The Peruvian Paso

I love horses for their beauty and power.  But the few hours I’ve spent riding left me so sore from bouncing up and down that I could barely get out of bed the next day.  At my age, I’ll probably never be much of a rider.  But just once, I would like to ride a Peruvian Paso.

The Peruvian Paso is a light saddle horse known for its gentle disposition and smooth ride.  The breed is distinguished by a unique four-beat gait called the paso llano, in which the front and back legs on the same side move forward together (most horses move the legs on opposite sides together).  The result is a ride as comfortable as a rocking chair.

This gait isn’t taught, it’s natural to the breed.  Foals move this way as soon as they’re able to run.  So how and why does this happen?

Smooth-gaited horses, known as Palfreys, existed in the Middle Ages, as well as the Jennet, noted for its ambling gaits.  Peruvian Pasos trace their ancestry back to these horses, as well as to the Barb, which contributed strength and stamina, and to the Andalusian, which added style, conformation and action.

The first horses arrived in Peru during the Spanish Conquest in the 1500’s.  More bloodstock came from Spain, Jamaica, Panama and other areas of Central America.  As the big haciendas and plantations developed, the owners and overseers needed a horse they could ride long hours and distances.  Over time, Peruvian breeders kept the bloodlines clean and selectively bred for gait, conformation and temperament. They wanted strong, hardy animals that were comfortable to ride and easy to control. Over four centuries, their dedication to breeding only the best gaited bloodstock resulted in the modern Peruvian Paso.

To appreciate this amazing gait, you’ll want to see it in motion.  This video shows a group of Peruvian Pasos performing in a show.  Notice the part where the riders gallop around the ring holding filled wine glasses.

Have you ever seen a Peruvian Paso?  Do you have a horse, or have you ever wanted one?

My July Harlequin Desire book, THE SANTANA HEIR is set in Peru.  My hero, a Peruvian millionaire playboy who suddenly finds himself in charge of the family empire, raises Peruvian Pasos on his estate.  My heroine, who was tragically injured by a horse in her teens, regains her love of riding by working with these beautiful animals.

Next month, after my author copies arrive, I’ll give you an excerpt and a giveaway.  Meanwhile, you can learn more about the story on my website, or on, where the book is available now for pre-order.









Here’s a link.

+ posts

19 thoughts on “The Peruvian Paso”

  1. I have never seen this horses in action. I am a lover of horses, but a couple of bad experiences when I was young and I never got back up on one again. But they are beautiful animals. One of my nieces rides and she would live at the barn if her parents would let her.

  2. Wow, the Peruvian Paso sounds like my kind of horse! I want one!!! And, um, the hero on the cover of The Santana Heir is just as…inspiring. =)~

  3. Sorry about your bad experiences, Kathleen. You might identify with the heroine in my book who loved to ride but hasn’t ridden since she was 15 because of a tragic accident. She meets a gentle horse who changes her mind.
    Thanks for stopping by.

    My hero rides a palomino stallion like the one in the photo, Renee. They say that even paso stallions are calm and gentle. Thanks for your comment.

  4. I love horses. I’ve never owned one but my grandfather did and my cousins raise horses. They are beautiful and one day I do want to own my own.

  5. I love horses and have 8 of my own! I raise Apha paint horses. I use to love to ride, but after a accident where one of horses fell on me I don’t ride anymore. I’m just getting to old to break. I love to raise my babies and watch them grow. I have watched videos if the paso horses and love to watch them move. I would love to read your book, thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Elizabeth, interesting post. I’ve never heard of this breed of horse. They sound like amazing animals. I’d love to see one sometime. Can you believe the only horse I’ve ever ridden was a shetland when I was about 6 years old. I’ve always yearned to ride a horse on a regular basis but just haven’t. I’m a little afraid of them. They have so much power and are so big. I hear these stories all the time about people falling off them and breaking bones. Don’t want that to happen at my age.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting blog. Can’t wait for your new release. Sounds like a fantastic story.

  7. Sheila, I’m with you. I’ve always wanted a horse. Alas, they are so expensive to house and take care of.

    Kim I would love to see your horses. They must be beautiful. But horses are so big and powerful. I know a number of people, like you, who’ve been injured by them. Glad you can still raise and enjoy your babies. Just to be clear, since I don’t have my author copies yet, my giveaway will be next month. Please drop by then.

    I can just picture you on a Shetland, Linda. So cute. We’re close to the same age, so I know what you mean about not wanting to break anything, especially if it could mean losing your independence. It’s the reason I’ve never let my son talk me into skiing. Hugs.

  8. I read a book about an Icelandic Horse and those horses ‘tolt’. I think that’s the right word.
    And I think this is the same thing. This unusual gait that is natural to them.
    The book talked about ‘five gaited’ horses.
    So most horses have four. Walk, Trot, Cantor Gallop. But these Icelandic horses have one more…and I think there’s a slow and fast version of the ‘tolt’. So that would be SIX gaits but in Iceland they lump cantor/gallop together and say horses only have three gaits, then they add two more.
    Icelandic horses are small, almost ponies and very protected, no other horses are allowed to be imported to Iceland and if a horse is exported it’s not allowed to come back.

  9. Tolting. That’s a new one on me, Mary. And I didn’t even know they had special horses in Iceland. Hmmm. You always have something interesting to add to our posts. Thanks for this fun bit of info.

  10. A p.s. to Mary’s message. In Peru the Paso has been designated a cultural treasure and the National Horse. It makes sense that they’d take steps to protect the purity of the breed, but I don’t know what they are, because surely there are regular horses in the country.

  11. Great post. I love watching Pasos move. In fact, I just love gaited horses, period. 🙂

    I have three horses, and one of them is gaited.
    My Jackson is a Rocky Mountain Gaited Horse. This breed originated in the mountains of Kentucky and is still considered rare though its numbers are growing.

    Rocky Mountain Horses

    The preferred color is a chocolate coat with flaxen mane and tail, and my fella has it in abundance. He also has the eye issues that can trouble this breed :-/ but he’s such a sweet guy. He reminds me of Mr. Ed.

  12. Thank you for stopping by, Margaret. I love that cover, too. Can’t help wondering what that little boy is thinking. Probably wants to get down and run. The characters here are perfect.

    Great to hear from someone else who knows about Pasos and others gaited horses, C.Dees. I’ve never heard of a Rocky Mountain Gaited horse but yours sounds just gorgeous. I learned something new from you today.

  13. Hi Elizabeth, what a delightful blog and such interesting info about the gait. I don’t have a horse, but I muck and feed one afternoon a week at the local horse rescue. I have always loved our critters and am enjoying learning more about each specifically. Bridge is an Egyptian Arabian which I didn’t even know was a breed. One of my posting days soon, I’ll feature our beautiful corner of the world and some of our beautiful horses. Loved the post and pix today! xox

  14. Great post! I love horses. I never own one, but hope to one of these days. My oldest niece has a couple and my mother-in-law has 3 herself. I spend time with my friends and their horses. I have seen a Peruvian Paso which I think is a beautiful naturally gated horse, but never rode one.

  15. Interesting post, Elizabeth. I don’t think I’ve heard of the Paso and they sound like wonderful horses. There’s just nothing like a horse. Your story sounds great! I love the different setting, and that cover is amazing!


  16. Tanya, I would love to hear more about your beautiful horses. You’re much more expert than I am. I get most of what I know from reading about horses. You work with the real thing! Lucky you.

    Becky you’re so lucky getting to spend time with horses. I’ve never even seen a Peruvian Paso. I just love the idea of them.

    There’s something magical about horses, I agree Kirsten. And I’m glad you like my cover. I was thrilled with it. I hope you get a chance to read the story.

  17. What a very interesting post. My experiences with horses were always great fun but few and far apart which always meant major soreness afterward.

  18. Connie, your experience with horses sounds about like mine. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in a situation where we could ride anytime we wanted to? Thanks for stopping by,

Comments are closed.