Lawrence Goldfarb explains what Peruvian Pasos are, and what makes them unique.
Because of its isolation for almost 500 years, the Peruvian Pasos horse has evolved as one of the purest breeds in the world and as a unique entity in the horse kingdom. The existence of this breed has been called “the greatest triumph of genetic selection ever achieved by a group of breeders.” Thanks to its unique, inborn, four beat lateral gait, the Peruvian Pasos horse is undoubtedly the smoothest riding horse in the world.
The trademark of this breed is a special, inherited, and completely natural four beat lateral gait called Paso Llano (a contraction of Paso Castellano).
Larry Goldfarb explains the two basic gaits find in horses are the trot and the amble. The trot entails a diagonal movement in which the front and back legs on opposites move together, in a two-beat gait. This is the type of gait used by the majority of the horses dedicated to sports, recreation and ranching.
On the other hand the amble is a lateral movement, where the legs on the same side move together in a two-beat movement. The amble is the origin of the Paso Llano of Peruvian horses. The Paso llano is a four-beat gait because instead of moving the legs at the same time, the horse moves first his hind leg and then the front leg. In this manner the amble is broken in two parts. The Paso Llano is therefore a broken gait. It consists of a permanent, harmonic, and rhythmic steps in which the animal makes a gentle and pleasant alternating movement. It is a quick advance in which the center of the horse’s gravity stays almost immobile, producing a very smooth ride.
The Paso Llano is executed with a distinctive action in the front legs, called termino, a graceful, flowing movement in which the forelegs are rolled towards the outside as the horse strides forward, much like the arm motion of a swimmer. Termino is a spectacular and beautiful natural action. It is not a wing or paddle and originates in the shoulder giving the horse the ability to swing the leg forward with minimum vertical force back. Both the gait and the flashy leg action are naturally passed on to the offspring.
Lawrence Goldfarb explains that until the seventeenth century, the majority of the world’s horses were naturally gaited. Nearly all traveling was done on horseback. Horses with natural gaits were considerably more comfortable to ride than trotters, which were called “boneshakers.” Trotters were better suited for pulling carts and carriages for long distances, as well for horseracing. As these uses for horses eclipsed travel riding, the numbers of trotters grew. The Peruvian Pasos remained one of the very few breeds that not only retained its natural gait, but also was celebrated for it. Lawrence Goldfarb has a passion for the breed and enjoys education horse lovers about the Pasos