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Peruvian Paso

The Peruvian Paso is a breed of gentle horse distinguished by a uniquely efficient gait called the running walk. The breed's ancestors include the Berber, Spanish Jennet, and the Andalusian. The New World breed was refined and developed in Peru.


The characteristic gait was bred into the Peruvian Paso for the purpose of covering long distances over a short period of time without tiring the horse or rider. The gait is inbred and does not require training. The gait supplies essentially none of the vertical jolt familiar to equestrians and hence posting (moving up and down with each of the horse's footfalls) is unnecessary. The rider's back feels no strain or jolt. Hence, this is a favored mount for riders with back trouble. This tractable horse, paradoxically high in spirit and stamina, is also favored for family and children's riding, as well as long endurance rides.


The horse is medium size, usually standing between 14.1 and 15.2 hands tall, with a powerful build. Breeding has focussed on temperament and gait, not appearance. Hence, the coat is not distinctive; it may be chestnut, black, brown, bay, buckskin, palomino, gray, roan or dun; with the solid colors, grays and dark skin considered most desirable. The abundant mane is lustrous and fine, curly or straight. Aficionados claim thjat the Peruvian Paso presents a noble, arrogant appearance which makes him preferred for shows and parades.

Not a Paso Fino

A close relationship between the Peruvian Paso and the Paso Fino breed is often assumed. Although the two breeds share ancestors in the Old World, and also share the characteristic gait ('paso' means "gait" in Spanish), the two breeds were developed separately in the New World in different regions, and have been maintained in relative isolation.

The Paso Fino was developed widely in Latin America, while the Peruvian Paso is exclusive to Peru and has even been called that country's "national horse".

Peruvian Pasos Today

Peruvian Pasos are growing in popularity in the US and elsewhere. The estimated 25,000 (est. 2003) horses worldwide are used for horse shows, parades, pleasure, trail, and endurance riding.

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