The Peruvian Horse offers smooth gaits
and a brilliant spirit known as “brio.”
BY KIM KLIMEK / PHOTOS BY CAROL WALKER
Peru is a country rich in history, culture and geography, and is known for its diverse climates, ancient ruins and vibrant cuisine. Many tourists head straight for the renowned Incan city of Machu Picchu. But if you’re an equestrian, you’ll surely find one of the most interesting treasures to be the country’s national horse, the Peruvian.
The Peruvian Horse comes from Andalusian, Barb and Jennet
horses brought to Peru by the Spanish explorers. The Jennet
played a particularly important role in the development of the
breed by passing on a natural four-beat gait.
Proponents of the early Peruvian favored horses with this
smooth, lateral gait and maintained it through selective breeding.
The isolation of the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains prevented crossbreeding and ensured purity of the traits they sought to
establish. These traits included intelligence, trainability and stamina.
One of the breed’s most admired characteristics, however, is its
“brio”: a spirit that’s displayed as a vibrant personality and an air of
confidence, without being unruly.