Peruvian Paso Horse Facts And Information – Breed Profile

The Peruvian Paso Horse also known as the Peruvian horse is a light saddle horse. This is one of the gaited horses known for its gait referred to as Paso fino. The horse from Peru is protected by the government of Peru.

Peruvian Paso Horse

The Paso horse is used for many purposes. It is used in shows and parades. It is used extensively for pleasure riding.


The smooth gaited Palfrey horses, as well as the Jennets, were the ancestors of the Paso. The Spanish conquest of 1531 was when these horses were brought to South America. Barb and Andalusian horses also contributed to the establishment of this breed.

Thanks to a large number of plantations in Peru, the need arose for a horse with a smooth gait that could travel long distances. This led to the development of this breed. The breeders focused on riding horses that were easy to manage and strong. Centuries of breeding led to the modern Peruvian Paso, which is the best-gaited horse breed.

The need for this breed declined in the 1960s. After this, many horses were exported to North American countries like the United States. It seemed that the horse would decline in its home country. Thanks to the efforts of breeders and owners, the last thirty years have seen a resurgence of this horse. 


The key characteristics of this horse are its gentle nature and its eagerness to please its master. The most distinctive trait of this horse is its gait. The ambling gait of this horse is the Paso ilano, which has four equal beats in it. This ensures a comfortable ride.

It has a second type of gait that is a bit faster. This is the sobreandando, where the horse pauses between two beats. This gait allows the horse to travel for a long distance easily. These two natural gaits are unique to this horse. 


The diet for this horse depends on the work it does. Horses that are used for leisure riding do not have any special requirements. If the Paso is being used for heavy work, then it would need a feed concentrate.

Hay and grass would take care of the horse’s diet. Since the horse is an easy keeper, it has a tendency to gain weight. Access to lush pastures should be strictly controlled. 

Breeding And Uses

The main purpose of breeding this horse was to use it as a trail horse. It was well suited for travel through the large cotton and sugar plantations of Peru. Transportation was the main reason why this horse was bred and used in Peru.

Once highways were built, then the need for these horses declined. The northern regions still used these horses as transportations to the haciendas. Horses were exported to the US where they were used for leisure riding and in parades.

The horse has been declared the cultural heritage of Peru. Export is restricted so the horse can flourish in its country of origin. There are more than 25,000 of these horses across the world.


The horse is a medium-sized one and measures between 14.1 hands (57 inches or 145 cm) to 15.2 hands (62 inches or 157 cm).

The horse weighs between 900 to 1,100 pounds.

What Breeds Make Up The Peruvian Paso Horse?

The breeding stock for the Peruvian Paso horse came mainly from Spain. The Palfrey horses, Spanish Jennets, the Barb, and the Andalusian horses were used to make up the Peruvian Paso horse. All these breeds of horse brought strength to the horse so it could be used as a trail horse.

The unique gait of the horse comes from the Jennets and the Palfrey horses, while its stamina is from the Barb and Andalusian.


These horses come in different colors including gray, black, bay, brown, chestnut, roan, dun, palomino, and buck. The horses with solid colors and those having dark skin are usually more preferred. The brilliant colors of this horse are thanks to the Barb bloodline. White markings are allowed for show horses if the markings are on the face and legs.

What Do They Look Like?

The horse is medium in size but is quite powerful. It looks elegant while having the appearance of a sturdy horse. The horse’s head is medium in size. The profile is usually straight or slightly concave. It has an arched neck.

The eyes are dark and expressive. It has a strong back that is rounded. Its chest is wide with full and deep flanks. The loins are muscular giving them strength and stamina. The hindquarters are broad. It has a wide and long croup.

It has strong legs and a tail that is set low. Its mane is fine and abundant. The natural gait of the front legs can be seen even in the foals.

What Is A Peruvian Paso Horse Used For?

This horse was used for trail riding and is still used for this purpose even today. The ability of this horse to walk using a smooth gait ensures a smooth ride for the rider. This was why this horse was bred. This ability makes it a highly preferable horse for the trail as well as leisure riding.

The horse is also used for show riding. It is used by riders who live in rough terrain or those with back problems who prefer a horse that offers a smooth riding experience.

Where Do They Live?

The Paso is mainly found in Peru, the country of its origin. When its number began to fall and the need for the horse declined, it was exported to the USA, as well as to Central America. The horses can be found even today in these countries. They are also found in the Caribbean.

How Long Do They Live?

The Peruvian Paso is not a long-living horse. Its life span is usually around 20 years, which is the average life span of most horses. One interesting feature is that the horse is of value for at least 16 years of its life during which time it can be used for riding.

It is an easy keeper and unlikely to face major health problems. However, there are certain health concerns that owners should take care of. DSLD or Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis is a progressive disease that affects the lower limbs. Horses that get this disease cannot be used for riding.

This is a hereditary condition and so horses having this condition are not bred. There is no cure and horses with this condition usually end up being euthanized.

How Fast Are They?

The Peruvian Paso is not a fast horse. The horse was never built for speed. It was meant to be used for transportation and hence does not run fast. The unique gait of this horse represents its normal movement. It moves at a speed of around 3 or 4 kilometers per hour.

How Much Do They Cost?

The Paso is easily available in the United States from breeders as well as through private sales. The price of the horse varies depending on factors like age, gender, and the training obtained.

You should be able to get a Paso horse for around $2,000. A well-trained horse would cost around $10,000. Since it is an easy keeper, maintenance expenses are not too high. 

Are Peruvian Paso Horses Good For Beginners?

The Paso has an excellent temperament making it a great horse for beginners. The horse is known as a willing horse that is eager to please its master. It is docile and easy to handle. This makes it suitable for all levels of riders, including beginners.

This friendly horse is popular as it ensures a smooth and comfortable ride for the rider. People who find a horse ride a tough experience on their backs love this horse. People with back pain, injuries, and riders who are not very tall will find this horse a pleasure to ride. 

It is advised for beginners to work with a trainer to get the hang of the unique gait of this horse.

Conclusion / Summary

One of the most comfortable horses for riders is the Peruvian Paso. The horse originated for use in large plantations and was extensively used for transportation. Bred from Spanish horses, the horse flourished in Peru as a trail horse.

Later on, the horse was exported to other parts of the American continent, where they were used for different purposes. Even today, they are used for trail riding. Their strength ensures they can travel for long distances easily.

The unique gait of this horse is one of its key characteristics. This makes the horse very comfortable to ride on. Riders with back pain and other problems who prefer a comfortable ride would love this horse.

The horse is also used for show events. It has an excellent temperament. It is gentle, docile, and easy to handle. It lives for around 20 years and is unlikely to have major health problems. The horse is an easy keeper making it convenient for horse owners to manage.

There’s a whole world of horse breeds out there to explore! Discover and find out more information by checking out our horse breed guides.