stall, without working, not well trained, only taking him out from time to time, and then pretend that he performs well during many hours. What happens when a person, after leading a sedentary life, doing no exercise at all, suddenly runs five or six kilometers? Well, something similar happens to a horse that has no physical training.
The observation of these advises, along with adequate training, well kept, trimmed hooves and good sanitary conditions, will lead this first type of amateurs to buy an adequate horse. But, when looking for individuals, a lot of patience is needed. It is convenient to observe many horses, to be analytic, to try them, to ride them. Do not rush. If you buy a quality horse, you will surely find other attributes, such as grace, elegance in moving, beauty in conformation, correction and alignment, arrogance of the neck and head, which will allow them to participate in shows and thus, to enlarge the aficionados field.
A second group of aficionados is conformed by those who wish to begin breeding. There are really two kinds of breeders: those who want to become genetic improvers, and those who simply dedicate themselves to the multiplication of animals. Both have similar costs in infrastructure, area, land, site, nourishment and manual labor. Good, regular, or bad horses eat the same, and demand identical expenses, even though some can transmit better than others. The difference resides in the genetic base chosen to start the breeding.
If you decide to be a breeder, you have to do it seriously. If not, you loose your time. It is not worthwhile to get into this important and expensive task, if your are not in the disposition of investing money, effort, tenacity and, above all, patience to be able to suffer years of failures, and wait for success to come. This activity is for methodical, orderly persons, who are permanently thinking about the horse, and whose greatest dreams come true when they achieve at last a determined breed. Breeding is nor a sport nor a hobby. Instead, it is a personal compromise.
I have met many persons, who, notwithstanding their enthusiasm and good will, had no luck in this activity. Almost all of them came from the first group of amateurs. The truth is that it was not enough to enjoy the pleasure of riding, the "criollo" ambience, or an eventual participation in contests. Horse knowledge implies much more. It starts with serious investigation and reading about horses, and continues with permanent and profound conversations with breeders, who represent other breeders, with trainers, who understand horses completely as they get to analyze them daily, and they live for them. You can learn much more from them than from many breeders. Without any doubt, the best teacher is the horse itself. You have to spend a great deal of time with them, as the best training lies in observing them when they are born, growing up and when they dye.
When starting to breed, you also need to choose good dams. They will be the genetic base of the breeders. They must be chosen with a very good knowledge of the kind of animal or characteristics sought for the breeding. You have to look for the adequate ones; but, if they have already proved to be good dams, it is much better. In that case, it will be wise to see as many offspring of those mares. Only then, you can make a good base-selection. You have to add a good choice of the stallions (they must be the adequate ones for them), and a good management of the breeding place.
On the third group of aficionados are the true breeders, those who are totally defined in this activity. As good observers and connoisseurs, they are in a constant search of excellence in the quality of their animals. They are constantly seeking to improve them and to introduce new bloodlines or different breeding. And thus, they can add, be it with a stallion or a mare, better quantity and quality in the characteristics they already possess. Each year the objective is to introduce new attributes in the breeding, as well as better horses and better genetic material to continue working.
The real breeder is an eternal unsatisfied. Before getting to know the virtues, he gets to know the faults of his horses, and thus, he is always seeking to correct them. When he does not achieve that, he rectifies with other stallions. If nothing works, he just discharges them, with decision and authority. As an artist, he is the creator and the first and most severe critic of his masterpiece.
For any of the three aficionados, preparation is vital. Not one of them can have the satisfaction of only being a newly arrived enthusiast. He will fail hopelessly. He must be a professional in his own field. Knowledge, and good manners, is always qualities one must cultivate in the "afición" for the Peruvian Paso Horse.
By José Risso Montes - Orgullo del Perú
PERUVIAN PASO HORSES - ANNUAL CONTESTS (2013) IN PERU
LXVIII Concurso Nacional Oficial del Caballo Peruano de Paso (National Contest)
From April 14 - 21, 2013
Place: Mamacona Fair Center, Lima
The dance of the stallions
The Spanish horse, bred with the Arab stallion and reared in a desert environment, which formed its gait, gave rise to the Peruvian Paso horse. For 300 years, the blood of this new breed was improved upon until the Paso horse developed the characteristics that have made it one of the world's most beautiful and elegant breeds. Breeders, chalán riders and artisans, over the years, have worked on the art of ambladura –the synchronized gait of the fore and hindlegs– which in turn gave rise to the elegant steps and dress of the marinera. The entire costume comprises the saddle and trimmings and the splendid outfit of the chalán himself (white shirt and trousers, wide-brimmed straw hat, vicuña wool poncho, handkerchief, boots and spurs). This tradition, which has been exported all over the world, has been spurred on by a number of competitions both along the Peruvian coast as well as in the highlands. The most important competition, however, is the National El Paso Horse Competition held every year at the Mamacona stables near Pachacámac, located 30 km south of Lima.